JUST IN: KwaZulu-Natal cancels the hosting of South African Music Awards after uproar over the money to be spent

MEC Siboniso Duma. Picture: Sihle Mavuso/IOL Politics

MEC Siboniso Duma. Picture: Sihle Mavuso/IOL Politics

Published Oct 25, 2023


The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA) said it decided to cancel the hosting of the South African Music Awards (Sama) in Durban next month.

The decision was announced by the department’s MEC, Siboniso Duma on Wednesday during a press conference in Durban.

Duma said the decision was taken after a wide consultation with several stakeholders.

He added that the now-canned awards presented an opportunity for artists who bore the brunt of Covid-19 to benefit from something.

“As an executive authority, having consulted widely with the executive council and other stakeholders I have advised the department to stop the hosting of the South African Music awards this year,” Duma said.

“Senior management has been mandated to engage with the Recording Industry of South Africa and report back to me as an executive authority,” he said.

“We will also report to the KZN Executive Council as the hosting of the Sama Awards was a collective decision.”

He also used the press conference to refute claims by ActionSA leader in KwaZulu-Natal, Zwakele Mncwango, that the department was planning to spend R28 million for the awards.

“Having said, for the record, we wish to reiterate the following points we have made consistently: The procurement process followed by the department to secure approval from the provincial treasury for funding of the Sama awards was above board, transparent and free of any irregularities,” he said.

“Unfortunately, in the process of ensuring transparency, official and public available documents have been weaponised against the department to scandalise this national event with a global following; the R28 million and other figures being thrown around, are part of a  campaign of disinformation,” Duma said.

“This is aimed at sowing confusion.”

According to Duma, the actual figure was around R20 million.

“The actual amount of money that has been confirmed by Treasury and EDTEA  is around R20 million before VAT.

— Sihle Mavuso (@ZANewsFlash) October 25, 2023

"This amount of money is based on our last consultation, as we have repeatedly stated that we have ongoing consultation,” Duma said.

On Tuesday, presidential spokesperson Vincent Magwenya said President Cyril Ramaphosa had advised Duma against going ahead with hosting the awards.

Mncwango welcomed the decision and insisted that R28 million was to be spent on what they called a “vanity splurge”.

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