Papa Penny slams those who claim artists' federation 'mishandled' R15m

14 May 2019 - 07:00 By CHRIZELDA KEKANA
Papa Penny resigned from CCIFSA earlier this year.
Papa Penny resigned from CCIFSA earlier this year.
Image: Supplied

Former deputy president of the Cultural & Creative Industries Federation of SA (CCIFSA) and Tsonga disco icon Papa Penny Penny has slammed artists that have accused the organisation of having "mishandled" a R15m grant allocated to it by the arts and culture department.

City Press reported on Sunday that veteran artists, such as Mercy Pakela and Eugene Mthethwa, are accusing CCIFSA of not using the money to fulfill the full purpose of the organisation.

However, Papa Penny, who was the federations' deputy president until he resigned in February, had a different take on the matter and wanted to make it clear that he wasn't aware of any "mishandling" of funds.

"I'm no longer part of that organisation. I only know that CCIFSA got funding in 2015 and later in 2017. As far as I know, the money was used to not only run the organisation but ensure that all the relevant meetings across South Africa are held and all the items on the agenda that needed financial attention received it.

"It cost money to have meetings, to plan things, etc. I know nothing about 'mishandling' money. We also submitted (financial) reports to the department every year, so whoever has doubts should check those," Papa Penny told TshisaLIVE.

CCIFSA is the controlling body set up with the assistance of the Department of Arts and Culture for cultural and creative sectors in South Africa. It's a non-profit company meant to promote and develop the social and economic interests of the cultural and creative industries and to act as the controlling body for these sectors.

Papa Penny told TshisaLIVE that he had been privileged to serve in the company because for him it was all about ensuring that the legacy of the arts industry is taken care of. He said, after the initial funding in 2015, the organisation only got funding again in 2017.

He also denied all allegations that the organisation abused any of its grant allocations and said that it was all just petty politics and part of the reason why he resigned in February 2018.

"The problem came with people who wanted to use the platform to politic. The problem with artists is that they are fuelled by poverty or the fear of poverty. They think that once you get a title on a board or in a company that automatically means that you are rich. That was not the case here. Positions don't come with money and I wasn't serving in the federation for money anyway."