This year’s MTN SA Music Awards (Samas) are over, but the drama continues.
Penny Lebyane, who presents the SABC2 talk show Motswako, is furious that organisers kicked her to the kerb just hours before she was due to co-present the night’s biggest award, the Record of the Year, with Metro FM DJ Glen Lewis.
Lebyane said she was treated like “a child in a naughty corner” by the organisers, and is particularly furious with Randall Abrahams, the chairman of the awards’ supervisory committee.
Rumours flew thick and fast last weekend about why Lebyane had been barred from presenting the prestigious gong to gospel star Sfiso Ncwane.
Metro FM DJ William Lehong took to Twitter to accuse Lebyane of being drunk on air.
On Sunday, Lehong tweeted: “#SAMADRAMA UPDATE: As a result of her tantrums yesterday afternoon, @PennyLebyane didn’t present an award with @GlenLewisSA last night.”
Lebyane responded by calling him an “incompetent” broadcaster.
She insists the trouble started during morning rehearsals last Saturday, hours before the glittering live show was due to kick off at Sun City’s Superbowl.
She was told she would not be presenting the award with Lewis.
No reason was given, she claims, and she was told to speak to the event’s managing director, Delmarie Seaward of Vertical Limit Productions.
Seaward, Lebyane was told, had the final word on the matter. The two chatted and seemed to reach an agreement that Lebyane would go on stage with Lewis that night – but then she was thrown another curve ball.
Lebyane says she was told Abrahams was actually the man with the final say.
“I sat like a child in a naughty corner waiting to be disciplined,” an emotional Lebyane told City Press.
“Randall came, looked at me and walked past. He had a chat with (Seaward), then came back and told me to come outside with him to find a quiet place to talk.”
It was then, Lebyane says, that all was revealed: Abrahams, who was carrying a pile of paper, pulled one sheet out and said that, according to her contract, the presenter had to “stick to the script”.
The problem it emerged, had started the previous night during the first leg of the awards, which were not broadcast.
Abrahams accused Lebyane of not sticking to the script while co-hosting Friday night’s event with former Motsweding FM presenter The Big Ben.
Lebyane acknowledged she had improvised.
Abrahams allegedly told her: “Unfortunately, that’s that – you will not be presenting on the live show on the night.”
Lebyane says she fled and camped out in the media room, where she wept.
Abrahams referred questions to Seaward, who initially seemed reluctant to comment.
Later, they sent a terse statement: “The Samas organisers do not comment on decisions made regarding the selection of presenters.”