Angry revellers attending a music concert in Mthatha on Saturday night took their frustration out on the event equipment, causing thousands of rands worth of damage when none of the headlined acts showed up.
Tickets to the 3rd annual Camouflage Camo Night, which cost up to R550, had promised a lineup of popular music acts such as Babes Wodumo, Distruction Boys, Nasty C and Riky Rick. They were all “no-shows”.
Flamboyant South African Idols judge and choreographer Somizi Mhlongo, scheduled as the host, was one of the few listed who made it, but he only made an appearance close to midnight.
Some hours after this, as none of the main acts had arrived, fans lost their patience and went on the rampage, trashing equipment, including speakers and lights, as well as fencing.
While concert-goers blamed event organiser Isiphile Benya of L.I.E entertainment for the empty promises Benya, who the Daily Dispatch was unable to make contact with by the time of writing, issued a statement saying he had been let down by a charter company meant to fly the musicians to Mthatha.
In the statement issued yesterday morning Benya said all the national artists were scheduled to make it to the event using private charters to Mthatha airport because December 16 was a very busy date. He said upon the charter company, Elite Jet, confirming that it would be able to fly the artists to the airport they went ahead and booked both the artists and the charter company.
He said they had only been notified by the charter company at midday on Saturday that it would not be able to land in Mthatha.
Elite Jet’s Greg Ermes said everything was arranged and Benya had done all the planning he needed to but that they had to abide by the South African Civil Aviation Authority’s (SACAA) law.
“We received a notification from SACAA that the Mthatha Airport’s landing lights were not working and that is a safety issue so for everyone’s safety we could not land. It is not my doing or Isiphile’s fault – it is just the law. I gave them an alternative route, East London, but that was apparently going to be too far,” said Ermes.
Said Benya: “We tried re-calculating using the East London route that they said they could do, but we saw it wouldn’t work as artists would arrive in Mthatha after 7am. We called every charter company we could with the help of Riky’s manager to make sure the artists make it and exhausted every alternative we could. But charters were fully booked at this stage,” he said.
Reveller Thandiwe Lavisa said she only attended the show because she wanted to see Distruction Boys and was disappointed that she could not enjoy the live music she had paid to hear.
Another partygoer Nathi Mamba said she did not blame those who trashed the stage because “we literally paid to listen to discs, what a rip-off!” — firstname.lastname@example.org