Radio presenter Aden Thomas was off air for just one day and listeners sommer assumed the Heart 104.9 jock had been fired.
Mense even started a hashtag #BringBackAden after they tuned in and found Tyrone Paulsen hosting the Breakfast Show yesterday – unannounced.
The sudden switch led to confusion and speculation that it was something Aden had said on air to land him in trouble with his bosses.
On social media, Heart listeners were convinced it was Aden’s rant about Jacob Zuma last Friday that cost him his job.
The DJ was commenting on Zuma’s highly publicised donation of a new house and R10 000 to the family of murder victim Courtney Pieters, three, of Elsies River.
Aden said the president was not being dignified and the entire visit was a political ploy to capitalise on a mother’s grief.
“They’ve got a bloody house. A new house is not going to bring Courtney back. They don’t need a new house, they need counselling.
“I am horrified, at the cheap, crass political points-scoring. It galls me,” Aiden fumed live on air.
Listeners who have been following Courtney’s case since 4 May, agreed with Aden.
And yesterday they went bos when they learnt Paulsen had replaced him, albeit temporarily, according to Heart FM.
Some listeners blamed Aden’s absence on a Facebook post by the African National Congress’ Rene Smit, who slammed the DJ for attacking Zuma on air.
She wrote: “You painted it a ‘political event’ and publicly announced your disgust on behalf of HeartFM when the president offered immense and tangible relief to the bereaved family with a new home and he personally contributed R10 000 to their unaffordable costs.
“You should be removed from your HeartFM position as radio presenter for making these uncalled for opinionated statements.”
She also accused Aden of being anti-ANC, saying: “Is this because you had a evening of cocktails and eats hosting DA Mayor, Patricia de Lille, in HeartFM’s studio’s last night?”
However, Smit denied she had been in contact with the station’s bosses.
On Facebook, an angry Chris Januarie wrote: “Do * mean that Aden is officially off air for his view on Zuma and Courtney Pieters? Perhaps then it is time we all post a comment on Heart104.9’s fb page spelling out our dismay or even better; those who can should hold a peaceful picket at their studio tomorrow morning.”
Oscar Peter Bougardt said: “We all know our president is an corrupt idiot. There I said it in public they can take me to jail.”
The station, however, has denied that Aden was fired or suspended, and is simply on holiday for the week.
Heart FM’s Head of Programming, Denver Apollus told Daily Voice: “The nature of our business sees jocks stand in for one another and some have preferences as to how they communicate this message on air, ahead of any scheduled leave.
“Aden Thomas never announces his leave, as he keeps his travelling and leisure time a personal affair. I can confirm, Aden Thomas is on scheduled and approved leave.”