THE OR Tambo Regional Choral Festival may miss its 10th anniversary if organisers do not manage to scrape together the R76000 needed to host the event.
This after the Eastern Cape Department of Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture slashed its funding by more than R70000 to R5500. Organisers, who did not want to be named, said choristers would not be able to compete in the provincial rounds if the regional round – meant to take place at the Opera House on September 22 – was scrapped. They claimed they had also approached the municipality for finance, but were turned down.
"Other regions are assisted by their municipalities. The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality is not helping us at all. We have knocked on their doors several times but our pleas fell on deaf ears. We don't get anything from them," they said.
"This is going to be a problem for this region because we will not be able to pay incentives for the performing choirs.
"We also have to pay adjudicators, a pianist, programme director, accommodation and transport for the choirs.
"The R5500 is too little – it can't even pay the adjudicators. We are now forced to look for sponsorships so that the choral festival can go on and we will be able to achieve our goals."
Municipal spokesman Mthubanzi Mniki was not aware of the situation but asked the organisers to send him proof that they had applied and that their application had been turned down and he would follow it up.
Department spokesman Manzi Vabaza confirmed they were only contributing R5500 towards the festival. "This is due to the budget cuts that the department at large has generally experienced when prioritisation was done by Treasury in addressing critical provincial cost pressures.
"The budget cut affects the other districts and the head office as well. The final allocations may differ from district to district since the districts have their own unique projects to fund and they therefore decide on the distribution of the lump sum allocated to them," Vabaza said.