The high court in Bloemfontein has slammed the Free State arts and culture department for concealing a critical letter relating to the legal dispute over the control of the Mangaung African Cultural Festival (Macufe).
Judge Philip Loubser says the letter, which the winning bidder C-Square wrote to the department, provides a perfect explanation of why the contract was awarded on terms outside of tender specifications.
Loubser says the department’s failure to disclose the letter in court is highly suspicious.
“The high court has declared unlawful the awarding of the Macufe contract to C-Squared. At the heart of the legal tussle is a contentious letter by C-Squared which was disclosed in court by DS Consortium through a supplementary affidavit. The letter states that C-Squared had intended to stage parallel events during Macufe and that they did not wish to compete with cultural pilgrimage. As a result of that, C-Squared suggested to the department to enter into a public-private partnership agreement. The court has, however, noted that Macufe is already in full swing and that stopping the event would have financial repercussions to many institutions and patrons.”
Earlier this week, the MEC for Sport, Arts, and Culture, Limakatso Mahasa, said they are not deterred by the pending litigation.
“Remember everyone has a right to challenge anything that they think according to them is right but I don’t think that will dent the image of Macufe.”
Macufe was halted two years ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Mangaung municipality says the event has economic spin-offs for businesses in the city.