Apollo Theater auction must be stopped

Andrew Louw, MPL

DA Northern Cape: Provincial Leader

The Democratic Alliance is outraged that the assets of the world famous Apollo Theater in Victoria West are still due to be auctioned off to pay for the outstanding dental fees of the CEO of its holding company

The DA will make an urgent written appeal to the Department of Economic Development and the Premier, requesting that they urgently intervene and halt the pending auction, before yet another valuable piece of South African heritage is lost forever.

The DA will also request that all stakeholders involved in the management of the Apollo Theater and the now obsolete Apollo Film Festival, be summoned to appear before the relevant legislature portfolio committees early in the third quarter.

This is important because the DA has many questions with regards to the mismanagement of this entity and because the DA also wants the rights of the highly ineffective Apollo Development Association (ADA) to be relinquished.

The Economic Development Department transferred the rights of the theater and the festival to ADA, the entity responsible for the demise of this theater.

In as far back as August last year, the DA highlighted the fact that equipment belonging to the Apollo Theater was due to be auctioned off to pay for the dental fees of the CEO of the ADA, Mr Petrus Martins. At the time, his dental fees amounted to just over R1000. In response, the HOD of the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture promised to personally pay the dental fees in order to prevent projectors and chairs from being auctioned off. However, the fact that the auction has been rescheduled for 29 June, is indicative of the fact that the matter was never actually resolved. Hence the future of the Apollo Theater still hangs in the balance.

It is incomprehensible that the future of a South African landmark of international acclaim has come to this. The Apollo Theater is the only Art Deco period theater in the southern hemisphere. Up until 2009, it was world famous for playing host to the annual Apollo Film Festival. Once a year, Victoria West came to life with well known personalities in the film industry gracing the town to attend premier film screenings by new and upcoming filmmakers, the economy in turn receiving a welcome boost. The theater also served as a base from which youth were instructed in IT, catering, construction, masonry and the arts. But now this is all in the past and the Apollo Theater stands neglected and forgotten.

It’s high time that provincial government takes responsibility for the economic and cultural losses being felt by Victoria West and the entire film community, as a result of the ADA’s failings. In this regard, we expect decisive action with regards to both terminating the rights of the ADA, and rekindling the Apollo Film Festival.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *