Bongani Fassie summoned to court by Lance Stehr for libel as label boss demands R6m ‘for defamation’

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Bongani Fassie refuses to take back anything he has said about label boss Lance Stehr on his reality show Finding Bongani.
Bongani Fassie refuses to take back anything he has said about label boss Lance Stehr on his reality show Finding Bongani.
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He is the son of late South African pop icon Brenda Fassie.

Many say he suckled talent from his mother’s bosom.

He was introduced to the entertainment industry at a young age and everything that came with it.

Multi-talented producer Bongani Fassie (36) had travelled the continent making music with the Hip-Hop group Jozi consisting of then members Lesley “Da Les” Mampe, Crazy Lu, and Ishmael Morabe.  

In their glory days, the group made hit after hit. Until their career took a turn, and they were no longer singing the same tune.

The dynamic group split up due to personal differences and group dynamics. One band member, Crazy Lu, passed away, Ishmael and Dales pursued solo careers and Bongani fell into a dark depression.

The child star opened up about his drug addiction, alcohol abuse, depression and battling to cope with his mother’s death. Even today, he still gets emotional when he thinks about how his late mother was allegedly exploited by many in the music industry.

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Last year, he told his story on his reality show, Finding Bongani on Moja Love TV. Bongani spoke candidly about his trials and tribulations as a child star. He labelled Muthaland record label boss Lance Stehr as the source of his demise.

"Lance closed doors for me,” he alleged on the reality show.

He accused Lance of offering him his first cocaine hit while at the height of his career with rap group Jozi. 

In Bongani’s accusations, he was backed by 1990s pop sensation, Mercy Phakela, who called Lance, the brains behind drug use amongst his signees.

“He is a mastermind. He is a master of drugs. He takes drugs and gives them to the children so that they don't think properly. So they shouldn't use their minds to preserve their culture and to know the financial side of the industry,” Mercy alleged.

The music executive was also labelled “evil” by kwaito star Zola 7 for allegedly ruining his career but, in an interview with Drum, Lance denied ever giving anyone narcotics.

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Lance has since filed a defamation of character lawsuit at the high court against Bongani. Lance is believed to have served summonses against Bongani at his Fourways home while allegedly trying to dodge the deputy sheriff of the court.

Lance tells Drum that he looked after Bongani as a father figure for six years after Brenda's death. “I don’t know why he has run this campaign against me.

"I hate to have to take him to court, but he has left me no choice. He needs to apologise and retract his statements. It is not about money but about the amount of harm he has caused.”

In court documents seen by Drum, Lance is suing for R6 million including legal charges.

As a direct cause of the said publication and broadcasting of intentional falsehoods by Defendant, Plaintiff (Lance) has suffered, and will continue to suffer, significant harm to his business and its professional reputation resulting in commercial and economic loss in the sum of R6 000 000.00,” the documents read.

The false and defamatory statements made and broadcasted by Defendant and his confidante Mercy Pakela have had the effect of lowering the reputation of the Plaintiff (Lance) in the eyes of his community in that Plaintiff is perceived by those to whom publication occurred as an unprofessional manager who exploits his clients and deals drugs to them.

Bongani denies receiving the summons.

“I heard about it, but I was not handed a summons,” he says.

“He summoned the wrong person. I haven’t received the papers. The sheriff did call me. And anyway, Lance signed consent to do the show. He is interviewed on the show and signed a release form. You see, that’s where the danger is.”

Bongani says he is not retracting anything he said about Lance on the show.

“The cocaine stuff is true. If he wants to sue, then I will do the same. I am also coming for him,” he says.

“Lance was involved in my mom's estate. That got wound up, it was finalised and everything.

"I want to find out where my R25 million went to. He has got a fight coming. Lance was my legal guardian, self-appointed, and it wound up to 11 years.

"There are so many irregularities to this and I am not backing down either. Also, where am I supposed to get R6 million?”

Head of Moja TV Channels Bokani Moyo says, “Moja LOVE is not aware of any lawsuit pertaining to Bongani Fassie or the reality show Finding Bongani and therefore cannot comment on the matter."

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