The City of Cape Town has decided to support the Mr. Gay World™ (MGW)2015 event after all, blaming its apparent earlier refusal to do so on a technical glitch.
On Friday 20 March, the producers of MGW 2015, the Globeflight Pink Loerie Mardi Gras & Arts Festival™, received an e-mail from Councillor Garreth Bloor’s office stating that their application for assistance “has not been supported,” although adding that “there is a small possibility that this might change next week…”
Councillor Bloor heads the city’s mayoral committee on tourism, events and economic development and appeared in last year’s MGW 2015 official bid video, indicating the city’s support for the event.
In response to the apparent rejection letter, the organisers said they had no choice but to announce that the MGW Grand Finale would be moved from its original venue, the Cape Town City Hall, to Knysna, which is co-hosting the week-long international event.
After Mambaonline reported on the story, Councillor Bloor set up an urgent meeting with MGW 2015 organisers. He explained that their application had not actually made it to the special events committee for approval because of a problem with receiving the e-mail.
Bloor confirmed to Mambaonline on Friday that, “Unfortunately, the application did fall through and was not received on time to be considered. The earliest the decision could be made was this week, together with the Executive Mayor…” (It still remains unclear why the e-mail from Bloor’s office was sent to the producers on 20 March.)
Bloor also offered the producers R200,000 in financial assistance to host the Grand Finale in Cape Town, an offer which they declined as they argued it would be impossible to now move the event back to the city.
He has since communicated that Cape Town will support MGW 2015 to the tune of R100,000 to help fund the other MGW events that will still take place in the city. The producers have accepted the offer.
Coenie Kukkuk, MGW Director for Africa & Middle East and Managing Director of MGW 2015, said in a statement to Mambaonline: “We thank Councilor Bloor and the City of Cape Town for supporting the event now. The scheduled events in Cape Town, like the visit to Parliament prior to the move to Knysna on the 29th of April, all stay the same. It is just the Grand Finale which will take place in Knysna.”
Bloor has rejected suggestions that the city does not support its LGBT community. “We disagree with this statement given the various other gay Pride events that take place in the City and which we support,” he said. “These are testament to our position as an inclusive city.”
Mr. Gay World 2015 will be held in both Cape Town and Knysna from 26 April to 3 May 2015. The Grand Finale, at which the winner will be chosen, will take place at the Knysna Mall Exhibition Centre on Saturday 2 May at 8pm.
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