Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi says the R500,000 paid to gospel great Dr Tumi to put together a concert was “too little”.
This after the Sunday Times reported that Dr Tumi was paid R500,000 by the Gauteng department of sports, arts, culture and recreation for organising a two-hour virtual prayer service.
It reported the artist, whose real name is Tumisang Makweya, had proposed the service because spirits in the country were low at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The service was aired by DStv channel GauTV, the publication reported.
The report stated the service attracted a little more than 1700 viewers on YouTube.
The report saw South Africans taking to social media in defence of the musician, saying the money was not enough to cover all the costs of the productions.
The hashtag #HandsOffDrTumi trended as a result.
According to Ndlozi, the department should have injected more money into the project.
“No! R500K for this TV production? It is way too little! That means they performed for free! Dr Tumi and the line up in that concert deserved and should demand more money. R500K is way too little for the line up in that production. R500K should be for Dr Tumi alone! It means government actually underpaid and exploited these artists and that is what should be a scandal,” said Ndlozi.
— Dr Tumi (@DrTumi_) February 9, 2021
‘Report is misleading’
In response, the department confirmed that Dr Tumi was contracted for a variety of services in preparation for a live television concert.
It entailed a full production and performances by the country’s most renowned artists, including Benjamin Dube and Lebo Sekgobela.
In a statement released on Sunday, the department said the report was misleading and insinuated the R500,000 was directly paid to the artist.
It added the report was “intentionally misleading the public by undermining the input that goes into putting together a TV production with many performances. And mischievously only counts YouTube viewers when in fact this was a live TV production on DStv, which was further syndicated to our social media platforms; YouTube being one of them”.
The department said the market rate for such celebrated artists was far beyond what they had charged, but they had put the TV production together and performed at “a reasonable cost for the benefit of society”.
It added a sum of the costs went into the production and securing television space because the artists had volunteered their services.
“It’s therefore insulting for the paper to disregard the inherent costs entailed in putting together a TV production, and to reduce the input to a mere two hours.
“This thoughtlessness for the work of artists exposes how the arts continue to be undermined and treated as a by-the-way instead of a profession.”
According to the Sunday Times report, Dr Tumi said R166,000 was allocated for a sound engineer, two camera operators, lighting technician and an outdoor broadcast van, while R150,000 was for the performers and R33,000 for pre-production costs.
The department thanked Dr Tumi, who is a medical doctor by profession, for his services and also hailed him for his free medical service during the pandemic.