Maskandi group Abafana BaseMawosi cries foul over pay
Maskandi group Abafana BaseMawosi is involved in a bitter war with the Matlosana Municipality over money.
The group, from Bergville in KwaZulu-Natal, said the municipality in North West owed them about R37000.
Abafana BaseMawosi, together with other maskandi groups, were booked to perform in three events that were hosted by speaker Washington Ntozini last year.
According to a document seen by Sowetan, the group performed in the townships of Kanana on May 27 and then Khuma on June 3, and their last performance took place at Baitshoki Ward 18 on June 10.
The group said they had been waiting for payment for 12 months. Patrick Shabangu, the group's manager, said they have made countless attempts to get answers from the speaker and his team, but all in vain.
"We were approached by the speaker Bra Washington, and we were excited about the three performances, especially that it was in North West, an area not familiar with maskandi.
"Other artists were offered transport but we were not. Instead, they requested our management company to give us money for transport and food that would be deducted from the group's payment.
"They asked for documents and we e-mailed everything to them, and waited. After a while, they started avoiding our calls. When we call the speaker, he sends an SMS that he is in a meeting. For 12 months, he has been in that meeting," Shabangu said.
When Sowetan tracked down Ntozini, he denied that he had been avoiding the group's calls, but said that he was not the one responsible for procurement.
Ntozini said he was aware that many people were owed money by the municipality:
"According to my understanding, a new payment system was installed last year and it had problems. It was changed and they had to start all over capturing invoices.
"Unfortunately, I don't deal with payments. They must speak with Adele Lauwrens."
When Sowetan contacted the municipality offices, Betsy Masibi, an assistant director in the speaker's office, explained that the delay in payment was caused by the group's failure to submit a tax compliant certificate.
"Abafana BaseMawosi was requested to correct their tax compliance with SARS or they could not be paid as our system does not allow an order to be printed without being tax compliant," Masibi said.
Nkosizothini Hlongwane, the group leader, said: "Performing is the only way as artists we can make money to survive. But it is sad when other people do not take us seriously."