DROP the plan- was an advise by President Cyril Matamela Ramaphosa.
As a result, the KwaZulu-Natal government will no longer host the South African Music Awards, that were scheduled for two-days 17 and 18 November in Durban, that would have cost R28 milllion.
Following a public outcry, the MEC Siboniso Duma- Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental affairs and ANC chairperson, heeded the call and canned the awards ceremony.
The breaking news were delivered today, after extensive consultation with relevant stakeholders.
The plan to hold the awards using state funds moved from other departments by Duma’s ministry created a furore — and is understood to have resulted in President Pres Ramaphosa quietly advising him to drop the plan.
Local music industry and artists, held protests earlier this week over the plan to hold the Samas without involving them in the two days of high-profile activities.
The plan became public after a treasury memorandum questioning the spending, which included R3 million for goody bags, an R11 million broadcast fee and R6.5 million for a gala dinner, was leaked to the media.
While the provincial government has defended the event, claiming it would generate R350 million for the local economy, Duma told a media briefing in Durban that the plan, which had the backing of the provincial cabinet, was off.
“Having consulted widely with the executive council and other stakeholders, I have advised the department to stop the hosting of the South African Music Awards this year,” Duma said.
The department management was meeting with the recording industry to inform them of the decision, which was also being communicated to the provincial cabinet, as the hosting of the Samas was “a collective decision”.
He said the R28 million price tag was “part of a campaign of disinformation” aimed at “sowing confusion” and that the “actual amount of money that has been confirmed by treasury and the department of economic development, tourism and environmental affairs is around R20 million before VAT”.
Duma said that this figure was based on “our last consultation” and that the procurement process followed by the department to secure treasury approval to move funds from other departments was “above board, transparent and free of any irregularities”.
Despite the protests by local artists over their exclusion from the Samas, Duma said it would have benefitted them.
“Our hearts are with artists whose lives were destroyed by the outbreak of Covid-19. The South African Music Awards was their hope and their source of income ahead of the festive season,” he said.
Both the DA and Action SA in KZN were against the hosting of the awards.