The 12th Metro FM Music Awards, also known as the MMAs, will be held at the Durban International Convention Centre on February 23.

The SABC radio station’s flagship awards ceremony has always been a travelling one, having been hosted in Joburg, Durban and Mpumalanga. But this year, people were surprised to learn that there would be no ceremony. The station will resume the affair that used to be held towards the end of the year at the top of 2013.

At a media breakfast hosted by Metro FM DJs and Durbanites, Sphe and Zeal, in Durban last week, Lesley Ntloko, the manager of SABC radio, said that “this time around, the station took a different strategy in implementing these awards. Twelve years is a long time to survive and continue to grow as we have seen the Metro FM Awards do. The awards have matured to become a key driver for the economy of a province.”

There were several jabs taken at Mbombela Stadium, which hosted the event for the past two years, and even a very serious (and uncomfortable to witness) rendition of The Greatest Love of All sung by KwaZulu-Natal council speaker Logie Naidoo. But ultimately, as Mike Mabuyakhulu (KZN’s MEC for Economic Development and Tourism) said: “We’ll use these awards to showcase the talents of our artists… and we’ve agreed to host these awards for three years with the possibility of making this thing permanent.”

When asked what the reason was for skipping the ceremony this year and what caused the delay in announcing the new location, Kaiser Kganyago, the SABC’s spokesman, said “there was no delay. We had a press conference in Joburg that mentioned the repositioning of the awards. We felt that to accommodate people who release at the end of the year, we would have to not really postpone, but shift the awards to February.”

Metro FM station manager Martin Vilakazi, said: “We wanted to give artists a chance. The rules have been amended to allow artists the opportunity to release [albums] until the end of December.”

This means albums released from March to December will be eligible for the awards. The nominees will be announced on January 17.