Mkhwebane steps in to mediate standoff between artists, NAC

Following public outcry, Mkhwebane and Deputy Public Protector Kholeka Gcaleka met with Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa and members of the council last week.

FILE: Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: @PublicProtector/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has stepped in to mediate the standoff between South African artists and the National Arts Council (NAC).

Following public outcry, Mkhwebane and Deputy Public Protector Kholeka Gcaleka met with Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa and members of the council last week.

The two-month-long dispute between creatives, the council and the department was over the disbursement of R300 million from the Presidential Employment Stimulus Programme and more specifically where that money had actually gone.

Artists across the country have been staging a sit-in at the National Arts Council office in Johannesburg since the beginning of March over alleged maladministration of funds.

They claimed that the money allocated for artists through the R300 million stimulus programme had disappeared.

Mkhwebane has raised concerns about a report which dealt with governance issues at the council.

The Public Protector has argued that if the council had implemented remedial action last year, they would not be in this predicament.

“We informed them that we were prepared to do an alternative resolution session, which normally would result in a settlement agreement, especially on the issues of payments.”

The artists are expected to make a written submission to the Public Protector’s office before another dispute resolution session can be held.

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