Barely a week after a cruise ship spending scandal, the eThekwini Municipality revealed on Tuesday that it expected to spend R3.7m on two award-winning American rappers.
Last week the city made headlines after it was revealed that 40 councillors planned to take a luxury cruise to the Portuguese Islands off Mozambique, at a cost of R160 000, as part of a maritime conference.
The plan was sunk after the ANC in the province barred all its councillors from participating in the cruise which was due to take place over the weekend of voter registration.
After widespread criticism, News24 understands that no councillors ended up attending the conference. Now a new spending row has gripped City Hall.
During an executive council meeting on Tuesday it was revealed that the city was expected to fork out R3.7m to help bring American rappers, T.I. and Anaconda star Nicki Minaj to Durban.
Live Your Life star, T.I., is expected to perform in Durban for the first time during his T.I. Durban Tour on March 11. According to Computicket, he will be performing at the Durban Botanical Gardens.
Based on the agenda, the city is expected to fork out R1.5m for T.I.’s performance.
The Nicki Minaj Tour is expected to take place on March 20. A total of R250 000 is expected to be spent on marketing and advertising, and R1.5m will go towards hiring the Moses Mabhida Stadium, and logistics for the concert.
The city is expected to pay R3 705 000 on both artists including VAT.
According to sources, the matter was deferred to the economic development and planning committee for discussion on Friday. News24 understands that a special exco meeting will be held on Friday, where the two events were expected to be approved.
The DA’s Zwakele Mncwango questioned why the matter was deferred to the economic development and planning committee on the same day that T.I. was due to perform.
Mncwango said ANC exco members appeared to be divided on the matter and even requested a caucus meeting during the sitting. According to Mncwango, the matter was deferred to the committee before being “urgently approved” by the city manager.
“I argued that the city manager had no right to just approve things. Items have to come before exco and then they are approved by exco.”
Mncwango said the splurge was a waste of money.
“This is wasteful expenditure, considering that we are facing tough economic times. They will spend the money anyway. Why are they running away from discussing the matter?
“They are willing to spend R3.7m on international artists when we face water restrictions. How will Nicki Minaj benefit Durban?” asked Mncwango.
NFP councillor Bongiwe Mtshali was equally unimpressed. “The city is willing to spend money on international stars, while people are protesting for service delivery. It would have been better if the concert was going to benefit the youth, but this is just entertainment.”
The IFP’s Mdu Nkosi said if the events had been budgeted for, then the party accepted the expenditure.
“This is going to benefit Durban economically and we need this for the hospitality industry,” Nkosi said, although he also questioned why the matter had been postponed.
“We don’t understand why they need to defer the matter when T.I. is expected to be in Durban on Friday.”
eThekwini municipality spokesperson Tozi Mthethwa said the two reports were not discussed in exco.
“We can only comment after they have been presented in exco and a decision has been taken.”
Meanwhile Phillip Sithole, head of Durban Tourism said, “The hotel occupancy is expected to be more than 80% during the hosting of these events.”
He said Durban would benefit economically from the concerts.
“There will be hundreds of temporary jobs, related business opportunities and the economic spend of more than R30 million for both events.”