TribeOne Festival: Mayor blames organisers

Tshwane Mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa says Sony Entertainment and TribeOne failed to sell enough tickets.

City of Tshwane Executive Mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa conducts a site visit of the Cullinan grounds where the cancelled TribeOne Festival was meant to be held, Tuesday 23 September. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Tshwane Mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa has denied that the city failed to properly build the necessary infrastructure for the now cancelled TribeOne Dinokeng Festival and has blamed organisers for failing to sell enough tickets.

City officials remain adamant that the venue is ready, but organisers, Sony Entertainment and TribeOne, says its assessment shows it's not safe for the three day event.

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

The festival was supposed to take place in Cullinan, Pretoria.

Ramokgopa says organisers estimated that 100,000 people would attend, but only about 3,000 tickets were sold by the third month.

He says the organisers themselves approved the venue.

"We received a presentation from the organisers themselves not from our team which confirmed that they are satisfied and also to share with us how far they are with regard to the sales of the tickets."

An estimated R65 million has been spent for the cancelled event but Ramokgopa says plans are being put in place for it to go ahead sometime soon.

"The case with regard to a concert of this magnitude in this area remains pending, we are proceeding with it. We are not proceeding with it this week, whether it's with the same outfit or not, we are going to proceed."

Earlier, Ramokgopa told Eyewitness News the apparent R10 million deposit paid to Minaj to perform at the festival is refundable.

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 taxpayers that no money had 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.