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Malay Choirs upset by Good Hope Centre plans

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Cape Town’s popular malay choirs will have to find another home soon, if plans to turn the Good Hope Centre into a film studio goes ahead. The City of Cape Town has announced that there are proposals for the privatization of the iconic venue, which many regard as a ‘white elephant’. Current vendors have been given four months notice in order to look for alternative venues.

But the Cape Malay Choir Board said it is bitterly disappointed with the plans, as they were not consulted.

“We have not received any formal letter informing us of this proposal,” said the board’s president Shafiek April.

The Malay Choir Board is one of the biggest lessees of the Good Hope Centre and has been using it as a venue for their annual choir competition since the centre’s inception.

“The venue is an advantage as it is central and accommodates up to 5000 people,” said April.

The board sent a correspondence to City officials requesting a copy of the current lease, but they have not received any reply.

Cape Town’s rapidly growing film industry has created a new for bigger film production studios. The City said it plans to lease the centre as a temporary film studio for three years as they believe this plan will significantly contribute to job creation as well as the economy. The centre is currently in a bad condition thus leasing out to companies other than non-profit organisations will generate more income.

But April said the malay choirs would be hardest hit,

“There is a multi-billion rand filming studio built in Faure which was developed especially for filming needs.”

The City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Tourism, Events and Economic Development, Garreth Bloor said: “A number of other City facilities are available to fulfil the functions of the majority of activities that take place at the Good Hope Centre.”

April said they are still awaiting answers from the City on what alternative venues are available. VOC (Nabeelah Mohedeen)

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