eThekwini mulls funding of music festival despite dry taps

Durban City Hall. Picture: Khaya Ngwenya/Independent Newspapers

Durban City Hall. Picture: Khaya Ngwenya/Independent Newspapers

Published Jun 21, 2024


Durban — The eThekwini Municipality is looking at spending R2 million on the Ingoma Ka Zwelonke musical event, whilst battling to find sufficient money for water services in the city.

The item to partner and sponsor the Ingoma Ka Zwelonke was tabled at an eThekwini Executive Committee Exco, on Tuesday (11 June), by the Community and Emergency Services Cluster - CESC. But it was withdrawn from the agenda for further investigation, said IFP Exco head Mdu Nkosi.

“This event is important for tourism, however, it came at a time when people do not have roofs over their heads in oThongathi and we have shortfalls in budgets for other departments. This committee deals with these types of events and has its own budget,” Nkosi said.

The CESC committee, in its report, stated that the Ingoma Ka Zwelonke was a cultural musical event that had been hosted and supported by the city over past two years, and attracted people from outside the province. The event served as a platform to resuscitate and develop indigenous music and traditional dance sector.

The committee added that supporting this event would also ensure that arts organisations continued to innovate and evolve to sustain excellence in their work and make a wider contribution to the nation's wellbeing and prosperity.

According to the committee’s report the eThekwini Municipality would yield benefits such as branding rights on all activities and advertising for the event; media rights (radio - advertisement space and interviews); stakeholders’ hospitality rights, and artists under the Arts and Culture Development programme to perform during the event.

The committee also sought authority to be granted for Deputy City Manager: CESC, to incur expenditure of R2 million towards sponsorship of venue hire, infrastructure, and security for Ingoma Ka Zwelonke Event, provided for in the 2023-2024 financial year.

It also sought to negotiate benefits and rights to leverage destination and profile Durban with the event organiser and conclude contracts with title event owners (Nothako Trading Enterprise) against the partnership's investment; sponsorship towards venue hire (People's Park), infrastructure, technical and security.

Democratic Alliance Exco head Thabani Mthethwa, said: “Indeed. Even though it comes from a different cluster, for ratepayers it would not sit well.”

Last week on Tuesday, on eNCA, the eThekwini Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) revealed that R1.2 billion would be required to fund the Southern Aqueduct pipeline, and repairs would take two years.

Deputy Head of DWS, Jabulani Mayise, told eNCA: “The city has quite a wide infrastructure and we can’t complete it all at once due to funding. We recently completed the Western Aqueduct in 2018 - which cost us R1 billion. We have recently completed the Northern Aqueduct.”

Mayise said that in 2023, the city took a decision to introduce an infrastructure levy tariff that would be used to repair ageing infrastructure.

Westville Ratepayers Association chairperson, Asad Gaffar, criticised the municipality’s willingness to spend money on a musical festival whilst residents lacked crucial services.

“We have been calling this out for a while. Funding all these music events, parties, and fashion shows are unnecessary as that money could be put to good use. We can’t carry on like this,” Gaffar said.

Meanwhile, eThekwini spokesperson, Gugu Sisilana, provided a breakdown on work done regarding the Southern Aqueduct pipeline.

Sisilana said the construction programme for the construction of the new aqueduct is as per the following timelines:

  1. Site Establishment - 4 weeks, completed on April 30, 2024.
  2. Procurement, manufacturing, coating, lining and supply of steel pipes - 8 to 12 weeks, estimated delivery date early July 2024.
  3. Proving of services for first sections of WP1 and WP2 within the road reserves, completed.

She said the programme for the temporary repairs of the existing concrete pipe was as follows:

  1. Visual condition assessment of the existing concrete pipe to confirm the location of known leaks completed.
  2. Procurement of a specialist subcontractor, isolation of the pipeline and repairs to known leaks at the joints, estimated completion by end July 2024.
  3. Assessment and replacement of the air valves and scour valves damaged over the last 8 years when the pipe was decommissioned, estimated to be completed by end August 2024.
  4. Recommissioning of the existing pipeline by end August 2024.

The temporary recommissioning of the existing concrete pipe was expected to be completed within 6 months of commencement, Sisilana said.

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