Sit­hole: ‘DA was aware of Essence Fes­ti­val bud­get’

Daily News - - NEWS - MPHATHI NX­U­MALO

ETHEK­WINI Mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s tourism head Phillip Sit­hole said Dur­ban’s Essence Fes­ti­val was devel­op­men­tal and not profit-driven, un­like other pri­vate events held in Dur­ban. He said the DA was fully aware of the bud­get for the fes­ti­val and when it was ap­proved by coun­cil.

Sit­hole said some of the money cov­ered pro­grammes that had al­ready been ap­proved by coun­cil. These were placed un­der the Essence Fes­ti­val, as they had sim­i­lar themes. Some of these in­cluded busi­ness pro­mo­tion to in­ter­na­tional au­di­ences and in­ter-cul­tural ac­tiv­i­ties pro­mot­ing lo­cal artists and women em­pow­er­ment.

He added that they had a con­tract with Time Inc, which was also ap­proved by coun­cil and the con­tract cov­ered var­i­ous as­pects, such as sup­ply chain man­age­ment – and the DA was aware of this.

Sit­hole said he sus­pected the DA raised this is­sue be­cause the fes­ti­val could end up be­ing suc­cess­ful and be even big­ger than the Cape Town Jazz Fes­ti­val. He added that it should be noted that the fes­ti­val was held in Dur­ban for the first time last year, but still man­aged to at­tract more than 60 000 peo­ple and gen­er­ated more than R80 mil­lion for the city’s econ­omy.

Busi­ness ben­e­fit

“This was not to men­tion lo­cal artists who got ex­po­sure in New Or­leans last year. Lo­cal busi­nesses also ben­e­fited from the fes­ti­val, as deals were made through ex­po­sure at the fes­ti­val.

“This year we are also go­ing to save costs, as the mu­sic shows that form part of the fes­ti­val will not be held at Moses Mab­hida Sta­dium but at the Inkosi Al­bert Luthuli In­ter­na­tional Con­ven­tion Cen­tre,” he added.

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