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EThekwini Municipality to contribute R1.3m towards flood relief fundraising concert

File Picture: Homes in Georgdale, Hammarsdale under water after last weekend’s rain.Picture: Doctor Ngcobo African News Agency (ANA)

File Picture: Homes in Georgdale, Hammarsdale under water after last weekend’s rain.Picture: Doctor Ngcobo African News Agency (ANA)

Published May 27, 2022

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DURBAN: THE eThekwini Municipality has approved the hosting of a benefit concert to raise funds for communities devastated by the recent floods.

Head of the economic development cluster in eThekwini, Phillip Sithole, said they had been engaging with the National Arts Council which wanted to host the concert in the city.

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The concert, the council hoped, would also lift the spirits of the city’s residents, many of whom had lost loved ones and homes.

The concert will be held at the Moses Mabhida Stadium next month.

It had been billed as a national fund-raising concert for the victims of the KwaZulu-Natal floods. It would include local and international artists and aimed to raise R10 million. The money raised would be given to the city for distribution as per internal processes, said the report on the matter.

It said the concert could attract 10 000 people and create 55 jobs.

The council will contribute about R1.3m towards the hosting of the concert by funding the venue.

It is among a number of events that are going to be hosted by the city at a total cost of R8m to the municipality.

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“The council said it had members in the province that are in the arts community and it would like to host the benefit concert. The only assistance it needs from the council will be the venue and it would carry the rest of the cost,” Sithole said.

He said Moses Mabhida had projected that it would cost about R1.3m to host the concert there.

“This will be the direct deposit (from the city to Moses Mabhida). The council said the funds raised through the concert will be given to the city as it had already compiled a database of those affected by the floods.”

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The DA’s Nicole Graham objected to the expenditure, saying the municipality could not afford to spend money on items whose economic returns for the city were unproven.

“We cannot be spending R8m on concerts and parties; we do not have the money and we have to be considerate in what this says to the people who are living in halls; how will this help them?” asked Graham.

“We should be spending money on events like the Durban July, we know the economic value of these events.

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“There is no proof that these concerts will have benefits,” she said.

She said the DA agreed to support only hosting the Ironman 70.3 in October 2022 and the direct costs related to the Durban July.

Graham said other events the DA had voted against included:

  • R1.37 million for the Flood Benefit Concert
  • R900 000 for Fact Durban Rocks’ R600 000 for the South African Music Conference and the Mother of all Parties
  • R650 000 for Any Given Sunday R400 000 for Ekasi Durban July Stakeholder Hosting
  • R1.8 million for extra events around the Durban July

ANC councillor Thanduxolo Sabelo said such events were important as they brought in tourists. He said the city had done its investigation to get a sense of the benefit that would be derived from hosting such events.

EFF councillor Thabane Miya said most of the support sought by the organisers of the event was in kind, that is, support with a venue, and these events should be supported as they could create a number of needed jobs.

“Hosting such a concert,” said IFP councillor Mdu Nkosi, “will bring hope to the people of the city who have been through quite an ordeal; we also need to consider that they could create jobs”.

Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda said the city had a lot of jobs that were built around the tourism industry and it should protect them.

City spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela said money for repairs for flood damage would come from the capital budget, while the events would be funded from the operating budget.

“It has nothing to do with being insensitive to the members of the public. The political leadership is carrying a huge responsibility of ensuring that the city continues to account for a lion’s share of the country’s domestic tourism.

“With these proposed events, people are expected to come to have fun in the city. It should be noted that events of this magnitude were last hosted before hard lockdown. As a result there is a high probability that they will be supported overwhelmingly by the public. It is guaranteed that the city will reap the benefits of fully booked hotels, restaurants, together with monies spent at our shopping malls, shops and the other attractions,” said Mayisela.

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eThekwini municipality

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