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Spending row in Durban over $100k Nicki Minaj gig

eThekwini Municipality has come in for criticism after it emerged it will spend almost 4m rand on two concerts by Minaj and TI

By IQ on 09 Mar 2016

TI, ConcertTour.org

image © ConcertTour.org

A political row is brewing in South Africa over plans by eThekwini Municipality to spend 3.7 million rand (US$241,800) promoting concerts by American rappers Nicki Minaj and TI.

TI (pictured) will perform at Durban Botanic Gardens this Friday (11 March) at a cost to the city of R1.5m ($98,000), while Minaj will play the 54,000-capacity Moses Mabhida Stadium, also in Durban, on 20 March, with R1.5m of public funds spent on hiring the stadium and a further R250,000 ($16,350) towards marketing the event.

Zwakele Mncwango, leader of the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, criticised the eThekwini Municipality Executive Council (Exco) for “wasteful expenditure, considering that we are facing tough economic times”, reports News24, expressing his disbelief that “they are willing to spend R3.7m on international artists when we face water restrictions” and asking: “How will Nicki Minaj benefit Durban?”

Bongiwe Mtshali, a councillor for the National Freedom Party (NFP), was equally critical. “The city is willing to spend money on international stars while people are protesting for service delivery,” he said. “It would have been better if the concert was going to benefit the youth, but this is just entertainment.”

“This is wasteful expenditure considering we are facing tough economic times. … How will Nicki Minaj benefit Durban?”

Durban, with a population of around 600,000 South Africa’s second-largest city, is currently facing the prospect of emergency water restrictions that will see the tap-water supply shut off for nine hours a day twice a week.

However, Phillip Sithole, head of Durban’s tourist board claims the city will benefit economically from the concerts. “The hotel occupancy is expected to be more than 80 per cent during the hosting of these events,” he said. “There will be hundreds of temporary jobs, related business opportunities and [an] economic spend of more than R30 million for both events.”

The eThekwini Exco was heavily criticised last week for planning a luxury cruise for 40 councillors to Mozambique’s Portuguese Island. South African president Jacob Zuma is currently calling for tough austerity measures from local government departments.