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National Arts Council vows to distribute R300m stimulus fund by end of March

Artists have staged a sit-in at the council's offices in Newtown demanding that the funds be paid.

Picture: nac.org.za

DURBAN - The National Arts Council (NAC) has on Thursday promised to distribute all R300 million of the presidential employment stimulus programme funds by the end of March.

Artists have staged a sit-in at the council's offices in Newtown demanding that the funds be paid.

The council was supposed to approve and distribute the money by the end of December for projects meant to be completed by the end of March but there have been delays.

Only about R30 million has been distributed so far.

The National Arts Council was entrusted to distribute the presidential stimulus funds on behalf of the Department of Sports Arts and Culture in a bid to support artists during COVID-19.

Local opera artist, Sibongile Mngoma has been taking part in the sit-in at the NAC offices in Newtown.

She has accused the council of failing to deliver on its mandate.

“The president needs to intervene now because the minister will not intervene, he hasn’t been able to intervene in any sense since this lockdown.”

NAC spokesperson Tshepo Mashiane said the delays were due to failure by old council members to complete the distribution process.

He said, however, new council members who began serving in January this year were working hard to resolve the matter.

“I am definitely sure that by 31 March, everyone who has been approved must have been paid.”

Mashiane said new council members have found that some applicants were overpaid while others did not receive money due to them and this was being investigated.

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