Minister Nathi Mthethwa Slams Reports That R300 Million Has Gone Missing From National Arts Council. In October 2020, the National Arts Council invited artists, athletes and recreation professions to apply for the Presidential Employment Stimulus Programme. The programme was introduced to assist practitioners and their projects as well as companies that incurred losses (actual and planned/existing, new and those that were at concept stage) during the COVID-19 lockdown period.
The presidential stimulus package was allocated to the National Arts Council in September last year as part of the department’s R665 million allocation for Covid-19 relief for the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture. By December 2020, more than 1,000 successful applicants had received contracts for the funding. Unfortunately this programme is surrounded by controversy, with some applicants and beneficiaries criticizing the council for slow payments while members of the arts and culture sector also claiming that there was corruption within the National Arts Council. There has also bee a trending issue that about R300 million of the funds allocated has gone missing.
But, according to Minister of Sport, Arts & Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, the funds are not missing, but they had been over-allocated by more than double, totaling R611 million in contract allocations from the R300 million budget. He said the funds are currently being disbursed.
“There are false reports about R300 million that has gone missing from the National Arts Council @nacsouthafrica . This is not true. The NAC was provided with R300 million which is being disbursed but they overallocated these funds causing a shortfall. #DSACMediaBriefing” Mthethwa said.
The board of the National Arts Council has suspended CEO Rosemary Mangope and CFO Clifton Changfoot pending an investigation into alleged mismanagement of a R300 million presidential Covid-19 stimulus fund that was set up to rescue the sector last year.