Nathi Mthethwa responds to petition calling for his resignation
The ministry claims the department is fast-tracking a third phase of relief funding for the arts and entertainment industry ...
In the wake of a petition started by disgruntled artists in SA, calling for the resignation of sport, arts and culture minister Nathi Mthethwa, the minister has issued an apology for his “offensive” tweet which sparked the outcry.
The online petition, #NathiMustGO, was launched on Tuesday afternoon and has been signed by hundreds of artists from different aspects of the entertainment industry.
According to an artist who is in charge of the petition, Gregory Maqoma, who spoke to TshisaLIVE, the petition had been drawn up due to the minister's failure to help adequately fund artists during the hardships of the pandemic.
Gregory also revealed how he and other artists begged to differ with a tweet the minister shared on January 15 which stated that “South African theatre is alive and well with performing arts institutions of the department such as @ArtscapeTheatre, @MarketTheatre, @PACOFS3, @DurbanPlayhouse, @statetheatre and @WindybrowTheatr (sic) offering an array of indigenous drama and dance etc”.
Following the dissatisfaction from the artists, the minister's spokesperson Masechaba Khumalo issued a statement on Twitter, which stated that the minister wished to convey his heartfelt remorse for the tweet regarding theatre in SA.
“More so, in light of the fact that the creative sector has been the hardest hit by the pandemic. To date, the theatre industry has played an invaluable role in driving social cohesion, by bringing crucial messages to ensure that our history is not forgotten and that we continue to educate and empower our nation.”
The statement added that the department was fast-tracking a third phase of relief funding for the industry – to continue efforts to alleviate the plight of artists affected by the pandemic that's taking lives and livelihoods.
The minister's statement explained that the department had implemented the first and second phases of the Covid-19 relief fund. Nearly 5,000 practitioners were recommended for the first phase and more than R80m was paid out to the sector.
“In the second phase and as of December 14 2020, over R2m was paid out to practitioners in the sector.” It said 3,658 practitioners benefited from the Solidarity Fund, with a total of nearly R9m paid out. Millions were also paid out through a partnership with the department of small business development.
You can read the full statement below: