Metro FM Awards stand to lose home

2012-05-24 13:54
Cobus Coetzee
Nelspruit - South Africa's Metro FM Awards will be without a home this year if a private sponsor doesn't come forward to help host the event at the Mbombela stadium in Mpumalanga's capital.

The provincial government has decided it doesn't have enough money to foot the more than R11m bill for hosting the event.

"I can let the cat out of the bag. We will have difficulties hosting the Metro Awards (this year) unless we get private sector players to come and help," said economic development, environment and tourism MEC Norman Mokoena on Wednesday.

Mokoena, who was speaking at a press briefing at the Emnotweni arena, said the provincial government would now prioritise key service delivery issues.

"That is where the money will go," he said.

'Tourism promotion'

Last year both the Mpumalanga government and the South African Broadcasting Corporation boasted that Mbombela and the province will be the permanent home of the Metro FM Awards.

In 2010, the provincial government spent a staggering R11.4m on the awards.

In November last year, the provincial authorities argued that the provincial treasury channelled the same amount to the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA) for "tourism promotion".

Mokoena said this year his department had been given the responsibility to go out and find private sector players to come onboard and support their work.

He also mentioned that the department would also not be able to complete a R20m film project.

Initially, it was said the film would cost R13m to produce but this week Mokoena referred to R20m when he talked about the cost of making the movie.

"The movie is not ready, principally because we have some constraints of resources," said Mokoena.

The movie was supposed to be a four-part drama series about the life of political icon Solomon "Kalushi" Mahlangu, who died at the hands of the apartheid government in 1973.

The drama was scheduled to be aired on SABC 1 in line with the ANC's 100th birthday in June 2012.

"The movie will be ready as soon as it is fully funded and paid," promised Mokoena. "The R20m was not spent, it was merely a budget allocation."

Last year Mokoena's head of the department Vusanani Dlamini admitted that an initial payment of R2.5m had already been made to Gauteng-based film-making company, Purple Fountain Properties 133 (Pty) Ltd.

'Have done some work'

Dlamini said the film did not go to tender because it was a proposal that came directly from Purple Fountain Properties.

Asked about payments already made into the production of the film, the MEC said: "They have done some work to that tune."

The department will spend R770m this financial year, of which R523m will be shared between the MTPA and the Mpumalanga Economic Growth Agency (MEGA).

SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago was not available for comment on Wednesday as his cellphone rang unanswered. He also did not return messages left on his cellphone.