The booking of former Generations actor Mangaliso Ngema as the programme director for Moshito Music Conference and Exhibition event in Joburg three weeks ago has caused a rift in the organisation.
Some board members accusing the music body of spitting in the face of gender-based violence victims after Ngema, who was arrested and released on R500 bail of allegedly raping his relative, was booked to be the master of ceremony at the organisation’s event at the Joburg Theatre on October 27.
The shindig was graced by among others, legendary maskandi artist Ihashi Elimhlophe, jazz artist Thami Mdluli and musician Mthandazo Gatya.
Ngema was fired from SABC 2 popular drama series Lithapo after his female colleague, Lorraine Moropa, accused him of sexual harassment, and his hiring has left a bitter taste in the mouths of some Moshito board members.
Ngema said Moshito should not be victimised for booking him to MC the event. “False accusations are levelled against me, and I must not feed my children, my family? It’s unfair. I don’t think Moshito should be taken to task over this matter . Somebody else was meant to be the MC and suddenly he fell sick and I was available, they might have forgotten about the implications of this but I don’t think they must be taken to task by the haters for this, “ he said.
Speaking to Sunday World on condition of anonymity, a board member said they expected their board member Mandla Maseko to MC the event but to their shock and chagrin, Ngema ascended the stage and directed the programme.
“We could believe eyes. We were shocked but could not anything at there because we respected the event’s decorum. But to be honest with you it was like being treated to unedifying spectacle,” said the board member.
A music executive, who also did not want to be identified for fear of reprisal, confirmed that another board member approached him and berated the board over Ngema’s booking.
“She was rattled by the whole thing . Her feeling is that although Mangaliso has not been found guilty by the court of law, his booking to be an MC at such a big event was akin to paying a lip service to gender-based violence, which is a serious issue in our country. I think the board has scored an own goal and Mangaliso’s booking is likely to upset its main sponsors,” said the executive.
Moshito spokesperson Nongelo Chiume confirmed they hired Ngema to MC the event after they were, at the eleventh hour, let down by a programme director who did not pitch up after they had hired him. She also defended the actor and said it was premature to judge him because he has not been found guilty by a court of a law.
“ We are aware of the alleged matter that he stands accused of rape but has not been found guilty by a court of law yet.
As indicated, we are aware that the matter is ongoing before the courts. As media kindly note that Section 35 (c) of our constitution says you are presumed innocent until proven guilty or found guilty by a court of law. This is a right enshrined as a right Mr Ngema has as per our our constitution of the republic of South Africa. As Moshito is not our job to violate that right,” she said in a written response.
Chiume also said they were not aware of reservations expressed by some board members over Ngema’s booking as they had not raised it formally at their meeting.
“We are not aware of any meeting where the board expressed concerns yet as per the claim on this matter or in any other moshito platform as you claim formally. So, this can’t be true.
Moshito board members knows (sic) how to raise matters at Moshito I doubt they will come to you and abandoned the official process in place,” she said.
She further said although they cared about gender based violence , the organisation didn’t regret acquiring services of the controversial thespian and did not rule out the possibility of hiring him again in the future.
“No, we don’t regret the decision. He stepped in when we needed an MC and for that we thankful, even though it was short notice to him. We can’t talk about what will happen in the future and what might not happen. Mr Ngema is a seasoned professional and creative who has worked with Moshito for years and in other industry platforms as well. We wish that the courts conclude on his matters,” she said.
NPA South Gauteng Spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane said Ngema will appear in the Randburg Magistrate’s Court on December 5 for representations.
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