Diwali: City decides to fund festival

2010-10-01 00:00

THE Diwali festival almost fell victim to the city’s austere cost-cutting measures. Last week’s Msunduzi Exco meeting turned down a request for funding from the Midlands Hindu Society for the festival.

ANC councillor Mergan Chetty, who has been keeping a watching brief on the matter, urged Exco to reconsider. His pleas were accepted and this week Exco voted to give a R25 000 sponsorship towards the festival.

Chetty pointed out that this is one of the largest festivals held in the Northern suburbs — an area that contributes a large portion of the city’s income.

With signs that the city’s financial situation is improving, surely there should be a gesture of goodwill to make some contribution.

He said this is more significant since the 150th anniversary of the arrival of Indians in South Africa is being commemorated this year. Mayor Mike Tarr thanked Chetty for his advice on the matter and said this was something the city had to do as the history of indentured labour had also played a role in shaping Pietermartzburg.

Exco recommended that the sponsorship towards the festival be recorded as the municipality’s official contribution towards the 150th commemoration of the 1860 settlers.

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