Kwaito king Arthur Mafokate and his former protégé, Pantsula, are dancing on each other’s toes over the payment of the one-hit wonder’s royalties.
Pantsula, who left Mafokate’s 999 Music stable in 2014, is accusing the award-winning muso of shortchanging him of his royalties after failing to credit him for the songs he wrote for him since joining the stable over a decade ago.
News of Pantsula and Mafokate’s stand-off came to the fore after the disgruntled musician, real name Cornelius Mtshixa, reported the matter to Mzansi Rights Holders Forum for intervention.
The organisation, founded by former 999 Music manager Brian Mokoena, wrote an e-mail to the Kaffir hitmaker on January 26 demanding that he furnish it with a list of all the songs written by Pantsula.
The e-mail, which we have seen, reads in part: “I refer to the above and hereby wish to bring it to your attention that my structure, Mzansi Rights Holders Forum, has recently been appointed by Cornelius Mtshixa, aka Pantsula, to represent him. This is over all his music rights for all the songs he contributed or recorded with your label.
“I therefore kindly and humbly request that you furnish me with the list of these works, albums and artists he worked with. In addition, the role played by him when these works were recorded and the contracts thereof.
It continues: “Failure on your part to do so will leave us with no choice but to write to all collecting societies in the country and international federations, like Cisac, requesting them to immediately cease making any payments to you and your so-called publishing house.
“[We will also write to] all users in the country, especially broadcasters, wherein we ask them to stop utilising any music that has you as the so-called producer or publisher. Hopefully, you will understand and begin to appreciate the fact that this matter is rather serious and kindly send the info requested.”
Mokoena confirmed that Pantsula, who rocked the music industry with the album Pakistan, approached his organisation to represent him in the squabble. “Yes, we’re representing him, but I prefer not to comment at the moment given the sensitivity of the issue,” he said.
Speaking to Sunday World, Pantsula said he wrote, among Mafokate’s popular ditties, Hlokoloza, Hlalabehlala, Nguwe Lo featuring Kelly Khumalo, and Sister featuring Loyiso Mangena, but was never credited as a songwriter or paid royalties for the songs.
He added that he left 999 Music in a huff in 2014 after his contract expired, noting that he approached Mokoena this year after Mafokate refused to pay him royalties.
“Last year, he asked me to write songs for his upcoming album. I told him that he needs to credit me for the songs and also pay me for those I wrote previously, but he refused, saying he never signed any contract with me. I feel used and I’m tired,” said Pantsula.
Mafokate declined to comment. In the Whatsapp conversation with Pantsula, which we have seen, Mafokate said he would refer the matter to his lawyers.