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National Arts Council mismanaged R300m intended to support artists – report

Minister instructs council to implement recommendations in forensic report, including that any funding given to people ‘inappropriately’ be recouped.
A piece created in 2018 by Pebofatso Mokoena as part of an initiative aimed at providing artists with business skills launched by the Arts and Culture Trust and JP Morgan. Image: Abadali Art Development Programme

A forensic investigation has revealed that three former and two current members of the National Arts Council (NAC) have been found guilty of ‘committing’ around R630 million in funds as part of Covid-19 financial support for artists, despite the Presidential Employment Stimulus Programme (Pesp) only allocating a budget of R300 million for the initiative.

This was confirmed on Monday during a media briefing by Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa.

Mthethwa now wants answers from the five unidentified NAC members implicated in the mismanagement of the funds that were earmarked to assist artists and boost the creative economy.

Read: Job creation through art

The investigation was launched in July after the creative sector reported multiple claims of mismanagement of the Pesp fund.

Mthethwa said the probe found instances of wrongdoing, mismanagement, overcommitting of funds and maladministration.

While the Pesp fund allocated R300 million for the initiative, 5% of this was meant to be retained by the NAC for administration purposes. The balance of R285 million for project funding was broken down into two streams – the first stream was allocated R85 million for job retention and the second stream R200 million for job creation.


The minister noted that the forensic report presented to him last week by the NAC had identified a myriad of challenges which included:

  • Applicants being approved and contracted for more funding than they applied for;
  • More than 55% of approved beneficiaries not being allocated funding; and
  • The NAC approving more beneficiaries than budgeted for.

“The forensic report found that certain individuals including senior management, staff, adjudicators and former council members of the NAC have been the main players and culprits in this,” said Mthethwa.

“We cannot as government get the blame that we do not take care of artists when we avail resources and funds for them and somebody else decides to mismanage the funds. Each and every cent of the R285 million should go to artists and will go to artists,” he promised.

“We are reiterating that without any fear or favour, we will fight any mismanagement of funds of government especially because of the difficult economic climate we find ourselves in,” added Mthethwa.

Nathi Mthethwa says the council is in the process of instituting disciplinary hearings against the implicated officials. Image: Siyabulela Duda/ GCIS

The minister has instructed the council to implement the recommendations of the forensic report. One of the recommendations includes ensuring that any funds that may have been given to people inappropriately must be recouped.

Read: Covid-19 pandemic has triggered a rise in hunger in South Africa

NAC chair Princess Celenhle Dlamini said investigators discovered several administrative failures attached to the Pesp programme, such as failure to adequately resource the Pesp project with competent staff.

“Another administrative failure relates to a lack of adequate oversight and review processes which resulted in non-compliant projects being approved, failure to meet the timelines for the delivery of the Pesp, and failure to manage and monitor the process,” she said.

However, Dlamini pointed out that in spite of the administrative challenges of the programme, R272 million has been distributed to artists and organisations – constituting 96% of total distribution of all Pesp funding and the remaining balance (4%) is still being distributed.

She did not comment on how the council would handle the issue of any “overcommitted” funds.

Mthethwa said the council is in the process of instituting disciplinary hearings against the implicated officials.

* Palesa Mofokeng is a Moneyweb intern.


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Well done to the government for taking quick and decisive action to root out corruption and creating accountability.

The private sector needs to catch-up. Markus Jooste is currently in a beach house in Hermanus, even though he sadly turned Christoffel Wiese from a billionaire into a millionaire. Poor guy.

“Mthethwa now wants answers from the five unidentified ANC members implicated”

Hey Mthethwa, the public wants answers as to why there have been no charges of fraud, theft, corruption and embezzlement laid at this time?

After more than a quarter of a century of mismanagement, large scale looting, theft and utter incompetence, the ANC wants another chance?

Not sure who is the biggest problem here, those in power or those that openly (and without consequence) vote for and condone this continued lawlessness?

Justice is swift and ruthless in the capitalist system. The owners were punished with a 90% loss of capital within a few weeks after the crime became evident.

The criminals in government are still living the high life though. No government employees or politicians have paid back the money, and they never will. They still enjoy the spoils of their criminal activities because they are protected by the voters who are also captured by this process of socialism. The collectivist system enables and incentivizes the plundering of the shared resources of the nation. Corruption is inherent to the ANC ethos and it is impossible to rid the government of corruption while the leading party is socialist. This system motivates people in small positions of power to exploit the resources at their disposal at the maximal rate before someone else jumps ahead of them and steals resources before they can. They are like a pack of wild dogs, biting and mauling each other for the opportunity to grab a tiny morsel of a rotten carcass.

The ANC is involved in a race to the bottom and the rising unemployment and escalating social unrest prove that we are nearing the bottom.

Crooks rooting out crooks ?

Quick and decisive action is to prevent the misspending and not throw sacrificial lambs into the pit of irregular expenditure.

The funds ‘mismanaged’ (sic) are actually taxpayers’ funds. That makes the difference between the two. Private sector funds are volunteered into companies.

I only see many ‘mismanagements’, Commissions of Enquiries and only a few minnows being nailed. What about the Fatcats behind it all in positions of power in the government and SOE’s?

So, frankly, there is no difference.

The cost of incompetence is always seriously underestimated !!!

How Cyril believes he can run the country with thieves is telling!!

He needs to admit the anc is the problem in this country. Nothing else and ask opposition parties to form a government of national unity. Not even sure if that will help??

Maybe this is just a nation of thieves??? deserving what they voted for.

ANC cadres mismanaged public funds!! How is that possible?!!

“We cannot as government get the blame that we do not take care of artists when we avail resources and funds for them and somebody else decides to mismanage the funds. Each and every cent of the R285 million should go to artists and will go to artists,” he promised.”

with reference to the above from the minister my question to him is: where is/was your department’s / the governments control to the use of the allocated money to confirm that it was spent as it was supposed to be spent????? are you really so naive to think at this day and date in sa when funds are just dished out without any control over it, it will be utilized as it was originally meant for???

may be wrong, but on top of it: “how was the 5% admin cost (R15 000 000) calculated and to whom / which organisation/s was this paid? – after all it also appears the admin ratio is quite high for what should have been a straight forward job

Surely the R15 000 000 should also be paid back(wishful thinking) as the admin people also got it hopelessly wrong (read also took part in the theft).

R300 Million gone somewhere except for the artists and one year later they agree to agree to possibly to agree to possibly agree to possibly investigate and in reverse order, something like that … @##$%^&&*()

It must be fun to be politician in South Africa.

When will the voters realize that for the ANC, its not about Jobs, or BEE, or assistance to artists, but looting by cANCer. That’s all.

The ANC is the problem.

The corruption and mismanagement just never seems to end with the ANC. The saddest part is they have no shame.

What portion of the funds went to CON ARTISTS ?

Need a competitiom to find how many words mean steal…

five unidentified NAC members or 5 ANC members ??

End of comments.





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