"It celebrates the freedom of the slaves," said Momberg. "The attitude [of the city authority] is 'just go back to your townships'." He believes the city has a duty to sort out the logistics. "It is our right," he said.
|The minstrels do not want to march on January 2 next year |
because it falls on a church day. (Carina Beyer)
Asked why problems around the carnival arise each year, DA councillor Belinda Walker said the applications are "unsupported by documentation" and the city and province are "not dealing with a homogenous organisation".
There are, she said, differences among the carnival associations about what they want. Walker said the carnival has grown substantially over the years. With upwards of 50 000 people, public safety is a major issue and SAPS approval is needed. The city is trying to help, she said.
Matthews and Momberg maintained that they started negotiations early in the year. Matthews said they had been ignored throughout the process. But it's not just the date that is in dispute. The exact route the carnival will take and the many costs involved -- such as who will bear what and how much -- are also at issue.
Mayor Dan Plato told the recent council meeting that the route had been agreed on November 25. But the city and the organisers appear to be at cross-purposes again -- and the carnival cannot happen without both parties agreeing.
"Not apartheid, not the [world] wars, nothing could kill off the carnival," said Matthews.