Court tells artists and creatives to leave National Arts Council office

09 April 2021 - 16:48
Thami AkaMbongo and Sibongile Mngoma protesting inside the National Arts Council premises in Newtown, Johannesburg. A high court has ordered the protesters to leave the area.
Thami AkaMbongo and Sibongile Mngoma protesting inside the National Arts Council premises in Newtown, Johannesburg. A high court has ordered the protesters to leave the area.
Image: ANTONIO MUCHAVE/SOWETAN

The Pretoria high court has ordered the artists, creatives, heritage sector workers and cultural workers who have camped outside the National Arts Council (NAC) in Johannesburg to leave.

The artists were sitting-in at the NAC’s offices for a month to protest about an alleged lack of transparency in the allocation of R300m from the presidential employment stimulus programme.

Artists were supposed to come up with projects that reimagined audience interaction within the arts, culture and heritage and the creation of new paradigms for viewing and understanding the place of the arts during the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, the money is now unaccounted for.

Creatives submitted their proposals and those that were approved had to conclude their projects.

Their protest came after many of those who did the work were allegedly not paid.

The artists, under the banner of the "Abahlali-based National Arts Council", however, say they will not listen to the court order.

"Abahlali-based NAC have decided that we will follow the example of the NAC. They ignore legally binding documents like contracts. So we will ignore the order to vacate because we have not done anything wrong. We are still looking for answers," the grouping said.

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