09/06/2017 13:09 SAST | Updated 09/06/2017 13:18 SAST

In Theory The Samas Event Was Perfectly Planned But Practically, We Failed -- RiSA CEO

The PR company was not allowed to speak at a debrief.

Getty Images

The behind-the-scenes shambles at this year's South African Music Awards (Samas) was a case study on what not to do when organising the biggest event on the social calendar.

The CEO of the Recording Industry of South Africa (RiSA), Nhlanhla Sibisi, on Friday admitted that all the plans and powerpoint presentations looked great in theory, but they failed at the implementation stage.

"In theory, it was a perfect, perfect scenario," Sibisi said. "We thought we had this covered. As logistics would have it, it wasn't to be."

Read: Dear Sama Organisers, All The Media Asks For Is A Little Respect

He was responding to a question by HuffPost SA at a debrief session organised by RiSA and HM Entertainments for entertainment reporters who attended the event last month.

HuffPost SA reported that the event was poorly planned and journalists felt disrespected by the sequence of events away from the cameras. Some of the problems included: the red carpet being jampacked, the backstage area was cramped, the SABC and E! Entertainment were prioritised when it came to backstage interviews with winners, reporters were not provided with food and water and after party tags were not sorted out properly.

"The practical side of it became almost the opposite to what we had planned and that's why the team, especially Hloni [Modise] and the team, found themselves frustrated," Sibisi said.

Modise is the managing director of HM Entertainments, the PR company tasked with handling the event. Although Modise was present, she was not allowed to speak.

Initially, Sibisi had said he would speak, take questions and then allow Modise to have her say. After what seemed to be a couple of tough questions, Sibisi took a u-turn and said Modise was likely to reiterate what he said and so it would not be necessary for her to add anything.

Regarding the SABC, Sibisi said the Samas had a long-standing relationship with the public broadcaster as the main media partner. He said there has been a formal agreement with SABC and over the years there had been more of a push to be more inclusive of other media outlets.

He said he would continue to push to open it up more.

HuffPost SA pushed the CEO to respond to questions around the backstage sound and whether or not it had been tested as reporters couldn't hear what was going on. Sibisi said the television sound was turned down during the rehearsals and someone forgot to turn it up.

Members of the media then began to speak up about the WiFi not working, media buses that arrived late, no food, online and print media being ignored and some media being accommodated in hotels while other were rejected.

To all of this, the CEO gave no direct answers and simply said they would go back to the drawing board and make Sama 24 better.

Needless to say, no real answers were given for how everything failed and with the PR not being allowed to speak, it seems no one will ever get them.