The country’s biggest promoter, Live Nation Entertainment-owned Big Concerts, is threatening legal action against the South African Roadies Association (SARA) and its president Freddie Nyathela, over allegedly defamatory remarks posted about the company on social media.
Nyathela cites the impending visit to the country of the Global Citizen Festival, the UN-backed international series of benefit concerts, as what he sees as evidence of the company’s failure to nurture young – especially black – production technicians.
The event is is due to take place in Johannesburg on 2 December and feature Beyoncé and Jay-Z,
“We are going to hold Freddie Nyathela responsible for his disgraceful attempts to cause harm and extort undue financial benefits under the false pretences of racism, transformation and skills development,” says Big Concerts’ MD Justin Van Wyk
“We condemn in the strongest terms all forms of racism and we are proud of our association with the Gearhouse Kentse Mpahlwa Academy, which offers a free, full-time, in-house South African
Qualifications Authority accredited training programmes for Live Technical Production.
The long-running feud between Nyathela and the company dates back to the early 2000s, with the self-styled union leader claiming Big Concerts did not promote sufficient diversity among its production crews.
It is understood Big Concerts’ lawyers wrote to Nyathela in August accusing him and SARA of mounting an “extensive and malicious smear campaign against our clients … with the view to extorting some undisclosed benefit, probably of a selfish financial nature”.
Meanwhile, Nyathela continues to accuse Big Concerts of being a racist organisation and tells Audience that if the company had any case against him, it would follow through with the legal action.