In answer to worldwide prayer and pressure, the dynamic Good News Community Radio has at last been awarded a new licence and is now back on air in Kwazulu Natal. The station has been involved in a 6 year legal battle after the ANC government's ICASA refused to renew their licence.
Good News Community Radio, which is based at Shortlands near Verulam on the North coast of Kwazulu Natal, been broadcasting since September 1995. It won a national award for their “Exam Buzz” education programmes, just before being forced off the air by ICASA. This was viewed as an ominous threat to religious freedom on the airwaves in South Africa.
Good News Community Radio were forced to shut down in June last year. Their frequency, 98 FM was awarded to a secular station called Izwe Lomzansi, which, to date, has not broadcast a single programme.
GNCR Station Manager, Steven Mabugana, explained: “We were amongst the first to apply in this area, in 1995. We were successful and were issued with a one year temporary license. This had to be renewed every year. But in 2002, we were shocked when we applied for the four year license and were turned down. The reasons given to us were that our station did not broadcast exclusively in the language of the largest population in our coverage area Zulu - and that our board management did not reflect these demographics.” This led to a long and expensive legal battle to stay on air.
The main population groups, however, including Zulu, Indian, and White, were represented on the board and staff. Despite having a board that is entirely black, the secular station (Izwi Lomzansi) was awarded the frequency (98 FM) that GNCR occupied for 11 years. It therefore appears that a non-racial, multi-lingual Christian radio station broadcasting in five languages, 24 hours a day, is not as “racially representative” as a station that consists entirely of secular Zulus.
GNCR had over R300 000 in legal fees to pay off (although R230 000 has now kindly been "knocked off" by their legal team). Their expenses, however, are still numerous for updating their studio equipment.
Steven Mabungana praises God for granting them the new licence. “It is the beginning of new things and more souls won to Christ. Thank you to supporters, churches and individuals who have prayed for and supported us during this battle. We desire to be a radio station that will make a real difference in our community.”
The station is currently training volunteers and will have its official re-launch celebration soon.
Please do mobilise your congregation and prayer fellowship to intercede for this dynamic Christian community radio station. To learn more about their ministry visit www.gncr.org.za and to communicate your support for them write to: firstname.lastname@example.org or GNCR, P.O. Box 33, Canelands, 4344, KwaZulu-Natal (tel: (032) 533-3003, fax: (032) 533-3802).
If you are in the Durban area, you can tune in to GNCR on 93.6 FM - their new frequency (and if you want to support Good News Community Radio with their legal and equipment expenses, their bank account details are: Standard Bank, Durban North, cheque account: 251208796, branch 042826).
“Proclaim His salvation day after day. Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous deeds among the peoples. For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise. He is to be feared above all.” 1 Chronicles 16: 23-25
Africa Christian Action
PO Box 23632
Tel: 021-689 4481