Events management companies in Limpopo have lodged a criminal complaint over “double standards” following an ANC rally attended by hundreds of residents that was held in Polokwane over the weekend ahead of by-elections.

Sharif Baker from TPSA and SA Events Council said a formal complaint has been lodged with the provincial commissioner of Limpopo over concerns about the rally.

The group is concerned hundreds of residents were at the event that was not in line with Covid-19 protocols.

Level 1 Covid-19 protocols have limited the number of people allowed at gatherings to 500 for outside events and 250 for indoor events.

The event was held at Luthuli Sports Grounds in ward 14 in Polokwane and was filled with popular performers, as advertised on the poster.

Baker said the decision to hold a rally was unfair, especially as sectors of the entertainment industry had been prevented from hosting large gatherings.

“We as the TPSA, SACIA and SA Events Council have lodged a complaint with the SAPS, in particular with the provincial Commissioner of Limpopo, Lieutenant-General Nneke Ledwaba. We are absolutely disgusted at what has happened.

He said “It’s a smack in the face for the lives at stake, and literally a smack in the face of us in events who are abiding by the law”.

Baker also said “This event has taken place where thousands of people did not follow a protocol whatsoever while the live events industry starve”.

“We have not left this alone and have been in communication with Nkosinathi Emmanuel ‘Nathi’ Mthethwa, the Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture while copying in Khumbudzo Phophi Silence Ntshavheni, the Minister of Small Business Development, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane the Minister of Tourism, and the Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, as this matter speaks to all aspects of our industry, both live and business events.

Baker added that “The live events industry, which affects a range of companies and individuals from technical suppliers and freelancers to event co-ordinators, has suffered during the Covid-19 period, and while virtual and hybrid events are slowly beginning to take place again, it’s hardly sufficient to put bread on the table”.