A concrete issue at Radio 702

Business Day
Tuesday 17th September 2013

HAS Primedia the radio broadcast company owned by Brail and the Kirsh consortium, become one of those I castigated last week for eagerness to hide beneath the parapet?

I ask because Simon Mantell, a Cape Town businessman, tells me a radio ad he sponsored was canned by Radio 702’s GM, Karl Gostner, who wasn’t available when I called, on the curious ground that it was considered “editorial”. Notably, he didn’t claim it was offensive.

The ad concerns Princess Vlei, a green area near the less affluent suburbs of Grassy Park, Retreat and Steenberg. It is in a shocking state, says Mantell. He believes — and so it seems do the greater Cape Town Civic Association and other organisations — it should be a green lung for those residents.

Instead, it appears the city council, which owns the land, has fallen in with developers who intend building a shopping mall and associated structures beside the vlei, much of which will disappear under concrete. Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu is among those protesting against the council’s action.

Since residents of these suburbs are chronically short of funds, Mantell offered to pay for a radio ad designed to bring the vlei to public attention. He says he was taken aback by Radio 702’s response.

As Frans Cronje, who is set to replace John Kane-Herman as CE of the South African Institute of Race Relations, observed in conversation with me a few weeks ago, if business doesn’t get involved in politics, politics will get involved in business.

Listen to the advert that Cape Talk refuses to air:


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