Five former National Arts Council members implicated in R300m fund mismanagement
The money was meant to be used to relieve the plight of artists and creatives during the Covid-19 pandemic
Five former National Arts Council (NAC) members have been implicated in a R300m funds bungle, arts and culture minister Nathi Mthethwa said on Monday.
The R300m was meant to be used to relieve the plight of artists and creatives during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The sector was one of the hardest hit by the lockdown regulations as it was forced to shut down. Despite some respite with now-eased restrictions, the industry could again get hit if another wave of the virus hits the country approaching the traditionally lucrative festive season.
The funds in question were part of the Presidential Employment Stimulus Package (PESP), which saw Mthethwa's department receive more than R500m last year.
Mthethwa said after the appointment of a new council in January this year, a NAC external adjudication panel member wrote a letter to him detailing allegations of mismanagement and maladministration of the funds.
After the claims of mismanagement of the PESP, NAC council members launched an independent forensic inquiry on July 29.
The investigation was completed and shared with Mthethwa on September 17. The investigation pointed out wrongdoing, maladministration and mismanagement in the implementing of the stimulus package.
“The report further clearly identifies the individuals responsible and who are to be held accountable,” the minister said.
Mthethwa said among the five NAC officials, two of them were “still around” while three are no longer with the council.
“They violated the National Arts Council act, they violated their own meeting in their own council, where they resolved that they would remain an oversight structure, but they didn’t do that. They went and became adjudicators and got paid for that.
“The two who remain, I have already written to them and given them a week to state their side of the story,” Mthethwa said.