MSUNDUZI Municipality is contemplating a R1,1 million sponsorship for Ukhozi FM to stage its annual festive music concert in the city. This is barely a week after giving R90 000 towards the Big Fish gospel concert that takes place at Woodburn Stadium tomorrow. There was a discordant note at yesterday’s executive committee (Exco) meeting with the DA crying foul in the name of service delivery and totally objecting to the sponsorship. The ANC, supported by the NFP, felt that not necessarily R1,1 million, but some funding should go the concert’s way. The ANC’s Thulani Xulu said that, like the gospel concert, the annual “Ukhozi Nyus’ivolume” (turn up the volume) festival was worthy of support because, like the Big Fish event, it was music with a social message. The DA’s Mergan Chetty said the municipality could not be supporting concerts when it tells people that there is no money to fix certain problems. “This money should go to service delivery — cutting the grass, fixing potholes, non-functioning streetlights. This is what the electorate want, not spending R1,1 million for a one-day fanfare and squandering ratepayers’ money. We should be asking them how they want their money spent,” he said. Bill Lambert (DA) said it was not right for the municipality to spend money in this way when its finances were just coming right. He said a municipality that had been placed under administration was described as being in the ICU. “Spending this kind of money on a music festival will send us straight back into the ICU.” Deputy Mayor Thobani Zuma, who was presiding over the meeting, said the municipality had stabilised and was currently competing with other municipalities; like the others, it needed to showcase itself as a capital city. Xulu said eight municipalities in KZN had supported the festival, an annual event, and “why not Msunduzi this time around?” “If you were part of the mayor’s imbizos,” he told Chetty and Lambert, “you will see that people are happy and they have confidence in the city. We need to do this for them … there won’t be less than 10 000 people at the event,” he said. Acting municipal manager Thokozani Maseko said the municipality’s vision was of a city that works and plays. Lambert replied: “But when you play and pay this sort of money, you are playing with fire. We don’t have enough money to pay R1,1 million on one event, just to make Jack not a dull boy.” Municipal official Skhumbuzo Mpanza said the officials had recommended that up to R1 151 400 be considered for the music festival, subject to marketing manager Brian Zuma negotiating a reduced budget. Zuma must also look for outside sponsorship. Eunice Majola (ANC), with the backing of the NFP’s Ntokozo Bhengu, supported this recommendation, which was adopted. The DA objected to any funding being given. Zuma will report back at next week’s Exco where a final decision will be made on how much will be donated to the Ukhozi music festival. ‘event teaches youth responsibility’ ACCORDING to the Ukhozi FM website, the Nyus’ivolume Festival is an initiative started a number of years ago. It is described as a campaign that seeks to utilise the euphoria of the festive season to urge the youth to exercise personal responsibility while they entertain themselves. Msunduzi marketing manager Brian Zuma said Ukhozi FM will broadcast live from the city for two days, spreading the message of youth responsibility, prior to the festival. “During the festival, social services will be available for residents with departments setting up tents around the arena. Small and micro businesses will also have an opportunity to set up their stalls to do business”.