'Ntoni left SA artists high and dry abroad'

Promoter Linda Ntoni allegedly owes artists after taking them abroad to perform.
Promoter Linda Ntoni allegedly owes artists after taking them abroad to perform.

Music promoter and widow of late jazz legend Victor Ntoni has been accused of taking local artists abroad and failing to pay them.

Linda Ntoni, who co-owns Gauteng Music Development, is said to have taken artists to Scotland and left them to starve. Recently, she took another group to Canada and is allegedly also owing them.

The group of artists that includes vocalists and instrumentalists are allegedly owed monies that range from R6,000 to R30,000.

The group that went to Scotland, which comprised 15 people, was divided into two and spent three weeks performing at the Edinburg Festival. The artists, who asked not to be named for fear of victimisation, have been waiting for their payments since July last year.

They said when they got to Scotland, Ntoni changed her tune and did not pay them daily allowances as per agreement and they sometimes did not have money to buy food.

When it comes to accommodation, there was a group that shared a house, with some of them sleeping on couches. Another group slept in student residences and were moved every two days.

"It was hard. We had to survive on bread and butter. Sometimes Linda would bring small groceries, but in many cases we had to hustle for food," said one artist.

According to the artists, Ntoni kept saying that she was waiting for money from the department of arts and culture (DAC) and National Lotteries Commission (NLC).

Some artists said they got paid only a quarter of what they were promised after returning from Scotland.

Sowetan understands that Ntoni received R1.6m from the NLC. Sowetan has seen a document signed in June 2017, where NLC confirmed the grant approval. The NLC confirmed Ntoni received the money in two tranches.

Spokesperson Ndivhuho Mafela said: "The NLC can confirm that it paid the grant in question to the Gauteng Music Development in January 2018. The full amount of the grant was paid in two tranches. The grant was for preparations and subsequent participation at the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland."

When Ntoni was approached for comment, she wanted to know the artists who claimed to be owed... otherwise she was not going to comment. Ntoni then denied that she owed anyone.

However, she confirmed that she took artists to Scotland and Canada.

"I have taken groups of artists to Scotland and Canada, that is why I want to know who those people are. I can confirm that I have received money from the Lottery for many projects I do. But I am not owing anyone."

The DAC had not responded at the time of going to print.

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