Babes Wodumo and her manager, Mampintsha. File picture: Zanele Zulu/ANA Pictures

Durban - Members of the eThekwini executive committee (Exco) on Tuesday defended the city’s decision to throw a send-off event for Gqom sensation Babes Wodumo, although the singer missed her trip to the BET Awards in Los Angeles.

Two weeks ago, the city hosted a send-off breakfast for Babes, whose real name is Bongekile Simelane, and fellow Durbanite, Nasty C, real name Nsikayezwe David jr Ngcobo.

Both had been nominated for the BET Awards held on Sunday. Babes missed the trip because of bungling by her management team, which failed to secure her a visa. Her manager, Mampintsha, later took responsibility for the bungle and apologised.

On Tuesday, at the eThekwini executive council meeting, DA councillor Zwakele Mncwango introduced a debate on whether the city’s expenditure on the event constituted wasteful and fruitless expenditure.

Mncwango asked whether the event did not amount to wasteful expenditure because her failure to go on the trip meant she had not been an ambassador abroad for the city, as initially envisaged.

“We spent money hoping that she would go to Los Angeles. The rationale was that the artist was going to market the city abroad, but that did not happen,” Mncwango said.

ANC councillor Barbara Fortein said that despite the artist not making the trip, her nomination for the BET awards still stood and would “go down in history”.

City manager Sipho Nzuza said the expenditure was not fruitless as the city’s motivation for hosting the event had been positive.

Deputy mayor Fawzia Peer said both artists were ambassadors for the city.

The sum spent on the event has not been disclosed.

The Mercury