‘Welcome home Hlaudi’ concert hosted by cash-strapped Free State municipality

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Qaanitah Hunter‚ Matthew Savides‚ Suthentira Govender And Moeketsi Mogotsi | 2017-03-25 16:28:11.0

A poster for the event has a picture of a waving Motsoeneng in front of a mountain scene. Mayor Vusi Tshabalala‚ as well as the council’s official logo‚ is also on the flyer.

Despite this‚ the municipality‚ 270km east of Bloemfontein‚ insisted that the concert was not funded from the city’s own coffers. An official in the mayor’s office admitted that‚ while it was organised by the municipality‚ it was not an ANC event and was paid for by “businessmen”.

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“Welcome home” Hlaudi concert hosted by cash-strapped Free State municipality.

About 500 people were expected to attend the event‚ hosted at the 6‚000-seater Phuthaditjhaba Stadium. It attracted well known artists like gospel star Rebecca Malope‚ Dr Malinga‚ Jub Jub and others. According to the official‚ Dr Malinga and Jub Jub were not paid to perform‚ but volunteered out of love.

The event has been punted on various platforms including Lesedi FM‚ Morning Live on SABC 2‚ and on local radio station QwaQwa radio. Members of the public were told to collect tickets to the event at various locations including a local petrol station‚ butchery‚ municipal offices and the QwaQwa radio station offices. It appeared that it was only transport costs that revellers would have to pay for.

Tshabalala was not available for comment.

Motsoeneng‚ who arrived at the event just before 2pm‚ said it was organised because people appreciate what he does.

“If I am honest‚ I will say I am happy. Because it is the community I come from‚” he said.

Motsoeneng said the celebrations in QwaQwa began on Friday‚ with all of the schools he attended holding events commemorating him.

“I think the main reason for these events is I appreciate what I have been doing in the SABC… Also outside the SABC‚ I have been doing projects. I am assisting a lot of students‚” he said.

Motsoeneng said he was not returning to the Free State because “I am now a Jo’burg person”.

The event was preceded by Motsoeneng giving away uniforms and school shoes to three rural schools in QwaQwa – Thaba Bosiu Primary‚ Metsimatsho Secondary and Miri Primary School.

But this is not the only controversial event hosted by the municipality. Sunday World reported at the weekend that Maluti-a-Phofung announced it would be honouring controversial pastor Paseka “Mboro“ Motsoeneng‚ of Incredible Happening Ministries‚ and Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane‚ for their role in “ending the drought and water crisis” in the area.

The municipality claimed‚ according to reports‚ that Motsoeneng’s prayers had brought rain to the drought-ravaged area. The duo will be given awards at a thanksgiving ceremony to be hosted by the municipality at the Phuthaditjhaba stadium next month. The event will coincide with Motsoeneng’s 49th birthday.

The troubled municipality has a firm ANC majority with the DA only holding five out of 70 seats.

These celebrations come two weeks after deputy Public Protector‚ Kevin Malunga‚ visited the municipality and chided them for being uncooperative despite more than two dozen service delivery complaints that had been lodged with his office. Malunga said he has taken the council to task on 25 complaints‚ but that “there could be more” being handled by the provincial PP’s office.

“When it came to a lot of the service delivery issues‚ they obviously raised the issue…that money is a challenge. We read the riot act [to them] on the poor levels of cooperation‚ which has been dismal over a period of time‚ and linked it to the quality of services.

“We will keep a very close eye on this municipality‚” said Malunga.

The DA’s head of caucus in the municipality‚ Allison Oates‚ said she found out about the event when she got a message to pick up tickets to attend. She said she found it strange that the flyers had the logo of the municipality and a picture of the mayor in his regalia.

“I don’t think Hlaudi has much of a good reputation and should not be used as a role model for our community‚” Oates said.

Her colleague‚ provincial leader Roy Jankielsohn‚ said there were rumours in the Free State legislature that the ANC “want him [Motsoeneng] there”.

– TMG Digital/TimesLIVE

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