Cape Town’s festive season will be ushered in with a grand soirée accompanied by bright Christmas lights, costing the City R4.5-million.
Each year thousands of people are attracted to the festive season bash that offers free music and performances as well as the switching on of the lights by the mayor.
This year, incoming mayor, Dan Plato, will have the honour of switching on the lights and outgoing mayor, Patricia De Lille has approved the hefty budget for the auspicious occasion.
A big pull for the event every year is its free entrance, but some Capetonians feel the high spend is unnecessary in this time of economic struggle.
“The annual festive lights switch-on is an institution in Cape Town that resonates with residents from across the city, as well as national and international tourists. The festive lights concert on the iconic Grand Parade is a free open-air event which continues to grow each year, drawing close to 100 000 people annually,” De Lille told IOL.
Stop City Of Cape Town (CoCT) action group founder, Sandra Dickson, raised concerns that it is too much to spend for just one night.
“There are serious problems in our city and we are dealing with people who cannot even pay their water accounts, let alone put food on the table, R4.5m is a bit of a stretch. The lights will be switched on, that is about the only significance of the event. Why spend R4.5m? That’s a bit of a push, given all the financial challenges we face in the city,” Dickson said.
Despite concerns raised De Lille is standing fast that the event is an important opportunity to showcase local and international talent.
De Lille says the chosen theme this year is Cape Town, City of Inspiration, celebrating Madiba’s centenary.
“It is an opportunity for Capetonians and everyone joining us to ‘be the legacy’,” she said.