IM4THEARTS SEEK ANSWERS FROM NATIONAL ARTS COUNCIL (NAC)

Im4theArts seeks answers from the National Arts Council (NAC) about the missing R17 Million, which was allocated to the Covid-19 Provincial Partnerships.

In December 2020, the NAC informed the sector that it had R17 Million surplus from the Covid 19 Relief Fund call they had made in 2020. In January 2021, the NAC made a call for applications from potential partners to assist with distributing this surplus. The call had a closing date of 25 January 2021, with outcomes to be made public on 28 February 2021.

The intention behind this funding was for 4 companies per province to distribute the R17 million to deserving artists in their province, while also empowering the 4 organizations or companies per province as relief to them. On 28 February, the National Arts Council (NAC) announced a long list of 56 organisations from which they were going to shortlist their final selection on the basis of site visits. When the DSAC reported to the Portfolio Committee on 9 March 2021, they claimed that there was still a budget remaining of R40 million at the NAC for COVID relief.

Im4theArts believes that 36 organisations were approved by the Approvals Committee for the partnership fund, but that the NAC reduced this number to 26 organisations, on the basis of their compliance after site visits had taken place. These 26 companies were finally announced on 13 October 2021, and were published on the NAC website:https://www.nac.org.za/latest-news/successful-beneficiaries-approved-as-covid-19-provincial-partners/

On 13 December 2021, the NAC Exco virtually met with the 26 organizations and told them that the available funding for the project was no longer R17 Million, but had been reduced to R10 Million. The NAC council members present put the blame on the previous Council, and said that they had approved a project without proper funding. They claimed that the R10 Million was from another source within the NAC. They told the partners that they were planning to take R1,3 Million from that R10 Million and give R50 000 to each of these organizations to support their administrative costs as Provincial Partners, and that the remainder would be shared amongst those people who had applied and qualified in their 2021 grant funding call, but had not been granted funding. The 26 companies were not pleased by this information and the NAC resolved to rethink their approach and meet with the 26 companies soon. 

On 22 December 2021, the Exco and CEO of the NAC again met with the 26 companies. They said in this meeting that the financial situation had changed, and that now there was no funding available for the programme. They claimed that when the monthly books of December 2021 were closed on 15 December (2 days after the meeting when they had confirmed R10 Million), they realized that the R10 Million was no longer there. It had gone to other administrative responsibilities of the NAC. Therefore the programme was cancelled.

Im4theArts demands transparency and accountability from the National Arts Council on this programme. We would like to know where the R17 million disappeared to. Why is the NAC not honoring their promises to the partner organisations? How can the NAC justify this mess, where they have spent a year raising expectations and doing compliance checks, only to unilaterally cancel the programme? What of the artists who would have benefitted from this COVID relief, and who have again had their hopes dashed by the National Arts Council, a body constituted to serve the arts and particularly, the arts community of South Africa.

Im4theArts demands answers from the NAC and supports those who are seeking legal assistance in this matter.

ENDS

ISSUED ON BEHALF OF IM4THEARTS

Media contacts:

Yvette Hardie (Deputy Chairperson) : 082 859 5635

admin@im4thearts.org.za2

Im4theArts National Officials

President: Sibongile Mngoma; Chairperson: KaraboKgokong; Deputy Chairperson: Yvette Hardie;

Secretary: Thami Mbongo; Treasurer: Hedwig Barry; Additional members: Lucky Cele; NontsokoloMhlotshana; Selloane Mokuku; Bridget van Oerle

Enterprise Number: 2021/573751/08‚Äč     Enterprise Name: IM4THEARTS

Tax Reference No: 9188768254

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