Durban – ETHEKWINI mayor Zandile Gumede and Thembinkosi Ngcobo, the head of the parks, culture and recreation unit, appear to be singing different tunes over former president Jacob Zuma’s recording deal with the city.
Ngcobo this week tabled a report containing details of the recording with the former president and co-artists to the community service committee. According to the report, Zuma and his team would be paid an honorarium of R200000 as part of city’s 25 years of democracy celebration.
The report stated that the city had set aside a budget of about R1million for celebrations. However, Gumede denied having any information pertaining to the deal, saying it had not been brought before the city’s executive committee (exco).
Speaking to the Sunday Tribune, Gumede said she only read about the recording deal in the media. “You can ask Ngcobo about that since it was raised in the committee. Probably, it will be on the agenda in the next exco meeting. At this stage, I have no knowledge of such recording,” she said.
Gumede would not say whether she was in support of or against the project.
This was Ngcobo’s second bid to involve Zuma in the project.
In January, Ngcobo’s plans to record a Zuma CD containing Struggle songs were blocked when Gumede told the city’s executive committee that the city had no plans to record a CD.
Explaining the event before the committee on Thursday, Ngcobo said it was part of the Liberation Heritage Routes Project. He said it was started in 2009 when the uMkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association held a two-day symposium in Durban to preserve the liberation movement’s history.
“April represented a lot of pain for many South Africans as it was the month coloniser Jan van Riebeeck arrived in 1652, followed by the assassination of… Chris Hani in 1993. Citizens needed to learn about their local history, and the event would achieve that,” he said. Ngcobo said Zuma would not be paid directly, but artists who worked with him, whose names were not revealed in the report, would benefit.
The report states that the R200 000 would cover transport, refreshments and the documentation of liberation songs by various artists, including Zuma.
The issue caused a heated argument between the ANC and DA councillors in the chamber which saw the DA members walking out before the meeting was concluded. Nicole Graham, the DA’s eThekwini caucus leader, said the event was about praise-singing for the ANC at the expense of ratepayers’ money.
The IFP asked for more time to discuss the matter before giving input.