I have done nothing wrong over NAC debacle, maintains Arthur Mafokate

By Edward Tsumele

Kwaito King pin and businessman Arthur Mafokate, the man at the centre of the national Arts Council debacle over the disbursement of the Presidential Economic Stimulus funds for artists maintains that he has done nothing wrong.

He also denies that he or any of the companies associated with him have received any money from the NAC, although he admits that he has applied legitimately and procedurally, just like any other artist. The fuming artist who has so far been cast as the main culprit over the current scandal at the NAC over the PESP disbursing controversy, has instead hit out at some NAC officials that he fingers out for ‘unethical behavior for ‘selectively’ releasing information about applicants. He further alleges that some of these officials are trying to cover up for their own shenanigans over the PESP.

In a stamen release yesterday, Mafokate is also angry that his son and daughter are being ‘unnecessarily’  dragged into this controversy by his enemies. He singles out an unnamed individual as the source  of the “ propaganda” against him and his family as this individual allegedly has a “personal vendetta’”against him. 

The  following is the complete statement  from Mafokate.

“ In response to the continuing allegations which are malicious and unfounded as made because of misinformation, I would like to make the following statement. The National Arts Council put out a call for applications for both individuals and for companies/organisations to propose projects that would create employment and income for those in the creative industry.

Various organisations and companies with capacity and capability, proposed projects to help benefit the industry. Each proposal submitted was to benefit the relevant organisation’s field of expertise and those in that field. To those who insinuate receipt of funding by me and those related to me, as if due process and procedures were not followed by us in submitting proposals; like everyone else in the industry – you would do well to inform yourselves as to how these funding program works. The purpose of these projects is not to enrich recipients individually.

 They are intended to enable recipients to respond to a mandate of identifying and implementing accountably projects to help uplift people in the arts, technical, music and events industries who have not worked for over a year. In fact, extensive application procedures were required, and all compliance metrics had to be met before any proposals submitted could be approved.

 That is how one is usually awarded funding. I wish to state categorically that I have no affiliations with the previous nor the current board which is now place at the NAC. It is an incredibly sad day, when people in the creative sector with the right intentions are slandered in this way. Not everyone that is receiving funding is misusing funds, whilst that may be what the members of the rumour mill’s perception is, it is not my intention to do so.

 Greatly concerning also is the narrative now being made by NAC on this matter in as far as making statements and conducting interviews where those of us who applied legitimately are not defended and insinuations of decisions to no longer honour commitments towards the funding promised to us is slowly becoming the presented scenario. It has become suspiciously clear that there are personnel within the NAC that are playing a divisive role – selectively sending communication to other parties, and then releasing information on funding allocations without having signed contracts with beneficiaries, which is completely unethical and unprofessional.

They are fueling the fire and feeding into the fixed narrative that some of us are corrupt, and unlawfully benefitted from the scheme, without producing any irrefutable evidence. It must be put on record that I have not received any monies from NAC. arthur@arthurmafokate.org In fact, such a narrative puts us and others in a compromised position.

All we did was apply for funding to implement projects to benefit the industry. NAC’s promises to pay the funding have now fallen short and its some of its personnel are apparently under investigation themselves. Again, continuing narrative presented by these personnel who are being questioned is to avoid allegations geared towards them to continue to present themselves as intending to resolve the matters at hand dutifully – lyingly so.

Recent developments have raised concern about individuals at NAC which is very disappointing. It puts in to question this whole process, where is the money? We have certainly not seen any of it. Our projects are now under scrutiny and intentions is to halt the promised payments towards our projects.

If that is the intention, then all projects should be under scrutiny if needs be, and all projects intended payments should be halted. We all followed the same processes, and we were all approved. For many as these allegations and smear campaign continues – we seem to forget the fact that, should this funding ever come to light, this money is not for my personal use or that of those close to me, but practitioners in the space. It is for executing projects that neither of the accusers, would be able to pull off! None of the critics applied nor proposed any ways to help anyone! Maybe if they had, some of them would probably be the first to use money to line their own pockets, since they think that is how it works.

Their mentality and accusations demonstrate the type of people they are, NOT who I am. They see it as a lump sum of money for ourselves, but not what it is meant for. They do not understand that the money should be allocated to employing thousands of people. Their mentality assumes any funding is for a quick buck and thus, brings my reputation and those of my companies and organisations I am affiliated to, into disrepute.

These are the type of people who are the first to misuse government funding and give the rest of us a bad name. Say what you want about me, it never bothers me I am used to it but when you mention my son, my daughter, and my sister in this scenario it is not only abhorrent, but a demonstration of a personal vendetta. I will not allow their names to be besmirched by people with absolutely no grasp of the truth. By creating these absolute lies, you are depriving many people from getting assistance and development that our projects will bring. These are the facts: 1) I own two companies 999 Music and Roadshow Marketing. 2).

 My Son and Daughter are creatives and businesspeople,  that do service in South Africa. arthur@arthurmafokate.org 3) I do not own the Black Technical Production Association and the South African Artist & Development Association, and I can confirm that they are both non- profit organisations that are run by boards of trustees. 4) .

The COVID – 19 NAC PESP funding applications were open to all companies or organisations in the industry, each organisation performs different functions within the creative industries. Each organisation proposed projects in their area of expertise to benefit artists in various categories. The NAC PESP was put in place to help benefit as many people within the creative industry as possible after the COVID-19 pandemic hit, what is now happening with them is also a disappointment. 5) We follow the processes as laid out by these organisations to provide COVID relief.

 If they are not holding up their end, that is very disappointing. 6) We have not been paid any money yet. So, most sensationalistic comments about where the money has gone are blatant lies. 7) These stimulus packages are not there for people to make money, they are there to help artists and people within the industry that have not earned anything in over a year.

If your impression is that people make fast money through these types of processes, they are the corrupt few, not me and the others trying to really do good work. As an individual I have always supported the arts industry and been passionate about development of artists and growth of the industry. 8) It is on record that the DSAC and NAC requested that, we should think big and encourage as many individuals as possible, companies and organisations to do proposals for the PESP grant. 9) Juristic person means an entity, such as a corporation, that is recognized as having legal personality, i.e. it is capable of enjoying and being subject to legal rights and duties.

It is contrasted with a human being, who is referred to as a natural person. (As per Oxford Dictionary) 10) That we will give to the creative industry almost 300 job opportunities within the next two months. 11) It would be sad for the NAC not to follow the rule of law but create its own rules by not allowing citizens of this country, access to the funding as per what was required in the applications. 12) It would be unfortunate for the NAC to publish approved applicants and refuse to fund them with no legal basis. 13) It would be unfair of the NAC not to treat all applicants/applications equal. 14).

 It would be unfortunate of the NAC to pay people more than what they asked for. 15). It would be unfortunate for any recipient of the fund/grant not to use it as required by the PESP rules. arthur@arthurmafokate.org 16) .

It would be unfair for any other practitioner to be side-lined because of the colour of their skin, creed, religion, culture, or any other form of association, if they followed the rule of law in their application/s, more so when the fund was about uplifting cultural and creative industries. 17) NAC must just do the right thing and give the deserving applicants what is due to them without hassles. 18).

 NAC has announced approved beneficiaries and now refusing to fund them as per their promises Anyone with any understanding of the process, would also know that extensive reports and reconciliations need to be done for each project, ensuring that every cent is accounted for, there is no money to be made here, apart from the expenses incurred from payment of pay legitimate services for production, labour, accounting, travel, accommodation and so forth. We are providing a service to benefit the ailing cultural and creative industries, or at least that is why we got involved.

The person that initiated this malicious campaign, or should I say propaganda, has neither contributed to the arts in any way nor has he applied for funding, or proposed any useful projects himself. This individual has a personal vendetta against me and my family and is disseminating incorrect information to the detriment of many people.

 As the media, it would do well to check facts and question the intention of your so-called sources. This individual continues to slander and defame my character because his attempts to extort money have failed. I am not open to dealing with dishonest, unethical individuals and never will, whether it is these individuals or any individuals within the NAC itself.

My priorities remain to be in service of the government, and to the industry that I am a part of. I have nothing to hide nor even explain. I just felt the need to correct things before the embarrassment continues. I implore everyone all to check facts before they speak.”

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