The DA-City of Cape Town has come in for sharp criticism for its sponsorship of a tribute concert with controversial Steve Hofmeyr on the line-up of performers.
The Theuns Jordaan concert is scheduled to take place at the DHL Stadium on January 6 with a host of artists expected to perform to an audience of 20 000.
However, there has been outrage due to Hofmeyr’s name being on the line-up for the Cape Town show, and a lack of inclusivity for diverse audiences.
The show comes weeks after a similar production held at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria, in tribute to Jordaan who died at age 50 in 2021 after a short battle with cancer.
Alongside Hofmeyr, the line-up includes Juanita du Plessis, Kurt Darren, Ray Dylan, Dozi, Bobby van Jaarsveld, Karlien van Jaarsveld, Ricus Nel, Jay du Plessis, Bok van Blerk, Danny Smoke, Liezel Pieters, Lianie May and Jacques du Plessis.
Earlier this year, Hofmeyr agreed to pay a R100 000 fine over comments he made about the LGBTQIA+ community in April last year.
He was hauled to the Equality Court for social media posts in which he said to his followers that the LGBTQIA+ acronym includes those who engage in bestiality, and that the LGBTQIA+ community supports the “grooming” of children.
Sibonelo Ncanana, human rights co-ordinator for OUT LGBT Wellbeing – the LGBTQ organisation to which Hofmeyr apologised and paid the fine, said it noted “with concern” that the City had endorsed the event.
“It is concerning the stance that the City is taking. We could even add more things such as the treatment of trans people and the treatment they receive from the City. It is concerning that the City has decided to support this concert,: said Ncanana.
Triangle Project spokesperson Ling Sheperd said: “The City isn't exactly the barometer for empathy. We have seen this consistently with how they treat vulnerable communities like the homeless. You would think that a City that brands itself in a very glossy and slick way would have people in its organising teams that stand up and say, 'Hey let's maybe spotlight local, queer artists' for inclusion instead of someone who just recently made derogatory remarks.’ (I am) again not surprised they did no due diligence in looking at this line-up."
Probed about its alignment with the event and how much the event would cost taxpayers, the City said: "The City, through its events support process, will be providing municipal services and venue rental. While the City is a sponsor in these events, it cannot dictate to event organisers who to invite to participate or perform at their events."
De Villiers Events spokesperson Wynand de Villiers said all the artists at the tribute event were close friends of Jordaan during his career, and the ensemble was put together by Jordaan’s friend, Jacques du Plessis, who toured with him as band member for 14 years.
Du Plessis selected and approached artists who he believed played a significant role in Jordaan’s life, and who were his closest friends.
"Due to the nature of this event we do not want to stand in Hofmeyr or any other artist’s way to pay tribute to their long-standing and close friend.
The organisers do not want to see this special occasion used for political gain, or to further any other aspirations –neither that of the artists nor any other organisation," De Villiers said.
However, National Coloured Congress (NCC) president Fadiel Adams said the City was “at risk of turning into the Cape Colony under the leadership of Geordin Hill-Lewis”, vocalising his contempt for the inclusion of Hofmeyr in the line-up.
“I can't be the only one who takes offence at the sight of my City's logo being attached to the face of an unashamed right winger who has infamously offered to sponsor the K-word into the Afrikaans dictionary.
“Hofmeyer has been banned from appearing on any Multichoice programme, and has been banned from performing at any Sun International venue because of his backward views and utterances. Yet, the DA-run City of Cape Town is using the tax monies of the same poor people Hofmeyer thinks little of, to sponsor his concert.
“This is your DA, and it has a talent for turning problems into crises. When NCC councillor Nadia Satarien seeks information into the spending of tax monies on nostalgic right-wing events, the mayor’s administration refuses to comply with the law and supply it,” said Adams.
ANC Western Cape spokesperson Khalid Sayed said that allowing Hofmeyr to be part of the line-up indicated the DA’s “support to right-wing Afrikaner racists”.
“The City represents citizens of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds. However, this yet again indicates that the City of Cape Town is not serious about addressing racism. They are not serious about addressing the racial divide in the city.
“We call on the City to engage with organisers to withdraw Hofmeyr from the line-up so the event can go ahead. Taxpayers’ money is being wasted. It is completely unacceptable. This is a slap in the face of any attempts to build social cohesion,” said Sayed.
Stop City of Cape Town founder Sandra Dickson said: “Stop CoCT and its members cannot support the City spending ratepayers’ money in this way, as this sponsorship will further divide. It will result in even more conflict among already divided Capetonians.”