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Pandemic keeps MACUFE on hold

Staff Reporter

The popular Mangaung African Cultural Festival (MACUFE) will not take place for the second time in as many years due to the COVID-19 pandemic but will be replaced by a smaller outdoor event.

Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation MEC Limakatso Mahasa says the annual 10-day event which was cancelled last year following the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country will not take place again this year as it remains risky to hold events that attract large crowds.

Delivering her budget vote speech in Koppies on Tuesday, Mahasa said the event will mainly feature music and comedy.

“. . . to keep the spirit of MACUFE alive, we are going to host an Outdoor Open-Air Musical and Cultural Festival in the Mangaung Metro in October 2021,” she said.

Her department has been allocated about R638.5 million for the 2021/22 financial year, an amount she says is a massive drop from the anticipated figure to enable it to implement its numerous programmes.

According to Mahasa, the department now operates within a very tight fiscal environment following the budget cuts.

“The current dispensation is one of having to do more with less . . . Over-reliance on Conditional Grants by the department continues to be a (limiting) factor,” she said.

The MEC said while the department strives to ensure maximising of its revenue generation capabilities, the prevailing environment of COVID-19 restrictions has made it difficult for that to happen.

“Our facilities through which revenue used to be generated have been closed from the public. Mass public events have been prevented. This has impacted on revenue generating events such as MACUFE, OR Tambo Marathon and so on,” she said, adding, the department will continue to explore alternative revenue-generating avenues for the industry.

Mahasa said the department has embarked on another drive to provide relief to artists through a R2 million allocation.

A similar relief effort has also been earmarked for athletes and sport practitioners to the tune of R3.2 million

The amount is the remaining portion of the R6.5 million set aside for the relief of athletes.

The MEC said to further preserve the country’s heritage, history and celebrate struggle heroines, Hoffman Square along Charlotte Maxeke Street in Bloemfontein will be renamed Charlotte Maxeke Park, subject to relevant consultative and legislative processes.

The statue of Maxeke will also be erected in the park.

To date, the three-metre bronze statue of struggle icon Fezile Dabi has been completed while that of Albertina Sisulu will be ready in the first half of this year.

“These statues will be unveiled this year. Mama Sisulu’s statue will be installed and unveiled in Welkom . . . The statue of Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela will be built in the new financial year and will be installed in Majwemasweu/Brandfort,” said Mahasa.

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