CityLife Arts

As minister and artists reach deadlock over NAC and Presidential Economic Stimulus funds, artists suggest a way forward

By Edward Tsumele, CITYLIFE/ARTS Editor

As Friday’s long- awaited meeting between Minister of Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa and leaders of enraged artists over the Presidential Economic Stimulus Package (PESP) funds administered by the beleaguered National Arts Council, (NAC) failed to make a breakthrough, it became obvious that it is Aluta Continua with regards to the artists’ key demands.

And just like the last meeting last Sunday between the artists, DSAC and NAC officials, Friday’s meeting too experienced a bumpy ride, and at the end no solution was found to the long running impasse between the parties.

No agreement was reached, and the sticking issues that drove a group of about 15 artists to occupy the NAC offices over two weeks ago, remain unresolved. And the issue of how the artists have been treated about their grievances have driven some in the sector to compare this to human rights abuses that happened during apartheid. In South African, Sunday March 21 is Human Rights Day, and because it happens to fall on a Sunday this year, it means Monday is a holiday.

And in a bid to find a solution to the embarrassing impasse, Ismail Mahomed, one of the leaders of the arts sector has now produced an 18 point plan that some believe when If acceded to by the minister could help in breaking the logjam between the artists and the authorities.

The plan basically is predicated on one of the key demands that seems to be non negotiable by artists, and that is that the artists have lost trust in the current NAC council, and that it must finish the disbursing of funds, under a notice to disband once that is done, after which a fresh process of appointing a new council will take place, and that a mediation company must be appointed to resolves issues between the occupying artists and the NAC.

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