Unfair deal on local events

2013-08-27 00:00

SPORT, entertainment and cultural event organisers in the city want more co-operation from the Msunduzi Municipality.

This emerged at a meeting of event organisers at the Golden Horse Casino yesterday. Event organiser Gail Cornhill was upset that posters were up for three months for Sunday’s Mandela Day Marathon, but not for local events.

“We as event organisers are only allowed to put up our posters two weeks before the event and we pay R25 per poster. If we want the posters up for a further two weeks, we will have to pay per poster again,” Cornhill said. She added that the municipality should abide by its own rules.

Mike Amod, disaster management officer for events compliance at the municipality, said as far as he was aware, the Mandela Day Marathon was different. He said it was a matter of Msunduzi supporting the district municipality, which was hosting the event.

Another event organiser who did not want to be named felt the municipality should do more to maintain and prepare the venues that it hires out for major events. An example was cited of a loose railing at the Pavilion in Alexandra Park that had not been fixed.

Amod spoke to the event organisers on the importance of the safety of people and their property at events. He explained the requirements of the Safety at Sports and Recreational Events Act of 2010. He said the act came about as a result of the Ellis Park Stadium disaster in 2001, when 43 football fans were crushed to death in a stampede in the overcrowded stadium.

Amod said the act had a number of stringent requirements. If an event was held in a venue that had the capacity to hold 2 000 and over, the South African Police Service (SAPS) would require an application with a detailed plan so that it could work out the risk categorisation of the event. This application must be submitted six months before the event.

The event organiser would have to make the application, as overall responsibility for the event lies with him or her. The event organiser would have to appoint a safety officer.

“This person cannot be a fly-by-night or a friend or relative. It has to be somebody with experience who must have evacuation plans, emergency procedures as well as safety, traffic management and a waste management plan. All of these must be available for police inspection.”

Colonel Iqbal Latiff of the SAPS legal division also went through the various sanctions that apply if the act is not followed. These range from five to 20 years in prison. An event organiser could get 20 years for not applying to the police for categorisation or for failing to have public liability insurance.

Dumisani Mhlongo, director of Msunduzi Pietermaritzburg Tourism, organised the gathering ahead of tourism month, which starts on September 1. Mhlongo said there were a host of events organised for just about every day in the month in Pietermaritzburg and it was good for event organisers to get together, as he felt that previously they had been working “in silos”.

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