Arts & culture spent R16m on Grammy celebration gig

Department of Sports, Arts and Culture has spent more than R16-million on a one-day event to honour the three Grammy Award-winning musicians last month.

It was celebrating the win by Zakes Bantwini, Nomcebo Zikode, Wouter Kellerman, whose song Bayethe scooped the prestigious global Grammy.

Zizi Kodwa’s department hosted a gala dinner at The Galleria in Woodmead, north of Joburg, where more than 300 people were invited to celebrate with the stars. 

However, the amount of money spent for the celebration has caused a storm as DA’s shadow minister of sports, arts and culture Tsepo Mhlongo got hot under the collar asking Kodwa to disclose  the money that was spent for the event.

In the written parliamentary question, Mhlongo demanded to know how many guests were invited and the amount of money spent to organise the event. Mhlongo also demanded that Kodwa should give a breakdown of the total amount spent on the cost of the venue, sound, food and music, including the name of the company that had clinched the tender and the budget that explains where the money was sourced. Kodwa’s response shocked Mhlongo, as the minister said the event had 360 people in attendance.

“The total amount spent to host the event was R16 097 000, and more than two third of this budget went towards incentives and funding for the Grammy winners to develop cultural workers in their respective fields. This will be co-ordinated together with the department and the recipients,” said Kodwa in his reply.
Kodwa also said the company that had clinched the tender was Absrtact Group Media & Marketing Events.

“The budget was sourced from the cultural and creative industry development budget, which was for the 2023/2024 financial year,” said Kodwa.

Mhlongo told Sunday World that the expenditure was not on a budget allocation of the department.

“The minisiter did not answer my questions and will have follow-up questions to the ministry next week. I believe that this it is wrong to use taxpayers money like you are buying sweets,” said Mhlongo.

Sports, arts and culture spokesperson Mickey Modisane said based on the benchmark that the department has set within the recognition of excellence and incentivising of South African athletes that have performed well on the global stage, his department this time around and for the first time was able to set aside a budget for recognition of the creatives that have gone on the global stage and achieved the greatest accolades.

“As part of our economic recovery and reconstruction strategy of the creative sector, the department has decided to focus a lot on expansion and sustainability of the creative industry, which is part of the monetarisation strategy, the department then deemed it befitting to reward the creatives and further grant them the necessary support so that they can be able to set up programmes that will assist them with putting together their development programmes or structures within their creative space with the primary focus on their genre.

Modisane said the more than R16-million project went out on tender, where over 40 companies bid for the tender.


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