Red faces over hall mix-up

2012-02-04 00:00

SENIOR citizens planning a fundraising dance have been left red-faced and out of pocket because of a double-booking blunder at the Msunduzi Municipality.

Having suffered one blow, they were dealt another this week when the municipality failed to meet an undertaking that it would pay for media adverts apologising to ticket holders and announcing a new date for the dance.

New Horizon Senior Citizens Club had booked and paid for the Truro Hall in July last year, to hold their annual fundraising dance today.

However, about two weeks ago two members spotted a poster advertising a hospice function at the same venue on the same date. They thought they had the date wrong for their own function, but when they checked it was definitely not their memories that had let them down.

Club chair Dassie Naidoo and his dance organisers as well as organisers of the hospice event met senior municipal official Mandla Zuma when the blunder was discovered.

Mervyn Govender, who was at the meeting, said New Horizon agreed to postpone their function, but only if the municipality paid for adverts announcing the postponement, refunded ticket holders who were not prepared to attend at a later date and assisted with certain other costs.

Govender said the decorator and the band had already been paid, but were unavailable for the new date. This would mean that the cash-strapped senior citizens would have to get money to pay a new band and find somebody else to do the decor.

Govender said in their last conversation with Mandla Zuma he said he had done all the paperwork and it had been handed to the municipal manager to sign. He said he would get back to them but had not done so by yesterday morning. Eventually they had to arrange to make their own announcement about the postponement. Contacted by Weekend Witness, municipal spokesperson Brian Zuma apologised profusely.

He said it was a “gross human error and we will ensure that it does not happen again”.

The spokesperson said an official had forgotten to enter the details of the booking made by the New Horizon Senior Citizens Club. As a result, the organisers of the hospice event were allocated the same date.

He added that Mandla Zuma offered the use of the city hall to the senior citizens, but this was turned down, and that he had also written a report on the matter to senior management for a decision.

Govender said as far as he is aware they were never offered the city hall, but agreed that they would not have been able to take up the offer because most of the senior citizens preferred the Truro because of access and parking close by.

Naidoo, the club chairman, apologised to the public for the inconvenience. Instead of being held today, the dance will be on Saturday, February 18, at the Truro Hall. Naidoo said any person holding a ticket and wanting a refund could contact him at 072 150 3408.

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