Money row rocks Stimela

2011-04-09 20:28

A mere five months after Stimela’s spectacular reunion, South Africa’s foremost band has been rocked by fights over money.

The band’s manager, Tumi ­Mokwena – a Limpopo lawyer who invested millions to get the group ­together and record a new album – has been accused of leaving a trail of broken promises and ­unpaid bills.

Mokwena has also represented controversial ANC Youth League president Julius Malema.

The claims date from the ­reunion concert that was hosted at The Market Theatre in Joburg in November last year up to the family festival held in Polokwane this year.

Photographer Neo Ntsoma, ­decor company owner Cheryl Raats, online-marketing consultant Grant Monareng, production company Dreamcatcher’s Marang Setshwaelo, and Lesotho music promoter Montoeli Moleli all said Mokwena owed them thousands.

However, Mokwena was adamant that there were legitimate reasons for the non-payment.

Ntsoma was contracted to document the reunion of the band and to do all Stimela photography. She was still waiting for her bill of R38 000 to be settled.

“He hasn’t bothered to answer my calls or respond to my messages. I have stopped communicating with him because he doesn’t give a damn and doesn’t respect other people’s professions. It’s a pity that he doesn’t appreciate the team that was put together for this. He had the best in the industry,” said Ntsoma.

But Mokwena denied Ntsoma’s claims. “It is ridiculous that she would put in a claim of R40 000 (sic) for a photo shoot on one still camera. The claim far exceeds what a full crew would charge for video cameras,” he said.

Setshwaelo, of Dreamcatcher, the company that was contracted to organise Stimela’s relaunch party, said Mokwena had not paid them, so they could not pay their service providers. Instead, he avoided their calls and requests for payment.

Joburg businesswoman Cheryl Raats, whose company was contracted by Dreamcatcher to do the decor at the Stimela relaunch party, said she was owed R30?000.

“They (Dreamcatcher) have ­informed me that they have been fighting terribly to get our money out despite all these contracts in place. I would like for this to be ­resolved,” said Raats.

Dreamcatcher also contracted Monareng to do online public ­relations and marketing. He said he was on the job for one month and jumped ship when there was no salary forthcoming. He was owed R3?500.

Monareng said Mokwena called him at a later stage asking him to do online work for a Stimela CD ­promotion event held at Menlyn Mall in Pretoria.
Monareng said: “We met and he said he’d give me my money. He took my banking details and I am still waiting.”

Mokwena said: “In respect of Cheryl Raats and Grant ­Monareng, as you correctly point out they were sub-contracted to Dreamcatcher. We have not seen their accounts and can therefore not comment on them.”

He did not answer questions about the payment for Monareng’s private work.

In Lesotho, music producer Moleli said he was still waiting for his share of R100 000 after ­Stimela’s performance at the ­University of Lesotho in December last year. This was part of a deal with ­Mokwena to turn the Lesotho Tourism Festival into a Stimela ­reunion party.

Moleli said Mokwena collected the gate takings.

Moleli then asked the ticketing company, ­Computicket, to freeze all the ­takings until the case with ­Mokwena was resolved.

However, Mokwena got a court order to have the money released to him, effectively leaving Moleli with no money from his festival.

Moleli still had to pay service ­providers, artists and hotels in ­Lesotho.

“In respect of Mr Montoeli (Moleli) the facts speak for ­themselves as this matter has been to court and the ruling was in our favour,” said Mokwena.

Ray Phiri, the band’s frontman, said that he had heard about the complaints. “It’s difficult for me to intervene because when they ­entered into these agreements we as Stimela were not involved.

“Suffice to say, we as a group have decided to treat this as an ­internal matter and we’ll find out from our management what the problem is. We as Stimela are ­intact. Our fan base controls us. No administration can control ­Stimela,” he said.

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