News that convicted rapist and Kwaito star Sipho "Brickz" Ndlovu will be performing at the launch of a music awards ceremony caused a stir. File picture: ANA

Johannesburg - News that convicted rapist and Kwaito star Sipho "Brickz" Ndlovu will be performing at the launch of a music awards ceremony caused a stir on social media on Friday, with views divided over whether organisers were disrespecting women or whether the artist had a right to earn an honest living.

The 3rd annual Mzansi Kwaito and House Music Awards will be officially launched with the nominations announced at the Soweto Theatre on Friday night, while the actual awards ceremony will be held in November at the Sun Carnival City In Brakpan, east of Johannesburg.

The "Sweetie My Baby" hitmaker was found guilty but later granted R80 000 bail, for raping his then 15-year-old orphaned niece at his home in Ruimsig, west of Johannesburg, in 2013. Ndlovu still pleads innocence and is appealing his 15-year jail sentence.

Speaking to eNCA earlier on Friday, founder and chief executive of the awards, Perfecta Khumalo, said Ndlovu would perform for free at the event because he owes her organisation money after he was paid in 2016 but could not fulfil his obligations as he was in prison at the time.

"We have decided, we have had a long relationship with Brickz, this is our third annual event, and he was supposed to perform for us in 2016, and we've paid him. And therefore he owes us. We requested him to perform for free in this nominations party," Khumalo said on eNCA.

"Kwaito fans love Brickz. We didn't go to prison and say we request Brickz to come and perform. Brickz has been out. If there is any problem, I think the State should be the one that is questioned because in his bail restrictions, he was never told to do his duties. It's payback time, he needs to pay us what he owes us."  

Event organiser Thulani Mabaso's phone rang unanswered and he ignored text messages sent to him. Ndlovu was also not available for comment. 

Twitter users were up in arms over the interview given by the awards chief executive, but others sympathised with Ndlovu.

Solokuhle Nyathi said: "This woman says the reason why Brickz is going to perform tonight is because he owes them a performance from 2016 that he was paid for but didn't deliver on. It's about money, not integrity."

Thulani Mbhele said: "Convicted and rehabilitated inmate cannot be discriminated for sins he has been punished for, after all, correctional department, one of it's objective is to bring back a convicted as a new creature."

African News Agency (ANA)