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Leomile feuds with Ultimate FM

by Sunday Express
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leomile-motsetsela-photo-by-tim-gerges-editMohalenyane Phakela

ULTIMATE FM has hit out at songstress Leomile for taking to social media instead of engaging the radio station over the cancellation of a performance deal for last Saturday’s Ultimate Music Awards at ‘Manthabiseng Convention Centre in Maseru.

The Lerato Le Felile hit maker took to Facebook on Friday to announce her withdrawal from the event citing the organisers’ alleged failure to cover her band’s transport from her Johannesburg base to Lesotho.

“It is with great disappointment that I have to announce my withdrawal as a performer at the Ultimate Music Awards 2016,” Leomile said on the social media site.

She said Ultimate FM had offered her a non-negotiable performance fee of M8 000 which was not enough to cover costs she would incur in bringing the band as well as accommodation.

“I made them aware of other costs involved such as transport and accommodation and was told that there is no budget for that. After a little tug of war I relented and said I would accommodate the band at my own home. However, transport would be the burden of the organisers

Leomile said she was “shocked” to later discover that Ultimate FM would no longer be providing transport.

She claimed she was also told “they would see what they can do” and “put together the money” when her manager enquired about the performance fee.

“On Tuesday (last week) we realised that time was running out and demanded a firm answer to all our questions but again we were told that they could not provide transportation, and with regards to the payment, they thought the latest it will be processed is Friday, just a day before the event whereas the unsigned contract stated that payment should be done three days in advance,” Leomile said, adding that left her no choice but to cancel her participation as the money offered would not suffice to cover transport costs.

However, Ultimate FM Station Director ‘Mabatho Lithebe this week told the Weekender her office was “greatly disappointed” by Leomile’s decision to air the issue on social media instead of first engaging them.

Lithebe said they entered into a verbal agreement with Leomile last month, along with other South African-based artistes including Maleh and Matli Mohapeloa.

“We had agreed with each artiste about payment and had promised we would transfer funds into their accounts latest by Friday,” Lithebe said.

“It came to my attention on Friday that Leomile demanded transport for herself and the band which is something we had not agreed upon.”

“I then tried to call her so we could reach a solution but then her phone kept ringing without being answered.”

She said Ultimate FM was devoted to promoting local artistes and not to exploiting them, adding the awards ceremony was one of such initiatives.

“Remember, we also booked various local artistes to grace the event, paying them with the little money we had.

“My door is always open for anyone and I expect people to communicate with me whatever issues they have regarding the station. I expected Leomile to do the same and not air our dirty laundry in public, especially on social media.

“How does she expect our relations to be after this or how is she expecting other event organisers to perceive her if she cannot be professional? I am greatly disappointed,” Lithebe said.

Another Ultimate FM official, Mpho Moletsane, said Leomile had only notified them at the last minute that she needed M3 000 to cover transport costs.

Moletsane said she made several attempts to call Leomile two weeks before the awards to get her account number for payment purposes but her phone went unanswered and “she only got back to me the following week demanding M3 000 on top of the M8000 booking fee”.

“I told her that we could not afford that for we had already submitted her invoice to the sponsors who were incurring the booking costs so it would not be professional to change it at that time but she just simply said she will not come if we do not pay that amount, arguing that we only have money to pay South African artistes but not her.

“I personally booked 21 rooms in two local hospitality facilities on behalf of the station for artistes who would be coming from South Africa which means she was catered for. But wanted her band to sleep in Ladybrand, South Africa) and when we refused she said she would rather cater for them at her own home in Ha Thetsane,” Moletsane said.


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