Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa says the National Arts Council (NAC) is taking action against senior officials implicated in the mismanagement of funds.

It is reported that R300 million earmarked to be disbursed to artists during the COVID-19 pandemic has disappeared.

Artists have been camping at the NAC offices in Johannesburg and also in provinces across the country. They say they have not received a cent from the stimulus package.

Mthethwa says following the suspension of implicated officials, the Arts Council and his department will now raise funds to ensure artists receive at least something.

“Right now, as we speak, the council of NAC suspended the senior officials and paving a way of engaging other sources to try and fund the process, which has been depleted by that mismanagement.”

Hunger strike for relief funds

A hunger strike and sit-in by members of the Cultural and Creative Industries Federation of South Africa (CCIFSA) at the offices of the Northern Cape MEC of Sports, Arts and Culture in Kimberley has entered its seventh day.

Artists and performers affiliated with the federation are also staging sit-ins and hunger strikes at department district offices across the province.

Northern Cape artists march to MEC’s office to demand the release of relief funds:

The artists are demanding the disbursement of COVID-19 relief funds, the implementation of a R4 million plan to operationalise the Northern Cape theatre and the opening of music and arts and crafts hubs.

Federation Provincial Coordinator Elcardo Chulu says they have since held a brief discussion with the MEC.

“We had a visit by the MEC and she said by Thursday, she will come back to us with answers to our demands. But the comrades agreed that we still will not move from the district offices up until Thursday comes or their demands have been met.”

– Additional reporting by Neo Bodumela. 

Free State artists threaten to intensify their protests against PACOFS: