R5.5m for Metro festive concerts

A total of R5.5-million will be spent on entertaining thousands of Buffalo City Metro residents this month, with R3-million approved by the council this week for the procurement of national and local artists.

Although on Wednesday the council approved the R3-million deviation to artists to perform in the seven events to be held from December 8 to 21, ANC and EFF councillors expressed dissatisfaction over the deviation.

The EFF recorded its dissent and refused to consider and note the deviation.

The first event was the “switch on of the lights” which took place in King William’s Town (KWT) yesterday.

The other events to be covered by the R5.5-million budget included East London’s switching on of the lights event tomorrow at the Esplanade, the Christmas Carnival in King on December 15 and 16, the Christmas Carnival in Mdantsane on December 19 and 20 and the Christmas Carnival in East London on December 21.

EFF caucus leader Chumani Matiwane said the reasons stated in the deviation report were not satisfactory.

He said: “Section 36 of the Municipal Finance Management Act states that a supply chain management policy may allow the accounting officer (a deviation) for the acquisition of special works of art or historical objects where specifications are difficult to provide. Therefore the procurement of performing artists does not meet this requirement.

“Production companies must undergo normal tendering processes in order to guard against abuse of deviations to benefit families and friends of officials and politicians and for that reason the EFF is dissenting on this deviation.”

ANC Ward 35 councillor Siyabonga Skolo also criticised the deviation and said another procurement option needed to be adopted in future.

He said: “The caucus of the ANC appreciates this report being brought to the attention of this council. We said that we don’t want figures that are thumb-sucked, and not informed by a break-down of how the finances will be used.

“The report only indicates the venues – there is no break-down and to use this indicates that you have not engaged these scarce service providers, the musicians,” said Skolo.

ANC Ward 11 councillor Mashwabada Gcilishe agreed that in principle it was correct to discourage the deviation where it could be avoided.

“I’m standing to support this deviation with the concerns raised so that when we are standing here in the next year we are not confronted with the same situation,” Gcilishe said.

When the Daily Dispatch asked BCM which national and local artists would be paid the R3-million, BCM spokeswoman Bathandwa Diamond would only name the local artists performing at the KWT switch-on event yesterday.

She said: “For this year, the metro will procure 200 local artists to perform over the seven-day summer season programme. An estimated R1.5-million will be reserved for local artists and another R1.5-million for national artists with flights and accommodation.

“However, a list for performing artists in other events has not been finalised,” she said.

She said local artists would perform at the switch on of lights in KWT to officially kick-off the metro’s summer season yesterday.

“An amount of R1.3-million will go towards procurement for infrastructure that includes stage, sound and lighting, ablution facilities, kiddies’ entertainment and tents for the seven-day period as well as the fireworks.

An amount will also include marketing and outside broadcasting,” Diamond added. — mamelag@dispatch.co.za

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