Free State artists vow to intensify protests against corruption at PACOFS

Nathi Mthethwa
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Artists in the Free State have vowed to intensify their protests until action is taken against those implicated in the allegations of corruption at the Performing Arts Council of the Free State (PACOFS).

A group of artists have been protesting at the PACOFS offices in Bloemfontein. They, among others, demand the axing of PACOFS acting Chief Executive Officer, Meshack Xaba.

Free State CCIFSA Coordinator, Mbuyiselo Nqodi, says they want decisive intervention from government.

“Premier came to us later on at the end of the meeting she commissioned for artists in the Free State. We are not interested in the R2 million the department of arts and culture must deal with how that money is disbursed. We are going to overlook and see what they have done. We are going to follow it up, but we are not interested in that money. They made it clear that the money is not coming to us. We are here focused about the issue of Morar report and cleaning PACOFS,” Nqondi says.

One of the protesting artists, Lydia Mokhele, says they also demand the release of the investigation report into allegations of corruptions at the centre.

“We are not happy at all. What we want to see happening is the CEO taken out of this place … and then our demands that were promised to be met. We were promised that by the 18th that there will be action but it has not been taken.”

Another artist, Pheelo Mokhele, says the Arts and Culture Department should intervene.

“Art administration is governed by people who don’t even understand art administration. It is govern by people why are not artists, who are not practitioners themselves. When we have to change legislation we have to deal with who are in the offices (sic). When we go to inductions people have to be asked certain questions like ‘what is it you are going to be contributing to the sector, to the creative sector? How are you going to change the creative sector? People should not be hired in clubs or backrooms. This an intelligent sector (sic).”

Arts and Culture Minister, Nathi Mthethwa, has instructed the PACOFS Council to investigate the allegations. The council says it is awaiting artists’ response.

Artists cry foul after struggling to access COVID-19 relief fund: