ANC AND DA ARGUE OVER RATEPAYERS’ MONEY BEING SPENT ON MUSIC FESTIVAL
The Ndlambe festive season music festival, organised by the department of sport, recreation, arts and culture (Dsrac) will go ahead and the municipality will be contributing R200,000 of ratepayers’ money towards the festival despite the proposal being opposed by ratepayers.
In a letter to mayor Phindile Faxi before the meeting, Ndlambe Ratepayers’ Forum (NRF) chair Chris Bezuidenhout wrote that the organisation was not in favour of the concert. After explaining that ratepayers should not be expected to fund the event, his letter concluded: “Considering the limited capital budget, demands for road maintenance, waste management, etc, the Ndlambe Ratepayers’ Forum strongly objects to any funds being made available to support the music festival”.
In 2017, the council supported the Dsrac initiative to hold a talent search and a concert in the area.
At the time, Dsrac committed to holding the event, and council gave the okay provided it would not cost Ndlambe anything. The council then revoked an amount of R365,000 that had been budgeted for the concert. Then, at the last council meeting of 2017, Dsrac pleaded that the funds originally been set aside be paid as the event had cost more than anticipated and that these funds were now required.
This request split the council, with ANC members, having already caucused, voting to allow the money to be donated to Dsrac and DA members vehemently contesting any amount be paid.
Former Ndlambe mayor Sipho Tandani, who at that time of 2017’s council decision was an audit committee member, raised a red flag in that, according to the Auditor-General’s recommendations, the festival was not sustainable and would therefore be regarded as wasteful and fruitless expenditure.
However, as the majority in council, the ANC won the day and the money was allocated.
This time around, Dsrac had asked for R450,000 to enable them to put on the one-evening concert. Again, it was clear that the ANC council members were determined to help fund the event despite ward 10 councillor Ray Schenk telling council that there was no sustainable benefit arising from the event and that Dsrac had never fully accounted for the money they received from Ndlambe Municipality in 2017.
“Dsrac want this concert, so they should pay,” Schenk told the council, adding that rates income should be used to enhance and improve service delivery, not on concerts that had no discernible benefits.
“There has to be some benefit, not just a jive.”
Ward 8 councillor Thembani Mazana said that an impression that the concert would happen again this year had already been shared with residents and that they wanted the concert to proceed.
He said the concert was a way of putting Ndlambe on the map and it brought in revenue to the town.
Schenk conceded that, with the ANC in the majority at council, the motion to pay Dsrac would be granted, but asked that it should be a free concert as ratepayers could not be expected to fund the concert and then pay to enjoy it. Mazana said that the money from ticket sales could be recovered and given to charities, but did not say what the charities were.
DA councillor Khanyisa Daweti was against donating any money to Dsrac.
“We cannot give hundreds of thousands of rand to Dsrac for a single night’s concert when that money could support the youth of the area for the rest of their lives,” she said.
Ward 9 councillor Stwiga Njibana said that the concert was for the youth and that there were spin-offs to holding it. He then suggested that the amount to donate to Dsrac should be decreased to R200,000.
DA councillor Skura Venene said ticket sales should be handled by Ndlambe Local Economic Development (LED) but this raised the question as to whether the funds were a donation or if the municipality wanted to partner with Dsrac.
“If we want to take ticket sales then we need to partner Dsrac,” said municipal manager Rolly Dumezweni.
“If we place conditions on the money we give then we must be partners with Dsrac.”
A vote was taken and a sum of R200,000 will be donated to Dsrac for the event.
Rates income should be used to enhance and improve service delivery, not on concerts
RAINY DAY: The Bathurst Art Fair was a two-day event over last weekend and drew visitors from all over the area. Attending The Workshop gallery on Sunday, just as the rain began, were, from left, Gillian Rose, her father David Rose and Bronwyn Allan