Minister Kubayi-Ngubane stirs up controversy with a cook-off with Somizi

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Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane
Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane
PHOTO: Supplied by Department of Tourism
  • Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane's cook-off with Somizi Mhlongo stirred up some controversy.
  • Tweeps questioned the use of funds and why up-and-coming chefs did not participate.
  • Kubayi-Ngubane and her department said young chefs trained by the department would also participate.

Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane has stirred up some controversy over a cook-off with local celebrity Somizi Mhlongo.

The cook-off was held on Monday morning at the Hang Awt restaurant owned by DJ Shimza, in Tembisa. The event is part of the build-up to Kubayi-Ngubane's budget vote speech on Tuesday.

Twitter users' frustration boiled over after seeing the advertisement for Kubayi-Ngubane's cook-off, with many questioning whether this is a wise use of State funds and why this spot and Somizi was chosen for a government event instead of for up and coming local chefs.

Not one to get out of the kitchen when it gets hot, Kubayi-Ngubane defended the event on the social media platform.

"I will hosting this event with @somizi & actually request those who criticise this event to go and check Celebrity Cook shows which is a global trend. We commit to work with all SAns in rebuilding the Tourism Sector #TourismRecovery (sic)," she tweeted.

"This event is the last pre-budget event we are hosting since last week. Do you have feedback on other events that we held so that we can use this as part of the debriefing session with the team. If you didn't notice other events also do indicate [sic]."

Kubayi-Ngubane's spokesperson Hlengiwe Nhlabathi-Mokota also responded to some of the complaints.

ALSO READ | Tourism minister asks review panel to consider discounted prices for local travellers

"Over the last couple of months since the lifting of restrictions, (the) Minister has embarked on (an) intensive campaign to promote tourism in various parts of the country to drive tourism recovery, with sharp focus on businesses in small dorpies and townships where this venue is located," she tweeted.

"It is not true that there will be no chefs graduates. Some of them benefited from @Tourism_gov_za  programmes and we will be showcasing some skills & innovative entrepreneurial ventures that are critical in growing & sustaining the hospitality industry."

Kubayi-Ngubane's responses did little to put a lid on tweeps' simmering annoyance.

In an interview with Power FM's Lukhona Mnguni, Kubayi-Ngubane said marketing is very important in the tourism industry. She said Mhlongo didn't charge any money for participating in the event, but the restaurant was booked.

She said chefs who received training from the department – which many people might not know about – would help them prepare their dishes.

She said if well-known chefs were involved, it would take the attention away from these young people.

Kubayi-Ngubane prepared samp and chicken livers, and Somizi a chicken masala bunny chow.

Kubayi-Ngubane's budget vote speech is scheduled for Tuesday 10:00 in a virtual mini-plenary of the National Assembly.

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