The postponement of the Tweede Nuwejaar parade has provoked something of a war of words between the City of Cape Town and event organizers, both of whom have sought to absolve themselves from blame from what is now the second postponement of this year’s event.
The carnival is usually held annually on the 2nd of January, but was shifted this year due to it coinciding with the auspicious day of Jumuah. Plans were then leveled to host the event the following day, but that failed to come to fruition after concerns that it would fall in line with the Moulood celebrations. It was latter resolved that the event would take place on Monday the 5th.
Whilst apologetic for the postponement, Cape Minstrel Carnival Association CEO, Kevin Momberg, insisted they had all plans were in place to host the event on the 3rd. This was up until they were contacted by City of Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille, who had requested the event be held on Monday instead.
“We said that while we haven’t got a problem with the request, there is a whole lot of logistics and things that need to be sorted out to have it on the 5th. This is because it is a normal working day,” he noted.
Amongst the most notable issues was that of transport for the minstrel teams, with a limited amount of Golden Arrow buses available due to the influx of people returning to work on the day. There were also issues around securing VIP parking in the CBD, as well as arranging for businesses in the area to shut up shop for the day.
He suggested the mayor had vowed to assist in addressing some of these issues, only to fail to honor her promise.
Had the event been held on Saturday, Momberg said they would have likely cut the routing short, to ensure festival goers and minstrels had sufficient time to observe their Moulood celebrations. The shortened route would have seen the parade conclude at Bree Street in the CBD, instead of the traditional stop in Bo-Kaap.
“When we approached the events office to do some rearrangements in terms of the logistics, then the nightmares began. They said we had to submit other applications because now you’re going to the Bo-Kaap, and that extends the route. It also changes the numbers we had in our application, in terms of security, marshals and fencing,” he explained.
Since the announcement, Mayor de Lille has come out in the media to express her disappointment for the cancellation of Monday’s festivities. She is also reported to have taken a swipe at organizers. Momberg was particularly upset at the mayor’s reported accusations that the association would be lying, should they attempt the pin the blame on the City.
“This just shows the level of frustration, and I think it is very bad for a mayor to say something like that to the public. Secondly, she has got to prove where we have lied. We have got nothing to hide,” he insisted.
He also queried de Lille suggestions the City would play a supportive role in the organization of the carnival, saying the least the city could have done was enforce road closures, something that was out of the control of the organizers. Instead, he claimed the City had only attempted to make organizing the event more difficult.
“We know that they want to push us into something to make us look like we are incapable of running this thing and that is not the case. We have been running this in the background with them for a long time,” he stated.
Earlier suggestions were that the event would be postponed to the 10th, but Momberg vowed that they would oppose any City chosen date for the carnival. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)