NEWS

Cape Town Using 'Apartheid Tactics' Minstrels Say

But the city has denied this, saying the minstrels did not request funding from the special events committee.

02/01/2017 07:14 SAST | Updated 02/01/2017 14:42 SAST
Mike Hutchings / Reuters
Revellers celebrate in the streets of Cape Town at the annual minstrels' carnival on January 2. The carnival, which dates back to the slave era, features troupes of brightly adorned minstrels who attempt to out-sing, out-dance and generally out-party each other for the coveted Frames Trophy.

The Cape Town Minstrel Carnival Association (CTMCA) on Sunday accused the city of using money and "old apartheid tactics" to divide minstrels for their own gain.

But the city has denied this, saying the CTMCA did not request funding from the special events committee, nor did it apply for a permit to participate in Monday's major minstrel parade through the Cape Town city centre.

The CTMCA, representing roughly 60% of the city's minstrels, on Friday announced it would definitely not participate in the annual Tweede Nuwe Jaar event set to take place on Monday.

At a press conference in Ottery on Sunday the association lashed out at the city.

"They (CTMCA members) want to show the city that they have to treat us with respect. Don't divide and rule us, that is old apartheid tactics that they are trying to (use)," CTMCA chief executive officer Kevin Momberg said.

"We have been doing it [the Tweede Nuwe Jaar event] successfully for the past 19 years up unto to [this] year, the city decided to another organisation [will host it] which of course is their right to do," Momberg said.

Momberg said that the city is being petty with events approval for the organisation.

"We cannot keep up with how they are changing the goal posts [rules for events permits] because first of all we had our Voorsmakie (an event in the run-up to Monday's big event), it [the Voorsmakie event] was cancelled. Yes, there was a non-compliance issue, but non-compliance in the city's context of non-compliance," he said.

"At the Christmas parade, we say we got 60 security officers, we submit the list, all the other plans have been submitted... they come back and say we are not going to give you the permit because of one of the officer's names or ID numbers... there's a typo."

Momberg said the association will continue with its own minstrel competition at Athlone Stadium on Monday. He said the city did not assist the organisation to host this event.

"The city didn't give us one cent... of the R4m they budgeted for the [overall minstrel] event," Momberg said.

He said that the association will seek legal advice on how to deal with the city in the future.

"It will take much more for than just sitting around the table. It calls for a legal [intervention], whichever , the constitutional court or something."

Speaking to News 24 on Sunday afternoon, Mayoral Committee Member for Tourism, Events and Economic Development, Eddie Andrews, dismissed all the claims made by Momberg as untrue.

"The KKKA (Kaapse Klopse Karnival Assosiasie) [who were given funding by the city] was the only organisation who requested funding from the special events committee. They were also the only organisation to apply for a permit for the 2nd of January," Andrews said.

"The CTMCA applied for an events permit for the 3rd and the 7th and they would've got events approval if all their documentation was in order."

Andrews denied claims that the city treated event applications by the CTMCA with additional scrutiny.

"The approval of events is a purely administrative process and is completely determined by the city's policy. It is standard for all events," he said.

According to Andrews, the R4m budgeted by the city for the minstrel events was meant to cover several events and not just the main parade.

"R1.8m was paid out to the KKKA for the parade, while R800 000 was given to the Malay Choir Board for their event on Friday last week. Several boards applied for funding and several boards did not receive it due to various reasons," he said.

News24Wire