The Mangaung African Cultural Festival (MACUFE) is underway in Bloemfontein following a two-year break. That’s despite a court action by the losing bidder who claimed that the government had manipulated processes to favour the event organiser, C-Squared.
The 23rd edition of MACUFE is in full swing. However, the return of the festival has not been without controversy. A losing bidder has taken the event organisers and government to court.
DS Consortium claims the adjudication process was riddled with irregularities. They want the High Court to nullify the multi-million rand event management contract involving government and C-Squared.
Regardless of the difficulties, C-Kagisho Squared’s Lekhu says they anticipate a successful Macufe.
“With the stats of ticket sales it shows that people are keen, are looking forward to Macufe despite what is happening in public about the court,”
The MEC for Sport, Arts, and Culture, Limakatso Mahasa, says 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 has 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.
Municipal spokesperson Qondile Khedama says they are ready for the event.
“There’s always a spin-off when there is a big event coming into the city, so as host city we will always make sure we give them the necessary support in a form of services, “he said.
However, the event has not been welcomed by all as some say the festival does not benefit the province.
“Macufe is only benefiting artists out of the province, everything if you can check, 90% its import out of the province. What about our artists, I’m not interested in Macufe because everything that was prepared, was not prepared the way we are used to, it was prepared differently,”
The civic movement, the Mangaung Concerned Community, claims that MACUFE does not benefit locals. Their view has been echoed by supporters of the now-defunct Bloemfontein Celtic. Aggrieved parties have mobilised the public to boycott the event. The High Court is yet to deliver judgment in the ongoing legal dispute.