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'R10m paid to Nicki Minaj is refundable'

Kgosientso Ramokgopa said services were expected from Minaj and the money paid to her should be refunded.

Nicki Minaj. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Tshwane mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa says the apparent R10 million deposit paid to US rapper Nicki Minaj to perform at the now cancelled TribeOne Dinokeng Music Festival is refundable.

The three-day festival, which would have seen performances by 130 local and international artists, including Minaj and J. Cole, was cancelled last week after Sony Music Entertainment Africa pulled out.

Sony said the site for the event, which was supposed to take place in Cullinan outside Pretoria this weekend, was not ready.

Reports that R65 million was wasted on preparations for the three-day event has caused outrage on social media while the municipality and the city have blamed each other.

Ramokgopa said services were expected from Minaj and now that the event has been cancelled, the money paid to her should be refunded.

"I read in the media that R10 million was paid to Nicki Minaj which is non-refundable. Let me correct that - there's a contract between the city and our partners Sony which makes provision very clearly in the contract that if they fail to deliver, the money will be retrieved."

The mayor has also assured tax payers that no money has been lost due to the cancellation.

He said the city is in arbitration to recoup R25 million and the remaining R40 million was spent on infrastructure development in Cullinan, as well as a nearby informal settlement.

Ramokgopa also suggested there may be other reasons for Sony pulling out such as slow ticket sales.

Organisers had estimated that 100,000 people would attend the event, but according to the mayor, only 3,000 tickets were sold by 3 September.