Actress Sonia Mbele is entangled in a bitter battle over money for food through a film production company she is shooting a movie with
The company, J2K Entertainment, is contracted to shoot One Hundred Lives, with Mbele as the executive producer. Kalala Kapay, the owner of J2K, is the director.
One of the scenes showing a lion roaming the streets of Braamfontein was released on social media and got tongues wagging.
The film is set to be released next year. But this week Mbele had to fight off allegations of unpaid bills from a caterer.
Chef Lehlogonolo “Donmichaels” Gunene said he was owed R43000 for feeding the crew and cast of 50, after incurring extra costs. He said he was meant to feed 25 people breakfast, lunch and snacks for a week, but the mouths he fed doubled unexpectedly.
“To me right now, it seems as if J2K is a scam…” he complained.
“I have five people who worked under me and when I have to pay them, there is a problem. My service provider, from whom I rent the van, won’t work with me until I pay them. I can’t do other jobs until then so I’m losing out on money and relationships.”
The contract between the parties seen by Sowetan stipulates that his company Donmichaels Lifestyles’s original “all-inclusive” bill was R20000, which was scratched out and replaced with “refer to final invoice”.
“Because of the extra people, I had put in my own money in the week. Kalala ducks calls and suddenly has a problem with the invoiced amount. He says he is in meetings with executives for more funding and it looks like the whole crew hasn’t been paid. They are thinking of taking legal action, and I’m one of them,” said Gunene.
Another service provider, Sandi Mathebula, the production unit manager, said he was partially paid but the company managed to settle the outstanding balance.
Asked to comment, Mbele said she wasn’t on the operational side of the production and referred questions to line manager Karabo Chababa and Kapay.
“We are excited about the project. It’s going to be one of the biggest films to come out of this country and we do not want it to be ruined by disgruntled people,” Mbele said.
Chababa said: “We are still shooting so we will do a reconciliation of what has to be reimbursed. To finalise invoices while still shooting is immature.”
Kapay said Gunene was a chance taker, who was paid R20 000 according to his contract but claimed extra expenses of R43000 which he “can’t give proof of or explain”.
“We do not owe Donmichaels anything… The documents are there in black and white. We asked him to bring proof of the extra R43000 and he couldn’t.”