The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development has cancelled hosting the 2023 South African Music Awards (SAMAs). The Democratic Alliance and ActionSA had been opposed to government’s R20 million funding for the event. ActionSA even wrote to President Cyril Ramaphosa asking for his intervention to stop the event.
The annual SAMAs are the largest and most prestigious awards in the country’s music industry. While the event attracts tourists, it also boosts local hospitality and the entertainment industry.
Government intended to fund the event with around R20 million. This caused uproar with opposition parties questioning the amount of money to be spent.
“As an executive authority, having consulted widely with the executive council and other stakeholders, I have advised the department to stop the hosting of the South African Music Awards this year. Senior management has been mandated to engage with the recording industry of South Africa and report back to me as an executive authority. We will also report to the KZN executive council as the hosting of the SAMA awards was a collective decision,” says MEC Siboniso Duma.
The Department of Economic Development denies that they cancelled the event due to mounting pressure.
“The DA and ActionSA, I am sure they are just trying to play a political ploy, the letter to the president was just a curve or an opportunistic feeder because they know they don’t have a role,” Duma added.
ActionSA has welcomed the decision by the Department to cancel hosting the event.
The organiser of the SAMAs, the Recording Industry of South Africa was not available for comment.