Sports Awards a big bore
An unseemly spat over money and behind-the-scenes chaos at the South African Sports Awards led to the event being slammed as “disastrous”.
Two weeks before last Sunday’s glitzy televised event held at the Sandton Convention Centre, the company subcontracted to stage the show pulled out because it had not been paid.
Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula seemed prepared for what he was about to see.
“This is not how I wanted the sports awards to be, but because we are here today, let’s enjoy it.”
Afterwards, despite what was clearly not the greatest show on earth, he put on a brave face, saying: “I am happy … everything went according to plan.”
This year’s sports awards were off to an inauspicious start when Mbalula was forced to cancel a plan to bring out US superstar Beyoncé to perform at a reported R17 million cost, which sparked a public outcry.
The drama continued last month when First Son Entertainment Solutions pulled out because they were “owed money” by C-Squared Productions, the company the department hired to put the event together.
Owner of First Son, King Phathudi-Mphahlele, admitted to pulling out, but refused to say how much they were owed.
His email read: “We pulled out on 21 October because C-Squared Productions was supposed to pay us for organising the nominee(s) party at Gold Reef City before the finale even took the stage.”
Later Phathudi-Mphahlele said C-Squared missed the first payment deadline as well as the second on October 22.
Ben Moseme, C-Squared owner, refused to reveal why his company failed to pay up.
“The matter is between King and myself, and it would be unprofessional to discuss this.”
The resulting shambles included rugby legend Joost van der Westhuizen not being invited, despite being one of six recipients of the Steve Tshwete Lifetime Achievement Award.
Then there were the musicians contracted to perform – including rapper JR Bogopa, Jack Parow, The Muffinz and Die Heuwels Fantasties – who were dropped three days before the event.
Unlike the sports minister, the viewers didn’t believe “everything was going according to plan”.
Viewer Sbongile Mafu took to Twitter to say: “The hosts (Carol Tshabalala and Robert Marawa) are awkward.
The presenters are awkward. The winners are awkward.”