Questions were raised whether this would not be another wasted expenditure similar to the recent Essence Festival which “fell flat”.
Despite some protests and questions by opposition parties, Exco resolved to grant authority for the city manager, Sipho Nzuza, to transfer R3 850 000 to Ukuvuselelwa KwamaAfrica Awareness, trading as African Renaissance.
This was the payment required in terms of the partnership agreement for the conference.
According to a report tabled at Exco on Tuesday the strategic objective of the partnership with Ukuvuselelwa KwamaAfrica would be to assist the city in addressing xenophobic attacks and to promote social cohesion. This partnership was also viewed as promoting continental trade, entrepreneurship, youth development and to promote Durban as an investment and tourism destination.
The amount would cover venue hire costs, marketing and promotional campaigns, hosting of the KZN Ebandla Investment Conference and further development and maintenance of the International Bursary Programme.
DA Exco councillor Heinz de Boer asked if this would not be another Essence Festival Durban where about R100m was spent, but the festival “fell flat”. The Essence Festival Durban was similar to the annual one in New Orleans where international music acts perform.
At the time, the DA had questioned why the festival seemed to focus on big American artists, and why the city paid huge licensing fees to host it.
Phillip Sithole, the deputy city manager, said the African Renaissance Conference would contribute to foreign direct investment.