Somizi in row over r70 000

Zenoyise Madikwa

Zenoyise Madikwa

Top choreographer Somizi Mhlongo allegedly owes the late arts promoter Arabi Mocheke more than R70000 for a Busi Mhlongo performance that never happened.

Somizi yesterday admitted that he got R70000 from Mocheke. But he says he owes Mocheke R18000.

Both Busi and Somizi were booked to perform at the Soweto Festival at Mofolo Park last year but Busi failed to show up.

Somizi, who is also Busi's manager, blames Mocheke for Busi's no-show. He said Mocheke failed to pay Busi's accommodation and transport as per their agreement.

A source told Sowetan that Busi only received R15000 of the money but Somizi claims he gave her R33000 in instalments of R15000 and R18000.

"A week before Busi's performance I tried to reach Arabi on his phone to ask him about accommodation and transportation for Busi and her band. His phone was off the whole week. I decided to transport Busi and her band with my own money. But by the time I paid she was already fed up and refused to perform."

Somizi said by then he had already paid all Busi's costs.

He says after subtracting these costs, including his own performance fee, only R18000 was due to Arabi.

"As far as I'm concerned, I only owe Arabi R18000 and I'm willing to pay the money. I had a good relationship with Arabi. The only thing I hate is when people who were not even part of the deal are harassing me."

When contacted, Busi broke down because she was overcome by Mocheke's death.

"I don't want to talk about petty things. Talk to Somizi. He knows what happened. I did not know that Arabi was dead. You killed me," said Busi before hanging up the phone.

Arabi's son, Karabo said his father's company Johannesburg Concerts would not accept the money.

"Somizi knows that he owes us more than R70000. He must come clean or I will handle this matter the way I see fit."

Deputy president of the South African Music Promoters Association, China Mpololo, said there was no standard practice when it comes to who pays what and when between artist and promoter.

"These things depend on the agreement between the negotiating parties," he said.