DA welcomes forensic investigation into NAC management of PESP fund

The DA welcomes the announcement from the Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, that he has instituted a forensic investigation into the National Art Council’s (NAC) mismanagement of the R300 million the Presidential Economic Stimulus Programme (PESP) relief funding.

The DA requested a forensic investigation last week after another bout of serious allegations of malfeasance, this time to the tune of millions of Rands, were reported in the media.

The cracks in the NAC have been showing for some time, and the suspension of the CEO, Rosemary Mangope, and CFO, Clifton Changfoot, pending an investigation into the mismanagement of the PESP fund, was a step in the right direction. The Minister must give feedback to the parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Sports, Arts and Culture on the progress of that investigation. The rest of the Council must also be suspended without pay while this new forensic investigation is conducted.

Should any member of the NAC wish to resign, criminal investigations should be instituted against them. No one should be allowed to escape disciplinary action should they be guilty of corruption. All money found to have been fraudulently and corruptly dispersed must be recovered and distributed fairly.

The Department of Sports, Arts and Culture and the NAC have for too long piloted the sector like the Titanic heading for the iceberg. Instead of trying to save as many people employed in the sector as possible, they have ignored the urgency of the crisis the extended Covid-19 lockdown has brought and blindly kept the collision course. This cannot continue.

The DA once again urges Minister Mthethwa to directly engage with artists staging a sit-in at the NAC offices in Braamfontein on 7 April 2021 when the committee conducts its oversight there. The artists deserve to have their concerns addressed directly and honestly. They will not give up, nor should they. And the DA will continue to do all in our power to hold the Executive to account and help the sector.

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