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Musicians cry foul over Morija payment

’Matšei Moloi

MASERU — Fatere is among a host of local musicians who claim they have not yet been paid for performing at last month’s Econet Telecom Morija Arts and Cultural Festival.
The musicians say they are not sure if Lezah Media — a local company contracted to hire artists on behalf of the festival organisers — will pay them.
The excuses have been varying, according to the artists who spoke to Xpress People.
Fatere said he had been promised his full payment within two weeks after the festival, which ended on October 4.
But by this weekend he said he had not received his balance.
He was not at liberty to disclose the amount he is owed.
“They had promised to pay the balance within 14 days,” Fatere said.
The singer said Lezah Media director Moorosi Tsatsanyane told him his company could not pay because it had not yet received its own money from the festival organisers.
“He said they have not received money from Morija,” Fatere said.
He said Tsatsanyane had also said Lezah Media was finding it hard to pay him because the festival had run at a loss.
Fatere said what angered them was the suspicion that all performers from South Africa who were at Morija had been paid in full.
Another local artist, a gospel singer, said he got a cheque dated October 6 2009 immediately after his performance at the festival.
The cheque however bounced, the singer claimed.
“The cheque I was given bounced,” he said.
He said he confronted Tsatsanyane and was paid M500 in cash.
He however is yet to get his balance.
He too did not disclose the amount he is allegedly owed.
“Tsatsanyane keeps on telling me that he is preparing to pay,” he said.
Another gospel singer said his contract worth M5 000 had been arbitrarily halved just before the festival.
He however said he had not even received the M2 500 that Lezah Media allegedly deemed he was worth.
He pleaded not to have his name mentioned.
The gospel singer said he had been asked to collect his payment from Lezah Media offices in Maseru a day after his performance, but nothing materialised.
“Unfortunately, I did not get my money,” he said.
The singer alleged that Tsatsanyane was no longer taking his calls.
Tsatsanyane, when contacted for comment, however insisted Lezah Media had paid all the artists who performed at the festival.
“All artists who were billed to perform at the festival got their payments,” Tsatsanyane told Xpress People.
Thabo Leanya, director of the Eco-net Telecom Morija Arts and Cultural Festival, said he was not in the right position to comment about payments to artists who performed at the festival.
He said Lezah Media was in charge of the payments.
Leanya said he did not suspect Lezah Media had misused money but had blown the budget for artists after bringing on board more performers than originally planned.
“I got a report from Lezah Media that some artists were not fully paid because they went over the budget,” he said.
“Lezah Media said they billed extra artists for the festival.”
He said representatives from Lezah Media told him that they were making arrangements to settle the outstanding payments.
Leanya said he was told that Fatere did not get the agreed amount because he did not perform at promotional road shows as was originally arranged.

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