BULAWAYO songstress Sandra Ndebele’s quest to use the Large City Hall for free to launch her album has suffered a setback with the Bulawayo City Council turning down her request citing financial constraints.
The nimble-footed songbird, who is also the brand ambassador for Mpilo Central Hospital, plans to launch her latest album on August 1.
According to a latest council report, Ndebele sought council approval to use the facilities for free.
“We write to apply for sponsorship to use the Large City Hall for launching Sandra’s forthcoming album on the 1st of August 2014,” part of the letter sent to council on May 13 reads.
“Sandra has just released an album which relates to social relations and the community, and as the custodians of the city we are seeking your assistance in the form of donating the Large City Hall for this event.
“We will acknowledge your participation in this event on all our posters, banners and flyers and you will benefit from the visibility in the upscale audience which will attend the launch. It is also an opportunity for the city to help local artistes as they seek to re-establish Bulawayo as the hub of the arts industry in Zimbabwe.
“Sandra Ndebele Sibindi has just been named the ambassador of Mpilo Central Hospital. Your support will also contribute to her service to Mpilo Central Hospital in alleviating the plight of many that require the services of the hospital. As we all support Sandra Ndebele we save a life!
“We look forward to a favourable response and thank you in anticipation” part of the letter adds.
The application was circulated among various council departments for input.
Senior public relations officer, Nesisa Mpofu said: “The noble objective to raise funds for the rehabilitation of Mpilo Hospital is commendable. This is a community effort that requires council’s support as other stakeholders such as Bulawayo United Residents Association, NGOs and the corporate sector are also involved in the project.
“Any meaningful support that council can give towards this project is supported.”
The director of housing and community services Isaiah Magagula said the revenue accrued in the hire of council halls assisted in the maintenance and refurbishment of such facilities.
“However, in view of the charitable aspect highlighted in this instance, council might consider granting a small rebate as its contribution in this cause.”
But the chamber secretary department objected to the request.
“This application is not supported as it appears to be a commercial launch of an album. This should attract normal charges for the City Hall,” the department said.
“In the past, council had not acceded to requests for free use of its facilities except in the case of national events such as Independence and Heroes Day celebrations. However, charitable organisations had from time to time been granted small rebates on individual merit basis eg 25%, 50%, 75% etc.
“The normal hire charge for the purposes applied for was $1 924,20 (VAT inclusive), plus 50% refundable deposit for the Large City Hall”.
Subsequently, Ndebele’s request was rejected by councillors.