Protesting artists claim NAC mismanaging R300m COVID-19 relief fund

Artists have been staging a sit-in at the National Arts Council (NAC)'s office in Johannesburg for the past three weeks, claiming that the funds have been mismanaged.

National Arts Council (NAC) logo. Picture: nac.org.za

CAPE TOWN - Creatives said that the National Arts Council (NAC) needed to supply a list of all those who benefited from a COVID-19 relief fund and they were demanding to know what happened to the rest of the money.

Artists have been staging a sit-in at the NAC's office in Johannesburg for the past three weeks.

Last year, the government availed R300 million to the council in the form of its Presidential Empowerment Stimulus Programme. This was aimed at employment creation and retention initiatives for artists and others in the cultural sector.

However, some artists said that the funds had been mismanaged.

A group of about 20 to 40 demonstrators has been staging a sit-in at the National Arts Council offices since the start of the month, pleading for answers.

It's been 22 days, and many of them, like actor and director, Thami aka Mbongo, have been sleeping there and they've vowed to stay until they get feedback.

“Transparency is really what we need, we want honesty. The stay-in will happen up until they come and provide the answers."

The majority have not worked since the hard lockdown was introduced a year ago.

“It’s really frustrating and painful when the government that you trust to look after the artists, but they are failing the artists."

Cape Town artists will on Saturday host performances & protest outside the Artscape theatre in solidarity with those that have held sit-ins across the country.

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