Today's Labour News

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protestThe Star reports that after a virtual meeting held over the weekend to address the ongoing Presidential Empowerment Stimulus Programme (PESP) fund saga, artists have vowed to continue their sit-in at the National Arts Council (NAC) until there is a resolution.

Over the past few weeks, members of the arts industry have raised concerns about how the R300 million fund has allegedly been mismanaged. Opera singer Sibongile Mngoma, who has been at the forefront of the sit-in, said the council was hiding its mismanagement of the funds. At the end of February, the NAC had to suspend its chief executive and chief finance officer, due to mismanagement of the funds. As it stands, the PESP fund was open to all creative and cultural workers to present ideas on how to keep the sector above water through employment creation and retention of jobs. The applications process was finalised by December, with an approval of 1,374 successful applicants, which translated to funding that was more than what was available. “They had approved the applicants, which amounted to R611 million while there was only R300 million in funding available,” board member and head of communications for the NAC, Dr Sipho Sithole, explained. He also said the council discovered that it had run out of money because there were people who were granted more money than they had requested. “All of this meant we needed to withdraw the initial letters of approval to adjust the figures, reissue new letters and re-contract people. That caused a delay, as management could not pay out based on the old approvals,” Sithole explained. He said the aim was to make sure that by the end of March, all approved beneficiaries would be paid. But, Mngoma said the sit-in would continue, while the artists waited for a resolution.

  • Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Mpiletso Motumi at The Star
  • Read too, Protesting artists won’t leave NAC offices, at City Press (paywall access only)


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