Somizi Mhlongo was a slap in the face. The department insists Somizi was not paid

Somizi Mhlongo was a slap in the face. The department insists Somizi was not paid

It’s drama galore once again in ZAlebville and Somizi is at the center of it. There was public outrage after the Tourism department announced that there would be a ministerial cookoff between Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane and media personality and “chef” Somizi Mhlongo.

This event was supposed to revive South Africa’s tourism industry ahead of the budget vote 2021, held last month. But it has now been made public knowledge that it was an epic fail.

The event was held at Shimza’s Hang Awt restaurant in Tembisa which sparked more outrage, making people question how did he get the tender. The big question was, “was it necessary?” and the minister tried to make people see the reason for the event.

“I will [be] hosting this event with ⁦@somizi & actually request those who criticize this event to go and check Celebrity Cook shows which is a global trend. We commit to work with all SAns in rebuilding the Tourism Sector,” she said but her explanation fell on deaf ears.
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Twitter image cred: Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane

Somizi will be the guest on the investigative talk show called Checkpoint where he will be questioned about the necessity of the event and whether he was paid for it. According to Daily Sun, the event costed the government R150 000 but insist it was for other expenses and that Somgaga was not paid.

In the clip shared by eNCA though, Somizi admits that he was indeed paid but would not disclose the amount he received.

A journalist asks a member of the tourism industry how much did Somizi get paid and he responds, “He didn’t get a cent.” Then in a virtual interview, the journalist asks Somizi how much he got paid then he exclaimed and said, “I don’t owe anyone that explanation.”

The journalist reiterates that these were public funds and the public deserves to know, how much did he get paid. “I did send them an invoice,” admits Somizi. He then advises the Checkpoint team to ask them how much they paid him.

“The ministerial cook-off was meant to boost tourism but sparked public outrage. Businesses say the event featuring Somizi Mhlongo was a slap in the face. The department insists Somizi was not paid, but the entertainer says otherwise,” eNCA captioned their clip.

Speaking to Daily Sun was DA shadow minister of tourism, Hlanganani Gumbi, who said the expenditure was totally unnecessary and did not help revive the tourism industry.

“This expenditure was completely unnecessary, wasteful, and does nothing to help the tourism industry get back on its feet after the government-led lockdown. Instead, what it does is promote the minister and her public profile at the taxpayers’ cost,” said Gumbi.

The minister then reveals that he had questioned minister Ngubane about where exactly did the R150 000 go. Responding to him, she explained that it covered the venue, the mobile kitchen, the food, paid for staff members on that day, ensured safety, sound system etc.

She makes no mention of how much was Somizi paid, saying it was for the departments benefit, not his.