JLO ISN’T COMING
The Guptas’ banking woes are to blame for the fact that their South African of the Year Awards are not going ahead this year. After the controversial family’s businesses were dumped by the country’s four major banks, they have been receiving assistance from India’s Bank of Baroda.
But now that bank has come under increasing scrutiny – a fact that City Press has learnt is to blame for the postponement to next year of the Gupta-owned TV station ANN7’s glamorous awards show.
City Press has learnt from two senior officials at ANN7 that the Bank of Baroda refused to release funds on time.
“The bank did not release the funds to pay artists and other expenses,” said one source.
The awards were going to feature American star Jennifer Lopez as the headline act on November 25. Bonang Matheba was going to be one of the show’s hosts.
City Press has also learnt that on Friday the Guptas were forced to cancel their usually glitzy year-end function, at which they traditionally announce how well they’ve done during the year.
“The year-end function has been cancelled and the various divisions can decide whether they have enough budget to hold their own events,” one source said.
Another employee who is privy to the details said they were also worried whether their salaries would be paid.
“I am worried that I won’t get paid come month’s end. I just want to find a job somewhere and leave them,” the employee said.
ANN7 and Gupta holding company Oakbay did not respond to requests for comment.
On Tuesday, it was announced on the awards’ website that the glitzy ceremony was postponed due to “unforeseen regulatory circumstances that have materially impacted on logistics for the event”.
“A new date will be announced in due course. Regretfully, this has left us with no choice but to seek a new date in the near future. We look forward to confirming a rescheduled date,” ANN7 announced.
However, it is unclear whether the Guptas have lost money by paying a deposit to secure JLo’s services.
Lopez charges upwards of $1 million (R14.3 million) per performance.
An industry source who spoke on condition of anonymity, who regularly books international artists, told City Press that Lopez wouldn’t have charged less than R10 million to perform.
“There is no way that they can put an international star on without a clearance of 50% of their performance fee, or the full amount. No international artist can avail herself or himself for free,” the insider said.
“JLo’s management won’t refund their money – it’s their loss.”
Another industry source, who books international stars, said industry practice involved paying a minimum of half of the performance fee upfront, or the full amount.
Although Lopez may have received some cash from ANN7, local stars have not been so lucky.
TV star Bonang Matheba, who was set to be one of the show’s hosts, was secured for free.
Sources close to Matheba say she wasn’t paid a deposit. City Press has learnt that Matheba’s management, DNA Brand Architects, sent an invoice to ANN7, but she hadn’t been paid until it was announced this week that the awards were postponed.
Contacted for comment on Friday, DNA Brand Architects’ Jay Badza would neither confirm nor deny that Matheba had not been paid, only saying “no comment”.
HERE’S LOOKING AT YOU KID Jennifer Lopez performed for Hillary Clinton at the Get Out The Vote (GOTV) concert in Miami, Florida, on October 29