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No more joy for city

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“The economic development, urban renewal and tourism committee plays a critical role in the promotion of tourism events. Its delayed seating also had a negative impact on this proposal.”

Joyous Celebration. Picture: Supplied

THE ANNUAL Joyous Celebration concert will not be taking place in the city this year, due to insufficient sponsorship.

The organisers, Zikmo Promotions, were informed on November 5 by the Sol Plaatje Municipality executive director of strategy, economic development and planning, Nomondo Kesiamang, that “due to the current financial state of affairs at the municipality” the funding proposal had been declined.

Kesiamang explained that the Joyous Celebration concert was identified as one of the “niche tourist attractions” promoting the city, along with the Diamond and Dorings Festival and the national Golden Shield Heritage Awards, which the municipality usually funded.

“The submission to fund the Joyous Celebration concert was positively considered by the directorate of strategy, economic development and planning, hence the necessary payment administrative work commenced after an invoice was requested from yourselves.

“However, the finance directorate (acting chief financial officer) as well as the office of the acting municipal manager raised concerns regarding the current financial municipal state of affairs, resulting in the funding proposal being declined.”

Kesiamang stated that the fact that council and its committees had not sat to date, had had a negative impact on service delivery in general and the hosting of tourism events in particular.

“The economic development, urban renewal and tourism committee plays a critical role in the promotion of tourism events. Its delayed seating also had a negative impact on this proposal.”

Events organiser, Zikie Molusi, yesterday confirmed that the annual event, which features local groups and bands, choirs and the Sol Plaatje Municipality choir, would be indefinitely postponed.

“Based on a collaborative model that was implemented since the year 2012, Zikmo Promotions was successful in negotiating and persuading the owners of MTN Joyous Celebration to include the Northern Cape, particularly Kimberley, as part of their annual national tour as many residents in the city and Province were forced to travel to neighbouring towns to attend the event,” said Molusi.

He added that the event could not take place this year due to insufficient funding.

“We were looking forward to sharing the Joyous experience with our Kimberley fans this year but unfortunately the promoters of the show informed us of the financial constraints encountered as a result of insufficient funding by various sponsorship partners. “

Molusi apologised for the inconvenience, due to unforeseen issues that were beyond their control.

“We have been fully committed over the years in making a success out of this venture, irrespective of the challenges that have always been encountered throughout.”

He said that municipal officials had given them assurances that the event would proceed as planned.

“All the normal submissions and processes were followed many months ago already by Zikmo Promotions. It is disheartening and sad that a community enrichment project affecting over 3 000 supporters, 140 local bands and groups, approximately 280 temporary local jobs including exhibitors and hawkers, an old age home and students sponsored by resources from the event have been affected by this unfortunate decision.”

Molusi said that he found it regrettable that while Sol Plaatje Municipality had supported the event for several years, as the event promoted Kimberley as a destination of choice, funding had suddenly been declined.

“It is an indictment by public institutions to understand the consequences of seven years of building a project that does not only involve public funds and attracts huge financial investments from private enterprises. The event offers an opportunity for the community that is generally excluded from special events of this nature. It is understood that the projects have been budgeted and funded under some grant funding over the years. It is very disappointing that the funds have not been released, after commitments were made by the authorities.

“While we don’t have any confirmation, it is understood that the municipality council committee for local economic development are attempting to convene a multiparty committee meeting with the intention of discussing and granting their approval for the funds to be released. This could probably lead to a new proposed date for the event.”

Molusi believed that the public had become casualties as part of the “collateral damage and instability” that is the order of the day at Sol Plaatje Municipality.

“We remain confident that at the appropriate time, when the situation has settled, the producers of Joyous Celebration would accept an invitation to perform for their loyal fans who continue to support their music. The ambitious vision to identify more talent from the Northern Cape to join the group and negotiate future recordings of their album in the city lives on.”

Joyous Celebration founder member Pastor Mthunzi Namba hoped that they would be able to visit Kimberley again in the near future.