City’s Dirks in concert confusion

2010-01-05 00:00

THE highly successful Umphithi Jazz festival at Midmar Dam had an embarrassing start when a Howick-based policeman allegedly did not recognise Msunduzi Municipality’s Deputy Mayor Mervin Dirks and refused his entourage entry into the VIP section.

Msunduzi’s acting public safety head, Kenny Chetty, became involved in the confusion.

An eyewitness who saw Chetty arrive in his Mercedes Benz with a flashing blue light thought he was causing a scene because he was being refused entry by the police.

Chetty said yesterday that he was inside the concert venue when he received a call from one of the deputy mayor’s bodyguards informing him of the situation. He went to sort out the matter. Chetty said he had to call his counterpart in the Howick Municipality who vouched that the entourage was that of the deputy mayor, before Dirks was allowed to proceed to the VIP section.

The Umphithi Festival is run and largely sponsored by the Msunduzi Municipality, said Chetty, and it has never encountered such a problem before.

SAPS spokesman Senior Superintendent Henry Budhram confirmed the incident, saying there had been a misunderstanding between Chetty and a marshal. He said it was later established that the vehicle involved was part of the mayoral entourage and was let in.

Dirks could not be reached for comment at the time of going to print.

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