SABC pulls the plug on Cape Town Jazz Festival

A week ahead of the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, the national broadcaster has announced that it will not be a media sponsor at the event. 

“The South African Broadcasting Corporation has after extensive deliberations and careful consideration on the cost benefit of its sponsorship for the Cape Town International Jazz Festival decided not to participate as a media partner for this year’s event,” according to SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago on Tuesday afternoon.

The jazz festival, which is celebrating its 16th birthday, is one of the country’s largest music events, features a line-up of international line-up and attracts almost 40 000 people over the weekend.

Speaking to the Mail & Guardian, Kganyago dispelled rumours that after three years as the media sponsor, the SABC announcement was suddenly broken to ESPafrika – the events  management company that producers the jazz festival. “This is not true, the main reason [that the SABC is no longer a media sponsor] was that we had a three year contract with [ESP]” and it had come to an end this year, he said. And added that finances are also not a reason the SABC is not partnering up with the festival.

The SABC was the official broadcasting partner of the festival, while Independent News & Media is its print partner. “The corporation and the organisers of this festival, which is on international standard have enjoyed years of a successful partnership. However, for this year’s upcoming event both parties could not agree on certain terms and conditions during negotiations,” said Kganyago.

When asked whether the SABC were paying the jazz festival to be a sponsor, Kganyago said he could not divulge that information because there were “confidentially clauses in the contract”.

“It’s not a big deal,” Billy Domingo, the festival’s director, told the M&G. Reiterating Kganyago’s statement, the Cape Town International co-founder enthused: “We’re negotiating [a new contract] for 2016. We have a good relationship with the SABC but time just caught up with us.”

Despite the broadcaster and the festival team not working together next year, Kganyago said the “SABC will commence negotiations for the 2016 Cape Town International Jazz Festival soon [and that it] will continue to partner with organisers whose events have a strategic fit to our broadcasting mandate”.

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