Midday Joy spoke to Sibongile Mngoma, who earlier this month led a group of 20 artists in peacefully occupying the NAC offices in Newtown, Johannesburg. The artists have been staging a sit-in since then. They have been supported daily by numerous performing artists while protesting outside the NAC.
These artists are demanding answers, on behalf of the entire industry, to crucial questions on the funding irregularities connected to the Presidential Economic Stimulus Package (PESP).
Listen to the full conversation here:
Artist taking the National Arts Council to task
Mngoma spoke about how the sit-ins started as a concern and ended up lifting the veil on serious corruption happening in the National Arts Council (NAC).
“What has happened to the rest of the money and why isn’t it getting to people it’s meant for? Why are people losing their homes, and why are people losing their cars and why are creatives selling their equipment instead of actioning these projects that were supposed to resuscitate their economic status of the cultural and the creative industry?”
Image by Creative Survivor SA | Facebook
No clarity on who has been paid
According to The National Arts Council, over R37,7-million has been paid to creatives. However, there seems to be no clarity as to who these artists are and there’s limited information about artsist who have been approved who are waiting to be paid. Mngoma expressed her disappointment in the transparency of the process.
“We want to know who’s been approved and for what amount, so that whoever has been approved can be accommodated. That’s why we are sitting ina situation where it seems to me like they are spinning this thing, there’s a lot of spin-doctoring happening from the National Council.”
Minister says the money was stolen
Earlier this month, the Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture publicly admitted that funds to the value of R300 million were mismanaged adding that he is profusely sorry about what was happening in the NAC offices.
Watch the video here:
Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa
“Funds were availed but funds were mismanaged. To the value of R300 million”
Basically the department is broke
— Nqobile Ndlovu (@TurkishNabs) March 20, 2021
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