City’s festive funding

2014-11-21 00:00

THE Msunduzi Council has agreed to spend R1 million over the festive season to sponsor a music concert and a major radio station’s anti-drugs campaign.

Ukhozi FM’s summer radio campaign will run from tomorrow until ­December 20, while the gospel concert will be held on November 28.

While sponsorship for both events was opposed by the DA last year, there was a more subdued response this year, with party caucus leader Bill Lambert giving his full support to the gospel ­concert organised by music promotion company Big Fish.

The DA, however, expressed discomfort at council money going to Ukhozi FM, which has over six million listeners.

Councillor Judith Lawrence felt that a radio station with such a large listenership must be wealthy, generating plenty of income from advertising.

Mayor Chris Ndlela said he was not sure about Ukhozi FM’s wealth since it was not a profit-making private company but a public broadcaster.

In the end, Exco agreed to give Ukhozi FM R925 000 for its summer social awareness campaign, which has been running for the past six years.

The main theme this year will be on drug abuse. While the radio station will be operating from its studios, the campaign will involve going out to communities in the city. The mayor and councillors are also assured of slots on the show.

National Freedom Party Exco member Ntokozo Bhengu said he supported the sponsorship, provided it was used as a platform to also encourage people to come forward and pay for their municipal services.

Big Fish, which will be holding its ­concert in the city hall this year, will receive R90 000 towards the cost of sound systems and the stage.

Lambert recalled his previous ­opposition to the sponsorship. Last year, the DA queried why the profit-making company, which had a huge budget to hire artists, needed money from the ­municipality.

However, Lambert said he changed his mind this year when he saw the purpose of the gospel concert and prayer meeting. These were listed as:

• To commemorate World Aids Day.

• To pray for a peaceful festive season, and particularly for a decrease in road ­accidents.

• A closing prayer for the 20 years of democracy celebration.

• Prayers against social ills.

• And the commemoration of 16 days of activism against women and child abuse.

Lambert said every one of these issues deeply affected the citizens of SA, and KZN needed prayers especially to prevent the carnage on its roads.

“This province is fraught with accidents,” he said.

Ndlela thanked Lambert for his positive response, while councillor Jabu Ngubo praised him for thinking of the benefits to the city and its people.

• nalini@witness.co.za

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