'Bassie consented to photo'

THE photographer who took Basetsana Khumalo's "horrible" picture, which was later used in an advert, claims she agreed to be photographed - but not to be used in an advert.

Vernon de Villiers told the Johannesburg high court yesterday that the former Miss South Africa agreed and smiled for the camera when he asked if he could photograph her.

"Had she objected I would not have taken the photograph."

The picture is now the centre of a R750000 lawsuit filed by Khumalo against the Cyclelab in Fourways.

Khumalo said the picture was taken while she was shopping for a bicycle and she did not know the photographer.

She was shocked when she saw the picture in a magazine as part of an advert promoting the store without her consent.

Asked if Khumalo had consented to the picture being used in an advert, De Villiers said: " I wouldn't say she consented, but to me it was just a picture of a woman shopping."

Khumalo now wants Cyclelab to pay for "financially exploiting" her by using her face to sell their products and publishing a picture in which she looked as if "she had not slept in 10 days".

"My face is my business. My brand value has been devalued. They portrayed me in a way that could lead to clients thinking I have gone down the drain. I am brand ambassador for various companies, including cosmetic companies," Khumalo earlier told the court.

Arguments will be heard on May 19.