The long-planned Thank You SABC concert received a very low turnout and organizers blamed it on the lack of sponsorship.
The SABC concert, which took place on Saturday at the 40 000 capacity Orlando stadium in Soweto, Johannesburg, had barely 1000 people in attendance, leaving the broadcaster with a difficult task of footing the bills of invited musicians at the concert
Speaking on the low turnout of people, one of the organizers, singer and songwriter Mzwakhe Mbuli said this was as a result of the ticket fee which was supposed to be for free.
The ticket was sold for R100 in order to help pay up the bills of the invited artistes.
“We had initially hoped the event would be free because it was celebrating an important milestone in the history of South Africa, where our own music is receiving the most airplay on SABC for the first time in 22 years,” Mbuli said.
The costly concert featured a long line-up of South African artistes. However, not all the artistes that were expected to perform at the controversial event were present as some of them claimed they had not been paid their performance fees on time.
Mbuli also admitted some artists were still to be paid and that the event’s organizers were now swimming in debt.
He however, noted that revellers would not have been charged to see their favorite artists perform live had many sponsors supported the event.
“It was tough having to raise funds because some of the artists would charge something in the region of R120 000 and we had no choice but to ask them to reduce their performance fees,” Mbuli said.
“Planning the event was far more difficult than hosting it. We are still owing Orlando Stadium some money for staging and hosting the event there because they charge for an array of things, ranging from stadium lights, emergency services to the bigger part of the venue, which is the pitch.”
Meanwhile, the DA had earlier criticized the public broadcaster for “spending millions” on the concert. The party accused Motsoeneng of thanking himself for pushing for 90% local content across the channels, despite the SABC running at a loss of R1 billion.
SA’s Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa’s spokesperson Lisa Combrinck refused commenting, so also is the SABC chair, Hlaudi Motsoeneng who maintained that the SABC concert was not organized by SABC.
Like Motsoeneng, SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said the public broadcaster had no hand in the planning of the event, adding they were “just media partners”.