Statement by the City’s Executive Mayor, Alderman Patricia de Lille


Statement by the City’s Executive Mayor,

Alderman Patricia de Lille

City reiterates support for Minstrel events

The City of Cape Town is committed to celebrating the diverse cultures that exist in our city. The administration has worked hard to reach out to different cultural groups to ensure that they feel part of an inclusive city.

In 2011, the City of Cape Town made a concerted effort to strengthen our relationship with the Minstrels community as part of our efforts to revive the historic and cultural significance of the Minstrels, Malay Choirs and

Christmas Bands events.

To this end, the City appointed retired Constitutional Court Judge, Kate

O’Regan, as an independent mediator to lead negotiations between the

City and the different Minstrels organisations to lay the foundation for a successful Cape Minstrels Annual Carnival.

Our constructive engagements resulted in the return of the event to its original date on 2 January every year and its traditional route through the


In 2012, the City formalised its relationship with the representatives of the various Minstrels’ associations after four months of protracted negotiations to ensure a successful event.

This year, the City started negotiating with Minstrel associations, Malay choir boards and Christmas band boards as early as April to ensure that this year’s road march is properly organised.

On 3 December 2013, the City of Cape Town signed a Memorandum of

Agreement with the majority of Minstrel associations, Malay Choirs and

Christmas Bands that will participate in the Cape Minstrels Annual


To date, more than 75% of the organisations have signed the memorandum and agreed to the conditions. In light of this, it is unfortunate that one Minstrel association, the Cape Town Minstrel

Carnival Association, has refused to engage with the City despite three attempts to secure their participation in the upcoming event.

The South African Christmas Bands Board, which marches in the central city annually on 24 December, has also not signed the agreement. As a result, the City will not be organising or incurring costs for the marches on Tuesday 24 December 2013.

The City provides R3,5 million worth of logistical and support services such as traffic control, safety and security, law enforcement, and cleansing to ensure that the event is properly controlled and managed in the best interests of the Minstrels groups, spectators and the city as a whole.

In addition to this, the Western Cape Government provides approximately

R2 million for transportation costs of all Minstrels groups participating in the Cape Annual Minstrels Carnival, Malay Choirs and Christmas Bands.

National government also allocates an unspecified amount to the event through these groups in order to pay for various costs.

This shows that the Minstrels Carnival receives sufficient financial support from all three spheres of government. Therefore, their demand for additional financial resources and for greater control of the event and its resources from the City is unsustainable and unreasonable.

It was apparent during the negotiations that this group would not sign the agreement and that they were hell-bent on pressuring the city to transfer the money to organise the event to them, instead of issuing a tender to appoint an event organiser as is required by municipal financial regulations.

The City will never bend the law for any organisation that refuses to subjects itself to the Municipal Finance Management Act.

Over the last three years, the City has substantially increased its budget, its human resource commitment to help stage the event, and the executive and senior management participation.

However, the City is disappointed that, despite these efforts, the negotiations with this Association continue to be uncooperative and confrontational.

We are determined to grow the Tweede Nuwejaar Minstrel Road March into an event that enjoys the status of other iconic events in Cape Town such as the Cape Town Carnival and the Cape Town International Jazz

Festival. It is our sincerest hope that it can grow to display the professionalism and management competence of these two major iconic events.

We reiterate our support to all Minstrel Associations, Malay Choirs and

Christmas Bands for the upcoming road marches.