Metro under fire for R1.4m spent on Mayor’s Cup event

GOING FOR A SONG: Zintle Kwaaiman performs at the Mayoral Cup in East London Picture: MICHAEL PINYANA
GOING FOR A SONG: Zintle Kwaaiman performs at the Mayoral Cup in East London Picture: MICHAEL PINYANA
Opposition parties have lambasted the Buffalo City Metro for spending close to R1.4-million for young people to dance at the recent Mayor’s Cup event hosted by the city.

To make matters worse, the metro did not follow proper supply chain processes when it hired Tulas Mbuyazwe, son of BCM’s human resources manager Sizwe Mbuyazwe, to organise the concert.

And even worse, some of those who performed, claim they haven’t been paid a cent yet.

The event included sports and a concert. Those who participated are to represent BCM at the South African Local Government Association (Salga) Games.

Young people from all over the metro attended the event where hip-hop artists AKA and Anatii performed.

But the huge amount spent in the name of youths who died on June 16 1976, did not follow proper supply chain processes – the municipality made a deviation.

In a report tabled before council last week, city manager Andile Sihlahla urged the council to note the approved deviation for the procurement of national and local artists to perform at the event.

The deviation was signed off on June 9 by Sihlahla after executive support service department head Ncumisa Sidukwana said it was “impractical” to book performing artists through the tendering systems as artists were chosen based on their performance and popularity “which is intangible”.

In her motivation for the deviation, Sidukwana said it was “impossible” to compare prices with the purpose of choosing the lowest quote as artists were different and had unique music.

“Even artists in the same genre do not charge the same amount of money as it depends on their popularity.

“It is important to be specific in terms of the artist that one requires. For an example, there is only one Zahara ... artists charge different prices for their performances as it depends on whether it is live performance or back-up performance and this makes it difficult to compare prices,” Sidukwana said while applying for the deviation.

The DA said the report did not give a breakdown of how much was spent on what items.

DA councillor Geoff Walton said it was in the public’s interest to know how much the artists were paid.

“We wanted a breakdown of how the money was spent, but in the report there was no breakdown.

“We are not sure if the whole event cost R1.4-million or if that was only used to pay the artists. Right now, we don’t know how much these artists were paid and the city manager failed to answer that question,” Walton said.

COPE councillor Nonceba Madikane said: “The amount they spent on the entertainment was unnecessary.

“That money could have been spent on other things, including the fight against poverty.”

EFF’s caucus leader councillor Chumani Matiwane said the party had a problem with the amount spent on the artists.

“The reasoning used for the amount paid and the deviation from supply chain processes is not sound.

“Our problem is that the auditor-general has in his audit report expressed concern about the abuse of deviations in BCM. They can’t be used to justify poor planning.

“The metro should have a budget for each event and there should be a limit of how much BCM is willing to spend on paying artists.

“In such events, our local artists – the ones from BCM– should be prioritised and not these national artists.”

No response was received from BCM spokesman Samkelo Ngwenya by the time of writing yesterday to questions sent by the Dispatch.

While hundreds of thousands were spend on national artists, some struggling local artists who performed at the event, said they were not paid.

Popular local artists who performed included house DJ Blomzit Avenue, Zintle Kwaaiman and Natz Efx.

DJ Blomzit Avenue said he was not paid for his performance.

“I was paid zero rands. I performed at the event but up until this day, I have never been paid.”

He said the organiser of the concert, Tulas Mbuyazwe, was “not answering calls and messages”.

Natz Efx, real name Tamsanqa Mbenenge, also said he was not paid. “That’s the sad thing about us local artists – we’re not prioritised and respected.

“I sent my banking details and waited. Then I called and sent messages. Neither the phone calls nor messages were answered,” said Mbenenge.

Responding to allegations that he did not pay artists, Mbuyazwe said: “That is nonsense. They were paid, everyone was paid. There is no such thing.” —

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