Struggling Eastern Cape municipality approves R700,000 for Christmas Eve music festival
The Ndlambe Municipality, flagged by the Public Protector in a damning report on service delivery failure, has almost tripled its budget from last year to pay a Makhanda businessman R700,000 to host a music concert in the seaside town.
The Ndlambe Municipality, based in Port Alfred but also responsible for Bathurst and several smaller towns along the Sunshine Coast, has paid R700,000 for a one-day music festival on 24 December.
The municipality’s spokesperson, TK Mtiki, has not yet responded to questions on the decision to award the contract to Lutifusion, a company headed by Makhanda businessman Siyabulela “Ivy” Madyo.
The council also signed a three-year service-level agreement with Madyo to organise the festival.
The chairperson of the Port Alfred Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association, Lindsay Luppnow Burrow, expressed outrage at the amount being spent on the concert when the town’s potholes are not being fixed and the toilets at the beaches are unusable.
She said the amount approved for the music concert is R500,000 more than last year and almost the same as the total annual budget for Sunshine Coast Tourism, which runs two offices in Port Alfred and Kenton-on-Sea.
“We are absolutely shocked by this approval and we do not believe it is in the best interest of the larger area which falls within the Ndlambe Municipality’s jurisdiction.”
Luppnow Burrow said the roads to Port Alfred’s beaches were in a dismal state and that the public bathrooms at East Beach, West Beach and Shelley Beach, and in town, as well as the braai areas along the Kowie River, were also in a poor condition. “And officials told us that there is no money to pay for this to be fixed,” she said.
The event’s sponsors include the Sarah Baartman District Municipality, the Eastern Cape Department of Sport, Recreation and Culture, Castle Lite, Tanqueray Gin, Ngqushwa FM, Ndlambe FM and Mdantsane FM.
Madyo has not answered any of Daily Maverick’s questions about the event but has advertised around 150 temporary jobs for the day of the event and plans to provide free space for food vendors to set up their stalls.
Prices range from R450 for VIP tickets to R150 and R120.
The Ndlambe Municipality is one of the few in the Eastern Cape that has not been flagged as being in financial trouble or for material audit irregularities. But the Hawks are investigating allegations of corruption around one of the reverse osmosis plants in the municipality.
Read more in Daily Maverick: Port Alfred Desalination Plant to go ahead after court order
According to a report by the municipal manager, advocate Rolly Dumezweni, music festivals were “good for tourism” as they improved the municipality’s image.
He claims that developing a cultural hub in Port Alfred will increase the potential for investment and development within the municipality, and punted possible “spinoffs” from the investment. However, none of these have been identified.
Read more in Daily Maverick: Auditor-General calls on Eastern Cape municipal leaders to promote transparency and accountability
The Ndlambe Municipality was one of many flagged by the Public Protector in a damning report on the failure of service delivery in the province.
Mayor Khululwa Ncamiso seems not to agree with that assessment.
“The municipality has done well in terms of basic service delivery. [One hundred percent] of the registered urban residential properties have access to minimum service delivery levels or above. There are therefore some informal sites and backyard dwellers that do not have formal access to services.”
The Public Protector’s investigation took place in 2021 when the district was in the grip of a devastating drought. However, good rains have since fallen in the area.
Read more in Daily Maverick: Eastern Cape ravaged by double disaster of drought and poor municipal administration
The Public Protector found in her report that while the municipality had a good plan to fix its roads and infrastructure, it needed funding.
“It was found that the municipal road networks are in need of routine and periodic maintenance (reseal or regravel), including those which require reconstruction,” the report read. DM