The City of Cape Town says it has not approved plans for the staging of the annual Cape Town Pride Festival.
This after fans expressed mixed reactions to the news that the event will go ahead this year despite the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to organiser Matthew van As, the event which attracts up to 20 000 people, will take place at the Green Point Track in March.
Van As said he was “willing” to work with authorities to keep the event in line with regulations, and thus plans to break up the festival into “20-odd” smaller events that he plans to host over the period of one month.
Making the announcement on Cape Town Pride Festival Facebook page on Tuesday, he said: “Cape Town Pride was lucky to be one of the last Prides, worldwide, to happen in 2020 - and we are grateful that our vibrant community got to shine as a beacon of hope for the rest of the World. So back to the question: is Cape Town Pride 2021 going to happen? The simple answer is - YES!”
This evoked mixed reactions on social media.
Catherine Nawel simply said: “Julle dan jars!!!”
Darren Visagie said: “Keeping thousands of attendees safe while expecting everyone to adhere to proper Covid protocol? Seems impossible. Alcohol, the wearing of masks in the hot blazing sun, and live performances is a recipe for disaster.”
Jo-Ann Michell Bailey was happy that the event is going ahead and said: “So glad this is still happening and that you are making sure it will be safe for everyone! It is something my wife and I look forward to every year! You guys are rock stars.”
According to Van As, Cape Town Pride is still going to lead up to the main festival day with community-based events “to engage and enthral”.
All events are going to either be live-streamed or packaged after the event for viewing for those members of the public who are at risk.
The show organisers are adding a Pride Market Day, a couple of Pride Drive-In Movie Nights plus a socially-distanced awards dinner and inaugural fashion week.
He said this year’s theme is You Matter, in honour of everyone who felt lost, alone and forgotten during lockdown.Van As claimed he had the support of the City, saying: “Cape Town Pride is working closely with the City of Cape Town to make sure all regulations are followed and that everyone is going to be kept safe in whatever we do.”
But the City’s Executive Director for Safety and Security, Richard Bosman, denies this.
“The Event Permit Office has received a permit application from the event organiser, however there’s no approval granted.
“The office has not had any discussions with the event organiser as all meetings with external parties have been called off as part of Covid-19 directives,” said Bosman.
“It is also important to note that the City is guided by national state of disaster regulations which currently stipulate that all indoor and outdoor gatherings are prohibited under the adjusted Level 3.”
But Van As insists he has consulted with City official Daniel Razant: “Cape Town Pride submitted their Events Application in November 2020 with the City of Cape Town.
“At the time we received the City Covid regulations that we’ll follow to the letter.
“We are definitely not going to be having a huge 20 000 person event like we do every year - it’s just not possible in the time of a pandemic.
“So if the government says we can have 10 people - we will have 10 people and live-stream the event.”