TribeOne Festival: Tshwane mayor still confident of recovering R25m

The City of Tshwane says its confident it will retrieve R25 million from event organisers.

Tshwane Executive Mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa. Picture: EWN

PRETORIA - The City of Tshwane and its mayor, Kgosientso Ramokgopa, are confident the council will recoup the R25 million paid to the organisers of the TribeOne Festival which was supposed to kick off today.

But the city will likely have to fight for its money because event managers say they don't owe the city a cent.

The organisers pulled out last week claiming the Dinokeng site near Cullinan was not ready.

Yesterday the High Court in Pretoria struck off the roll the city's urgent application to challenge the cancellation.

The city's Selby Bokaba has accused the event organisers of cancelling the event for the wrong reasons.

"They are being disingenuous. They're playing this [public relations] campaign which is based on nothing but lies."

But Derrick Kauffman, a lawyer representing one of the organisers Sony Entertainment, says the cancellation was valid.

"If we are successful in alleging the city's repudiation was indeed repudiation and the cancellation was valid, then they lose the ability to claim back the money."

After the matter was struck off the roll yesterday, Kauffman said this was a great victory.

"We were vindicated. The judge struck the matter from the roll by ruling there was no urgency for the application to be heard."

He added that the judge ruled costs were reserved which means the two parties will return in a fortnight and argue who will bear the costs of the application.


Ramokgopa says they took the organisers to court to ensure the city's reputation was not dragged through the mud.

"The only reason we went to court was to protect ourselves. It's a reputation issue. The face of the concert might be TribeOne, but it's the ultimately the City of Tshwane."

He said plans are being put into place for the concert to take place at a later date.

The mayor denied the city failed to build the necessary infrastructure for the festival and has blamed organisers for failing to sell enough tickets.

City officials remain adamant the venue was ready, but organisers Sony Entertainment and TribeOne say their assessment showed it was not safe for the three-day event.

The 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.


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

He said the organisers themselves approved the venue.

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

An estimated R65 million has been spent for the cancelled event, but Ramokgopa said the council was still planning to stage the event soon.

"The case with regard to a concert of this magnitude in this area remains pending. We are proceeding with it."