The National Writers Association of South Africa (NWASA) welcomes the announcement by the Minister of Arts, Culture and Sports Mr. Nathi Mthethwa on 23 March 2021, of the suspension of the National Arts Council (NAC) officials implicated in the mismanagement of the Presidential Employment Stimulus Programme (PESP) funds intended to provide relief to cultural workers as their livelihood was adversely impacted upon by the anti-COVID-19 economic lockdowns.
NWASA reiterate its recent call of 12 March 2021, for the President of the Republic of South Africa, HE Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa, to urgently institute an inquiry into the disbursement of funds to cultural workers and cultural organisations over the past 10 years. This should be done in an effort to address challenges facing the Creative Economic Sector, the relationship between the Department of Sports, Arts, and Culture (DAC), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), provincial governments, municipalities, and other government departments and their agencies related to this sector.
While the announcement by Minister Mthethwa is commendable, it is equally regrettable that cultural workers had to stage protest actions – that included sit- ins in the NAC offices throughout the country – for over three weeks before this step could be taken.
The maladministration of funding (that includes the prevalence of corruption) by agencies of the DSAC and DTI like the NAC and the National Lottery Commission (NLC) has devastating impact on the development of cultural industries in our country.