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Tourism takes a back seat as KZN pulls out of hosting multi-million rand music awards

KZN MEC for Economic Development, Tourism & Environmental Affairs Siboniso Duma at Archie Gumede Conference Centre . Picture: Tumi Pakies/ Independent Newspapers

KZN MEC for Economic Development, Tourism & Environmental Affairs Siboniso Duma at Archie Gumede Conference Centre . Picture: Tumi Pakies/ Independent Newspapers

Published Oct 25, 2023

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KwaZulu-Natal Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs MEC Siboniso Duma announced that even though his department still wants to attract tourists and investment in the province of KZN, the department will no longer host the South African Music Awards (Samas) in 2023.

The awards are scheduled to take place on November 17 and 18 at the Durban ICC.

Duma made the announcement at a media briefing at the Archie Gumede Conference Centre in Durban on Wednesday, October 25.

Speaking at the media briefing, MEC Duma said that the department would’ve spent R20 million (excluding VAT) in hosting the event and projected that the province would’ve seen R 450M in tourism spend in the province.

However, it will now realign and allocate its resources towards other initiatives, such as S’thesha Waya Waya in the province.

“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,” said Duma.

Duma said that senior management has been mandated to engage with the Recording Industry of South Africa (RiSA) and report back to him as an executive authority, and the department will also report to the KZN Executive Council as the hosting of the SAMA Awards was a collective decision.

“The procurement process followed by the department to secure approval from Provincial Treasury for funding of the SAMA Awards was above board, transparent and free of any irregularities,” said Duma.

The MEC also highlighted that in the past, KZN has hosted national and international events successfully, with millions of rands generated into the provincial economy.

“Such events positioned the province as a destination for tourism and a haven for investment. To achieve all of this, the department invested resources to ensure the hosting of activities in line with national and international standards,” said Duma.

The department’s decision to pull out the province from hosting the Samas comes after ActionSA KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Chairperson Zwakele Mncwango wrote to President Cyril Ramaphosa requesting his immediate intervention to halt KZN EDTEA’s alleged R28m planned splurge on the event.

“While ActionSA supports the hosting of the Sama Awards in eThekwini for its tourism spin-offs, we are opposed to the exorbitant re-prioritisation of the provincial and municipal budget when there are more urgent needs the people of KwaZulu-Natal need addressed,” said Mcwango.