Minstrels take money battle to high court

2016-12-14 15:52
Minstrels apply the last touches of face paint (Jenni Evans, News24)

Minstrels apply the last touches of face paint (Jenni Evans, News24)

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Cape Town - The Cape Town Minstrel Carnival Association (CTMCA) has approached the Western Cape High Court after the permit for its Voorsmakie parade was declined and they failed to secure funding for festive season minstrel events.

The R4m allocation has instead been handed to the Kaapse Klopse Karnival Assosiasie, despite the CTMCA running the event for the past 19 years.

The permit for the Voorsmakie, which is a practice run for the Tweede Nuwe Jaar celebrations, was declined on Wednesday due to non-compliance.

Mayoral committee member for safety and security, JP Smith, said the City of Cape Town last year informed the CTMCA that it would not give it funding as its chairperson, Richard Stemmet, was allegedly involved in drug and criminal activity. Police seized his assets.

“The decision was made that council was not comfortable giving money to them. They then claimed that Stemmet was no longer the chairperson and would be stepping down,” Smith said.

CTMCA CEO Kevin Momberg, said the funding was in the past paid to the Cape Cultural and Carnival Committee, the umbrella body under which the CTMCA falls.

Stemmet was the chairperson until last year, when the city told the committee it would not provide them with funds while Stemmet was at the helm.

“We complied with what they wanted and he resigned,” Momberg said.

Stemmet was however still CTMCA chairperson.

On Wednesday, Stemmet claimed the DA-run city had a vendetta against him due to his involvement in having minstrels perform at the ANC's 103rd anniversary celebration at Cape Town Stadium last year.

He said he was informed on November 30 that the funding would not be given to the non-profit organisation after months of planning.

“We are an NPO and our members are the poorest of the poor in the metro, from areas like Hanover Park, Manenberg, Mitchells Plain and Lavender Hill. This is the biggest minstrel organisation,” Stemmet insisted.

Mayoral committee member for tourism, events and economic development, Eddie Andrews, said that in addition to the organised crime allegations, the CTMCA was also in arrears with the city.

“We can’t do business with someone who owes us money,” he said.

The CTMCA also wanted to host the Tweede Nuwe Jaar event on January 3 next year, a normal working day, Andrews said.

“Our estimation was that this would have led to a R30m loss to the [local] economy.”

No safety and security plans

According to the city, its events permit office has in the past eight months worked with the event organiser to ensure that all requirements outlined in the events by-law policy are met.

The policy was developed and guided by applicable legislation and regulations, including the Safety at Sports and Recreational Events Act.

The city explained it was the responsibility of the event organiser to apply for an event risk categorisation from the police, in accordance with the act.

Police however informed the city that the Voorsmakie event’s grading certificate would be withdrawn as it did not comply with the act’s requirements.

“The event organiser has, to date, failed to produce the required plans for safety and security, traffic management, road closures (including signage and equipment), solid waste management, fencing and toilets,” Andrews said.

“Additionally, payment is still outstanding for city services provided at last year’s event and the required deposits to secure necessary services for this weekend’s event have not been made to date. This compromises the physical well-being and safety of both participants and spectators at the event.”

He explained that the city’s primary concern was for the large number of people who attended the annual minstrel events.

Andrews said no court papers had yet been served on the city for the CTMCA’s high court application.


Read more on:    cape town  |  culture

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