Brenda Fassie was one of South Africa's most popular recording artists. File photo: Lefty Shivambu
Brenda Fassie's estate has rubbished claims by Chicco Twala that he owns the rights to the iconic singer's music and is in a position to stop the release of a planned biopic.

The claims were made by Twala after UK-based production company Showbizbee, in partnership with local artist management company Legaci Nova Entertainment, announced, last week, that a movie based on the life of the late queen of African pop queen is set to be shot in Joburg and Cape Town.

Last week Twala's lawyers reportedly sent a letter to Legaci Nova stating that an agreement existed between Fassie Records, Chicco Twala and Fassie's estate.

“In terms of the said agreements, Twala was granted commercial exploitation rights on the feature film of Brenda Fassie. Twala respectively holds 90% of Fassie records and [has an] 82% shareholding in Estate Late Brenda Fassie, with Bongani Fassie and Estate Late Brenda Fassie holding 10% and 18%, respectively,” reads the letter.

The Fassie estate has refuted claims both claims, saying that Fassie Records is owned 100 percent by Bongani Fassie, who is also the sole heir of the estate of the late Brenda Fassie.

Twala has reportedly instructed his publisher not to grant the movie’s production partners - Bongani Fassie, Legaci Nova Entertainment or Showbizbee – permission to use any of the songs he wrote and produced for Fassie.

While Twala reportedly claims to own the rights to all Fassie's music, the estate says that while he did in fact co-write and produce some of her songs, it is nowhere near the 75% which he claims. According to the estate Twala is entitled to a 5-6% share of of the master of all songs he produced and as a songwriter his share is 50% of all songs he co-wrote. The estate says Twala co-wrote about 30% of all Fassie’s music.

The estate also says claims that Twala "constantly" gave Fassie's son Bongani sums of money are untrue. According to them the only cash received from Twala was money that Bongani was entitled to.

Twala also claimed that he had exclusvie rights to The Brenda Fassie Movie, but the estate says he was granted a non-exclusive option which expired in 2011. Showbizbee now owns the rights and will release the movie in 2018.