Wings and Wheels cancellation looks set for court


The SA Air Force (SAAF) looks set to face at least one legal claim following the late decision to cancel the Wings and Wheels show scheduled for AFB Ysterplaat this weekend.

Drift Squad, the organisers of the wheels side of the event, have met with their lawyers to set in process claims for damages, both financial and in terms of “reputation loss,” the Cape Town daily Die Burger reported.

Natasha Petersen, project manager for Drift Squad, estimated their loss at at least R300 000, adding the cancellation “came as a shock”.

She told the paper they had been trying, unsuccessfully, to contact Major General Wiseman Mbambo, General Officer Commanding Air Command, since the cancellation became public last week.
“His office informs us he is out of the country. This at a time when we find ourselves having to deal with unhappy people wanting refunds. The action taken by the air force has harmed our reputation and currently the company has no idea how it is going to recover.”

There has been no official word from Air Force Command, apart from a brief statement saying showgoers who bought tickets can get refunds, on possible repayments of deposits for display space and expenses incurred to set up stands at the now canned event.

According to a SAAF statement the event had to be cancelled because, among others, Air Force Command found it difficult to reconcile the show with the SAAF’s vision and strategic outcomes.

The Ysterplaat event would have been the second at the Cape Town base and the first for Colonel Chris Stroebel, who took over command from Colonel Bill Cowan who oversaw the first Wings and Wheels show in 2011.

One of the people close to the now canned event said Stroebel was “gutted” when he had to tell base personnel and others involved of the cancellation.

Both the Western Cape provincial government and the Cape Town metro council have indicated they will be approaching the SAAF for a better explanation of the cancellation. This because it would have started the Christmas holiday season in the Mother City with an event expected to attract in the region of 60 000 visitors.