Models at war

Left, Model boss Shashi Naidoo says she and her staff received death threats. Right, Male model Lindile Ntabeni claims he is owed R45000 in outstanding fees by Naidoo's firm
Left, Model boss Shashi Naidoo says she and her staff received death threats. Right, Male model Lindile Ntabeni claims he is owed R45 000 in outstanding fees by Naidoo’s firm

Harassment, death threat allegations fuel bitter feud

ALLEGATIONS of unpaid fees, blackmail, death threats, a case of harassment and a looming court battle have emerged in the bitter feud between modelling agency boss and former Port Elizabeth model Shashi Naidoo and male model Lindile Ntabeni.

Ntabeni, 42, of Johannesburg, claims Naidoo owes him approximately R45 000 for an advert he filmed five years ago while he was a member of Naidoo’s firm, Alushi Models. Naidoo, who has featured on FHM’s Sexiest Women in the World list, disputes this, claiming Ntabeni is “delusional” and has been paid every cent due to him.

The matter is set to go to the Port Elizabeth High Court, with Ntabeni claiming he has sent a letter of demand to Naidoo and Alushi Models. However, attempts to obtain this letter from Ntabeni have been unsuccessful.

But Naidoo said Ntabeni was essentially blackmailing her and had threatened her, and members of her staff and family, to such an extent that she had been forced to open a case of harassment against him.

“I am aware of the allegations. He is a bit mad. He shot this ad five years ago and we have paid him every single cent due to him.

“The problem is that he has changed his bank account about three times. He has even said that if I pay him R5 000 he will go away but we have kept all the records of payments made to him.”

Naidoo said Ntabeni had threatened to go to the media about his claims before.

“He makes these threats because I am a public person but I refuse to be blackmailed.

“But he keeps thumb-sucking the figure that is owed to him. If you are not owed any money then you are not owed any money. I am willing to spend R50 000 in court to prove this,” she said.

Naidoo said Ntabeni had arrived at the offices last year and had threatened members of her staff. “We have had to call the police and open a case of harassment.

“We have also increased security at our offices. He actually said he would send someone to have us killed. He is very delusional. Some of the staff were really scared.”

Alushi Models head booker Jeanine Jackson confirmed that she had been one of the staff members threatened by Ntabeni. She provided Weekend Post with Alushi’s payment history, which indicates that Ntabeni has been paid over R26 000 for the advert in question.

“He said he would send someone to kill us if he does not get his money. I have the e-mail from the ad agency and this proves that he has been paid. It is totally incorrect that he is still owed R45 000,” Jackson said.

She said Ntabeni had also made several loans from Naidoo.

Naidoo confirmed the personal loans to Ntabeni and said the firm had had to part ways with him after he stopped securing jobs.

“I have made so many advances to him but we cannot continue giving money away when nothing is coming in from his side because this is a business.

“I run a business that is super ethical and we have never had this kind of issue with another model. We actually pride ourselves and have a record of paying our models on time,” she said.

But Ntabeni, who was born and raised in Port Elizabeth, denied ever making death threats against any Alushi staff members.

“They are only doing this now to pretend that they are victims. I knew they would cook up a story,” he said.

Ntabeni said he had joined Alushi Models seven years ago. He said he had secured jobs at major clients for the firm, such as Avbob, Absa and Nestle. He said the arrangement with Alushi was that the firm would keep 25% of the money he had earned from the jobs he secured.

He said it was the Nestle job which he had shot for Bar-One in Johannesburg during 2010 which was the bone of contention.

“It was freezing cold in winter but we were meant to pretend it was summer. I was paid R4 000 and then I received holding fees of R1 000 for a period of two months.

“Shashi said that we would wait to see if they signed to screen the ad in the rest of Africa and then I would receive more money.”

Ntabeni said Naidoo had run the business well, but soon started hiring new bookers and work started to fizzle.

“I was not that concerned at the time because I wanted to go into acting. I concentrated on other projects,” he said.

But Ntabeni claimed that he soon discovered the advert had been renewed several times over the years and the agency was paid renewal fees on each occasion. “I believe it was renewed four times since 2010.”

Ntabeni said Naidoo had invited him to her house on several occasions to discuss the matter but he had refused.

“I could not stand to look at her after our fallout. I wanted nothing to do with her. Soon after this the news broke that she had been attacked at her house.

“I thought it was a good thing that I refused to go because she might have blamed me for the attack.”

He said he had asked the firm for proof of payment several times and had been sent to the bank on numerous occasions, but had still been left empty-handed.

He said to date he had received R6 000 after filming the advert and he then received another R10 000 in November 2013. “When I returned in March last year they gave me stories. Then I decided to go to the small claims court in August.”

He said he had gone to the court because he estimated that the outstanding amount was in the region of R15 000. He said he later obtained the Nestle contract and with the assistance of his current manager, it was calculated that he was owed about R65 000. He said last year he received an additional R6 000 but had not been paid anything since.

He said he had obtained the services of a lawyer who had drafted a letter of demand. “I feel that I have been robbed and I cannot let her get away with this. They have paid me this and that each time, hoping that I will be satisfied, but I will not stop until I get everything owed to me.”

He said he was aware that a case had been opened against him but was informed it had been dropped.

Johannesburg police spokeswoman Colonel Noxolo Kweza confirmed that a case of intimidation had been opened under the case number provided by Jackson from Alushi Models.

Kweza, however, declined to provide the name of the person the case had been opened against.

-Lee-Anne Butler

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