Mayor orders cost review for Diwali bash

2013-10-07 00:00

AN amount of just over R26 000 in services to Pietermaritzburg’s annual Diwali bash appeared to be too small a contribution from the municipality and Mayor Chris Ndlela has asked officials to review the accuracy of the costing.

The Midlands Hindu Society is planning a R400 000 three-day celebratory function and had applied to council for increased financial assistance. President of the Society, advocate Ranjiv Nirghin, said that the Msunduzi Diwali Festival had become an annual event since 2006 and over the years attendance exceeded 30 000 people. Nirghin said that similar events were held in Durban and Gauteng — known as the Durban and Newtown Diwali festivals. The Gauteng event is fully sponsored by a local bank in that province.

Nirghin wrote to the council seeking help in cash or kind. He said that most of their service providers had agreed to render their services at reduced rates, however, they were experiencing a shortfall in their budget and needed assistance.

Municipal officials told the executive committee that in terms of council’s approved events policy, the municipality does not provide financial support for religious events, but only support in kind.

The officials recommended that council can assist by offering the following: traffic management services at no cost to the organisers; cleaning up of the venue during the course of the event; provision of security; waiving of costs for putting up posters and the provision of greenery for the parks.

The officials said all of these services would cost about R26 733. Councillor Bill Lambert questioned whether this was enough and whether council could not do more for this major event in the city.

The event will take place from October 18 to 20 at the Protea Grounds in Khan Road, Northdale.

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