By Edward Tsumele, CITYLIFE/ARTS Editor
A confrontation between artists and the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture (DSAC) flared up again after what appeared to be a lull from last year’s confrontation. This is as Soprano activist Sibongile Mngoma on Monday February 28, 2022,went to DSAC offices in Pretoria where she said she was going to find out what was holding back the process of finalizing the Mzansi Golden Economy funds disbursement to the approved artists.
To date some of the artists have not received their contracts after being approved for funding late last year, while others have signed their contracts but have not received the money for projects.
However CITYLIFE/ARTS understands that there are yet others that have been paid and have completed their projects, and are in the process of reporting, a requirement that comes with public funds. It is however not clear why others got paid while others have not yet been paid. This means that they have a month to complete whatever projects they have applied for as all beneficiaries are required to furnish DSAC with project reports by the end of March 2022.
However an enraged Mngoma was kept waiting outside and was not allowed inside unaccompanied by security, forcing her to embark on a one person demonstration mainly to admonish DSAC for being ”irrelevant” to the needs of the artists hard hit by the effects of Covid—19.
Mngoma also blamed DSAC for not intervening in artists’ lives and save them from killing themselves, giving as an example the recent suicides of hip hop artist Riky Rick and popular actor Patrick Shai.
DSAC however last year launched a wellness fund that is aimed at artists under distress, but how it operates is still not well communicated to the arts community, fueling more anger from the creative sector.
While this one person drama was taking place outside the DSAC building, it is not clear whether Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa was inside the building while this was going on.
Mngoma vowed before she left DSAC offices that from now onwards she was going to advocate for DSAC to be dismantled.
“This is the last time I will be here speaking to these useless people. My next action is to advocate for the complete dismantlement of this department as it is irrelevant to the needs of the artists,” Mngoma said in a video broadcast from outside the DSAC offices. It is also not clear whether officials had known about her visit and well as to whether there was an agreement that they going to meet Mngoma and her delegation.
“They keep on saying that someone is going to come down to fetch me, but obviously they are making the same mistakes they made last time I was here. From Now onwards I will do whatever it takes to make sure that this DSAC is dismantled, and that I promise.
“This mess can no longer be associated with arts and culture. From now on I have a plan and the plan is tight and that plan will lead to the dismantlement of this mess called the Department of Arts and Culture. If the sport people want to keep them, they can go ahead. Treasury must no longer give money to this department in the name of arts and culture.”
CITYLIFE/ARTS was unable to get comment from DSAC last night before publication. As soon as we get comment from DSAC, we will update this report.
You can watch Sibongile Mngoma video taken outside DSAC offices here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/Im4theArts/?multi_permalinks=675922657075419¬if_id=1645632648059741¬if_t=group_highlights&ref=notif