MOTHEEA Mpharoane, the producer of local drama Ke Nako: Our Times is involved in a nasty wrangle for royalties with former actors of the film.
The former actors accuse Mpharoane of duping them of royalties for 50 episodes of the show which he allegedly sold to South African channel Moja Love.
According to the actors, Mpharoane paid them for only 50 episodes after claiming that he had sold screening rights for those 50 to the television channel. However, they later realised that he had instead sold 100 episodes.
In a recent Facebook post, former actor Swain Dlamini said Motheea sold 100 episodes to Moja Love, which started airing the drama earlier this year shortly after they stopped showing it on Lesotho Television.
Dlamini said that they were told that the episodes would only be on TV for two months and were also paid for those two months. However, to their surprise, the drama continued beyond the two months.
“We were told by Mr Motheea that he had sold 50 episodes to Moja Love in February this year and we were paid for that package,” Dlamini said.
He said this was not the first time that Mpharoane has been involved in such wrangles as he was embroiled in another fight with 32 actors of the same production.
Dlamini said after realising that Mpharoane could have lied to them, they took to the Moja Love offices where they were told that the channel had bought rights for 100 episodes.
He said they were disappointed that they had been cheated after toiling for seven years only for one person to enjoy the rewards.
Motheea told the Weekender that he had been barred from commenting on the issue by his partners in Johannesburg.
“I have been given strict instructions by my partners in Joburg not to comment on the allegations,” Mpharoane said.
The soapie aired on South African broadcaster eTV’s continental service e-Africa from January until March 2016.
It started airing on Lesotho National Broadcasting Services (LNBS) in May 2017 from Monday to Wednesday at 8:30pm until last year.
When the shooting began in 2013, the team, which was then made up of 54 members, agreed to work for free and would be remunerated when the income started trickling in. However, in July 2016, 32 actors dumped Mpharoane’s Landlocked Entertainment Company citing poor working relations.
Early last year, the 32 pleaded with the then Minister of Communications, Joang Molapo, to bar the airing of local soap opera on national television until their dispute was resolved.
The 32 demanded compensation for the time that they worked on the soapie as they had initially agreed. They said they did not want to return to the soapie because the working relations had already soured and Motheea had insulted them before they part ways and made it clear that he no longer wanted to work with them.
Their argument was that if Landlocked Entertainment’s contract with LTV was renewed before addressing their concerns, Mpharoane would continue enriching himself with the taxpayers’ money while exploiting their talent.
“We worked for three years for Landlocked Entertainment without pay as we had agreed that we would be compensated once Our Times started selling and also discussed working contracts,” one of the actresses, ‘Mantšalla Ramakhula said at the time.