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Radio Gamkaland to the rescue

The power of community radio was demonstrated recently when Radio Gamkaland played a pivotal part in the arrest of a suspected child abuser.

On Saturday, 17 May, the radio station received a request from the police to appeal for community assistance in locating a man accused of severely assaulting his girlfriend’s two-year-old son. The station immediately broadcast the appeal and within a short space of time, the perpetrator was arrested.

With nearly 40 000 listeners, Radio Gamkaland 87.6fm proved that it is the ideal way to reach the people of the Central Karoo.

Thanks to Radio Gamkaland’s loyal listenership, the 28-year-old suspect was apprehended and now faces a charge of attempted murder. The man is accused of keeping his girlfriend and her child captive in their home in Beaufort West for a number of hours, of assaulting the toddler, burning his feet with boiling water and forcing him to eat his own faeces.

When the woman and child were rescued, the accused fled the scene, only to be nabbed a short while after local police turned to Radio Gamkaland for assistance in finding him. The child had to undergo emergency surgery.

The rapid response to Radio Gamkaland’s appeal does not surprise Judy Milne, the director of The Media Connection and a long-time advocate of community radio. The Media Connection is a radio airtime sales company that works with most of South Africa’s community stations. ‘We have observed time and again how powerful an influence community radio is in its broadcast area. Community radio is the mouthpiece of the general public and is well positioned to raise awareness around issues that affect listeners,’ said Milne.
‘Well done to Radio Gamkaland for doing its bit to see that justice is served.’

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