Minstrels lose case for carnival

Ismaeel Dean of the Baruch Entertainers troupe, which is one of many from all over the city that take part in the annual January 2 carnival.

The Western Cape High Court has dismissed with a costs a minstrel group’s bid to overturn the City of Cape Town’s decision not to fund it.

The judgment on Tuesday December 19 backed the City’s refusal to support the Cape Town Minstrel Carnival Association (CTMCA), which has a long history of organising the “Tweede Nuwe Jaar” carnival.

The City had denied the CTMCA funding and the use of the Athlone Stadium, citing its alleged “non-compliance” with event by-laws and legislation.

JP Smith, mayoral committee member for safety and security, and social services, said the City was pleased with the judgment and felt vindicated.

“We were adamant from the very beginning that the allegations against the City were baseless. Today’s judgment is a clear indication, once again, that our administrative processes are fair, just and sound.

“I think it’s time for the CTMCA to stop politicising the matter. It is not about them as an association but the troupes who they represent. As we have stated many times, the event is not about a particular organisation. It is a long-standing tradition in the lives of whole communities that come out in large numbers to support their loved ones who participate,” said Mr Smith.

Mr Smith said the CTMCA needed to work with the Kaapse Klopse Karnival Association (KKKA)as other associations had participated over the years when the CTMCA had run the event.

The KKKA had organised the event last year and it “went well”, said Mr Smith.

“We expect the same this year. We are working with the event organisers to make sure that this is the best minstrels event yet, which is the most powerful way we can support and honour this cultural tradition.”

CTMCA chief executive Kevin Momberg said: “Those wishing to remove us from the equation have succeeded. They are stealing away our sports, and we hope they are satisfied because more than
30000 people are going to suffer because of this.”

KKKA director Muneeb Gambeno said they wanted to return the carnival to the people and showcase the communities who “live and drive the carnival” as the true heroes of the event.

He said they remained open to all troupes and the road march was free. – Additional reporting by the Cape Times.