Rated R in messy fight for payments

Rated R in messy fight for payments

MASERU – RELEBOHILE Mafatle, popularly known as Rated R, is in a battle with the Ministry of Communications over his payments.
The presenter of Lesotho Television’s Urban Jams, a Saturday music programme with a huge youth following, claims he is being exploited and has not been paid for years.
The programme has since been stopped, forcing the station to run repeats for the past two months. Rated R says he has been battling to get his payment for over a decade.
“I had hoped that things would work out for the better but now I am saying enough is enough,” he said. Rated R started presenting Urban Jams in 2007.

The agreement was also that he would do radio voice-over adverts for which he would be paid M70 three times per week.
He says months passed without any payment but he continued working because he is passionate about the job.
He says at that time he was still working for People’s Choice FM (PC FM) so he could cover his monthly costs.
Trouble, he explains, started in 2011 when he left PC FM to focus on Urban Jams.

“I anticipated that the television programme would grow because of people’s interest. It had the potential and I still hoped that I would get paid.”
He was only paid in 2010 but there was a condition from the director-general of Communications. The condition which Rated R received through his producer, Toka Liphoto, was that he should write a letter binding him to present the programme without pay.

Rated R said the instruction was that if he doesn’t agree to write the letter Urban Jams would be stopped.
Rated R says after writing the letter he went to the Department of Labour to seek advice and was told that the director-general’s instruction was unlawful.
He says the department instructed him to disregard the instruction. He claims to have told the labour officials that he had written and signed the letter under coercion.
“People seem to think it is as easy as taking a candy out of a baby’s mouth,” he says.

“Standing in front of the camera and present presenting requires you to have made thorough research about things you are going to talk about and rehearse as well.”
In 2014 he took his matter to the Minister of Communications. But years passed by without the matter being solved until Prime Minister Thomas Thabane took over.

He then approached the new Communications Minister Joang Molapo. He claims that Molapo promised to solve his problem.
“Minister Molapo expressed his sympathy for me, saying I was being treated badly.”

Rated R says for the first time the minister’s secretary called him to inform him that his grievance would be addressed.
Unfortunately Molapo was reshuffled to the Ministry of Public Service and Rated R had to go to the new minister, Thesele ’Maseribane.
’Maseribane instructed him to bring along a breakdown of payments.

He sent him the invoices from 2010 to April 2018 but instead of getting paid the programme was taken off the screen in April.
“It hurts so much being taken for granted, especially when I take care of my family, pay bills and have to maintain my (family),” he says.
“It is sad that i cannot fulfill my family responsibilities not because I do not want but mainly because I cannot afford to do so.”

Rated R says he regrets that he turned down an offer from a friend in South Africa who wanted to do a project with him some time ago, hoping that he would make it at Lesotho Television.
Liphoto said he could not answer anything pertaining to Rated R because “already the matter is on another level”.
’Maseribane’s office said the matter is being dealt with.

On Tuesday Rated R and Lesotho Television’s director of operations, Dyke Sehloho, were in a closed meeting with Labour Department officials.
Rated R says he is prepared to fight until justice is done.

Tokase Mphutlane

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