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Sun Sep 25 10:53:28 SAST 2016

Durban councillors got Minaj tickets - for R1.7 million

MATTHEW SAVIDES | 23 March, 2016 07:07
Singer/Rapper Nicki Minaj. File photo.
Image by: MARIO ANZUONI / REUTERS

Controversy over Sunday's Nicki Minaj concert in Durban is refusing to go away, as it has emerged that it was the only city to have forked out for the South African leg of Minaj's Pinkprint tour.

The concert cost the eThekwini municipality R1.7-million, which covered the cost to hire the Moses Mabhida Stadium, outdoor advertising, marketing, infrastructure and logistics. It emerged at the weekend that tickets were made available to the city's 205 councillors for the Sunday night concert. DA councillors refused to accept the free tickets.

The City of Cape Town confirmed that it did not make any financial contribution to Minaj's performance, which took place at Grand West Casino last night.

Johannesburg municipal leaders confirmed that the municipality "did not pay any money to bring Nicki Minaj. The show was organised by private promoters and they paid all the costs of the show".

On Friday, before the Durban gig, councillors received the following message: "Good afternoon Cllrs. kindly collect Nicki Minaj tickets from Speaker's Office. Collection closes at 16h50 today, 18/03/2016."

A later message said the tickets were available on a "first come, first served" basis. It is unclear how many tickets were made available but the DA's Heinz de Boer was adamant that no one from his party took up the offer.

"We strongly objected to the city spending R1.7-million on the concert, which was double the cost for the Chris Brown concert [in April 2015], and we even objected to that amount. These are wealthy artists who come here with US dollars, and should pay for their own stadium hire and advertising.

"As a caucus we took a conscious decision not to attend the concert in protest."

eThekwini spokesman Tozi Mthethwa said the tickets were made available to the city as part of the partnership agreement with the event organisers.

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