NACThe Star reports that as artists and cretives continue to protest outside the National Arts Council (NAC) in Newtown, Johannesburg, the council has denied allegations of planned forceful removal from its building.

At the weekend, a Facebook post claimed that the NAC was planning an ambush to forcefully remove artists from the building using the Red Ants. The post alleged that the removal would take place at the offices on Tuesday or Wednesday. The protest is over the roll-out of the R300 million Presidential Employment Stimulus Programme (Pesp) Covid-19 relief fund. In a statement, the NAC said it was shocked and in disbelief about the allegations. “The council and management of the NAC wish to categorically state that these allegations are simply untrue and are fake news. The false allegations are deliberately being fuelled with the sole intention to further perpetuate tension between the NAC and the cultural and creative sector for purposes only known to the individuals behind this,” said spokesperson Tshepo Mashiane. He added that the NAC intended to complete the Pesp roll-out by 31 May and was looking for “amicable discourse to address all the Pesp funding issues of concern that were raised across all parts of the sector”. Over the last month, the NAC has been at loggerheads with artists over the fund, with artists claiming the council had been mismanaging the money instead of paying out artists.

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