Mpisanes sponsor ANC youth beach festival

2014-04-29 00:00

CONTROVERSIAL Durban socialite couple Shauwn and Sbu Mpisane have again drawn attention to themselves by appearing on a poster advertising the ANC Youth Beach Festival this Friday.

An accompanying press release for the festival reads: “The zillionaire power couple Sbu and Shauwn Mpisane are back at it, but this time, partying with the Youth. This coming Friday Durban will be on a standstill as we will have more than 100 celebrities being part of a motorcade then the festival at the New Beach.”

Critics say the eThekwini municipality is not doing itself any favours by allowing the Mpisanes to be the main sponsors of the event.

Sbu Mpisane yesterday, in a statement, said he and his wife viewed this as their contribution towards the celebration of democracy.

“This is important because we need to ensure that young people do not take away their right and responsibility to vote. And that, this right was attained through hard-fought struggles, where some of our people and leaders like Msizi Dube, the Mxenge’s (to name but a few) paid with their lives! That they should, in exercising this right [to vote], they choose the only party that has a proven track record of ‘Fighting for a Better Life’ for the poor and marginalised sector of our society.” [sic]

He said they wanted to encourage voter participation and fight voter apathy.

“We are of the view that the African National Congress has thus far put across a compelling argument as opposed to other parties!

“And DA responsibility is to campaign for their party not to campaign against African National Congress and it’s members as well as people associating and aligning themselves with the African National Congress.”‎

DA caucus leader Zwakele Mncwango said he was not surprised that the Zikhulise Group, which is owned by Shauwn Mpisane, is sponsoring the festival.

“She and her husband appear on posters advertising the event that will feature 58 celebrities ranging from DJs, actors and artists. KZN Premier Senzo Mchunu and ANC NEC member Bheki Cele are billed as the main speakers at the event,” said Mncwango.

He said that in the previous financial year alone, the Mpisanes were paid out almost half-a-billion rands by the eThekwini Municipality.

“This despite a history of shoddy workmanship. It was also recently revealed that city manager S’bu Sithole paid the Mpisanes R288 million in an out-of-court settlement, despite a council resolution to the contrary. It is clear that the Mpisanes are being favoured as they are politically connected and channel money towards the ANC,” he said.

He said a few emerging contractors who are reluctant to come out and voice their dissatisfaction for fear of victimisation, were struggling to get work as the Mpisanes have monopolised the low-cost housing sector in and around the city.

Mncwango said he will be writing to the office of the Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, calling on her to investigate all contracts given to the Mpisanes and the processes under which they were awarded.

“BEE is being abused to enrich a few politically connected individuals while honest contractors struggle to get work as they fail to grease the right palms,” he said.

In a statement issued by a publicity company, the festival promises young people musical festivities with artists, celebrities and free entry.

The statement says the festival is “Proudly brought to you by Zikhulise Group, the Durban business and socialite power couple Shauwn and Sbu’ Mpisane”.

Shauwn is quoted as saying: “We want young people across Durban to [be] part of this, as they hold the key of the future. It won’t just be about music, but about an important day focusing and encouraging young people to vote and make a difference”.

Free transport will be arranged from universities in and around Durban for any young person that wants to attend.

Political analyst Steven Friedman said there was nothing illegal with the Mpisanes funding of the festival.

“However, this move will create the impression that this is a matter of one hand washing another. This enhances the public’s mistrust of their relationship with the political party in question,” said Friedman.

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