Sorry, but we've had enough, says breakaway Cape minstrel association

2016-12-30 16:07
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Cape Town - A Cape minstrel association, which has withdrawn its troops from the annual Tweede Nuwe Jaar celebrations in the Mother City, apologised to the public on Friday.

"We are disappointed and we want to apologise that we will not be part of the parade. But this is the limit," said the head of the Cape Town Minstrel Carnival Association (CTMCA), Kevin Momberg.

The organisation held a meeting this week, deciding that its 36 troops would not participate in the official event that takes place around central Cape Town on January 2.

Instead, they would hold their own event on Monday at the Athlone Stadium.

The breaking point that led to their decision was the "nonsense" they had experienced from the City of Cape Town in the planning of the traditional event, said Momberg.

"The City is meddling in our minstrel affairs… they raise the bar so high, so it is impossible."

The CTMCA had been the previous organisers of the event for 19 years. Earlier this month, it approached the court after its permit to continue doing so was denied.

However, the court ruled in favour of the City saying it had followed due process in awarding the R4m tender to the Kaapse Klopse Karnivaal Association (KKKA).

The municipality had explained that this organisation was able to comply with the requirements of the relevant municipal by-laws.

Previously, mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith also said that the CTMCA had already been informed in 2015 that they would not be given funding, as its chairperson, Richard Stemmet, was allegedly involved in drug and criminal activity. Police seized his assets.

'We will survive'

However, on Friday, Momberg had a different perspective on the matter, saying that his association was targeted because the City was "punishing us for attending the ANC birthday celebration; after that we got into all sorts of difficulties".

On Friday, Eddie Andrews, the City’s mayoral committee member for tourism, events and economic development, said that while the City had called on all the minstrel organisations to work together, if the CTMCA chose to stay away, it was not expected to have a "significant effect" on the official parade.

"All troupes have their followings who will be on site, in addition to the general public who come out in their numbers to watch the event," said Andrews.

"From the City’s side, we have done all we can to facilitate inclusivity and mass participation in this event."

Nevertheless, on the brink of the New Year's weekend, Momberg promised to stay strong against any adversity: "We will get it right; we will survive."

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