‘Mpungose reality TV show was hijacked’

Johannesburg – Maskandi king Khuzani Mpungose and TV show producer Legend Manqele are embroiled in a nasty dispute with a budding producer over the ownership of the artist’s much-anticipated reality show.

Musa Buthelezi, a KwaZulu- Natal-based producer, said Mpungose’s show, to be aired on SABC1, was hijacked from him and sold to the public broadcaster without his consent.

Speaking to Sunday World, Buthelezi said he and his colleague Thuli Zulu met Mpungose at Umhlanga in 2017 to seek his permission to film a reality show titled Khuzani The Maskandi King.

He said Mpungose referred him to his manager Mthokozisi Zuma whom they later met and reached an agreement to shoot the show. He said he and Mpungose had signed a “letter of intent” in which the award-winning artist, who filled up Moses Mabhida stadium alone in 2017, gave his company, PSG, permission to produce the show. Dated September 10 2018, it reads in part:

“This letter grants producers permission to use the actor and the actor’s name and licences in the pre-development of this project and on the final production from the date of the signing of this letter until post-production.”

Buthelezi said after sending the letter to MultiChoice, the company’s representatives invited him to a meeting to make a presentation.

He said after sending e-mails, which Sunday World has seen, enquiring about the progress, they invited him to another meeting this year in which he and his colleagues, Valentine Mbaqa and Londiwe Mkhize made another presentation.

He said was shocked to learn in the media recently that the show would be aired on the public broadcaster’s channel with Manqele’s company, BarLeader TV, which produced Living The Dream With Somizi, credited as the producer. He said he was seeking legal advice on the possibility of interdicting the show.

Zuma said though Buthelezi was the first to approach them with the show concept, they later worked with Manqele because Buthelezi failed to meet the deadlines they gave him to produce it. “He can’t claim that he owns Khuzani Buthelezi, this is a reality show and anyone can do it,” he said.

Manqele rubbished allegations the concept belonged to Buthelezi. He said he conceptualised the show in 2019, and started talking to the SABC and MultiChoice about it.

“I did not even know that the guy you are talking about was working on the show with Khuzani, but then again you can’t claim an IP [intellectual property] on a reality show,” said Manqele.

“The Khuzani Bo! show has been lincenced to SABC1 by the BarLeader TV productions. SABC1 is not aware of the allegations made by Mr Musa Buthelezi regarding the ownership of the concept. Mr Buthelezi is welcome to take the matter up with The BarLeader TV productions,” said Gugu Ntuli, SABC group executive for corporate affairs and marketing.

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