Sechaba Pali in 'drink-and-dash' dispute

2014-01-26 14:00

Singer claims the same drinking buddies got him arrested for rape

Controversial gospel musician Sechaba Pali has been accused of racking up a hefty drinks bill at a Soweto joint – and then disappearing without settling his debt.

The award-winning star’s alleged drink-and-dash has landed his two drinking partners, Tebogo Matlaupane and another man known only as Pienaar, in hot water with the restaurant owner.

The owner, City Press has learnt, confiscated Matlaupane’s BlackBerry and Pienaar’s driver’s licence after Pali allegedly left them in the lurch.

Sechaba has angrily refuted the allegations, saying he left money for the pair to settle the bill. His version of events is supported by the manager who was on duty that night.

The incident happened late last month, and the two went to the Orlando Police Station last Thursday to give sworn affidavits in a bid to have the phone and licence returned.

In the affidavit, which City Press has seen, Matlaupane claimed that Pali called him on December 28 and asked him to organise a drinking session at Next Door, on Vilakazi Street.

Matlaupane said he and Pienaar went to the joint straight away. “I approached some of the girls who were already drinking there and told them that I was expecting Sechaba and asked them if they could keep us company when he arrived and they agreed.”

Matlaupane said that because the place was too small to accommodate all of them, the women decided to split up into two groups.

“The other group went upstairs with Sechaba and Pienaar while I remained downstairs with others,” he said.

Matlaupane said Pali told them to order liquor on his account and promised to settle the bill.

As the party got into full swing, Pali was spotted walking out with one of the women.

Matlaupane said: “We phoned him to come and settle the bill as they were about to close. He said that he settled the upstairs bill and said we should pay for our own drinks.”

Caught short, the pair was unable to pay for their drinks and it was then that the owner confiscated the phone and licence.

“We have been trying in vain to convince Pali to come and pay this bill but he wouldn’t take our calls. I want my phone back. Sechaba must go there and pay the bill. He is the one who said we must organise girls to drink with him and then he ran away without paying. This is not fair because I don’t have such money to settle the bill as I’m unemployed,” said Matlaupane.

Pali, who was convicted of statutory rape last year and is serving a five-year suspended sentence, said he left Next Door angry, “because [Matlaupane and Pienaar] tried to hook me up with those coloured girls”. He added: “I’m a married man. I can’t afford to be seen sleeping around with women I find in shebeens. But before I left, I gave Pienaar R400 and Tebogo R500 to settle the bill.” He accused the pair of lying.

“I pay rent for Pienaar and sometimes I buy him clothes, so why must I also pay for alcohol that he drank with women?

“I can’t do that. I have a family to feed. You see it is because of those guys that I ended up being accused of rape. I met the woman who accused me of rape through those guys.”

The manager who was on duty that day told City Press the two men were given money by Pali to settle the bill, which included the cost of a bottle of Hennessy cognac. After the singer left, the two men carried on drinking, according to the manager, who refused to be named.

“The guys tried to skip without paying and one of the waiters caught them. They waited for about two hours before they claimed that they didn’t have enough to pay for the full bill.

“We made a gentleman’s agreement where they handed over their cellphone and driver’s licence. They promised to come back during the week to pay the outstanding R600,” he said.

The bill has still not been settled.

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