THE DEPARTMENT OF SPORT, ARTS AND CULTURE (DSAC) RESPONDS TO THE STAR NEWSPAPER ARTICLE
On Tuesday 5 October 2021, the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture (DSAC) noted an article titled “Mbuli slams Ramaphosa regarding artists’ plight”, where Mr Mzwakhe Mbuli alleges amongst other things, that the Government does not care about the plight of artists, that artists are being defrauded. Mr Mbuli further goes on to accuse the President of being inactive in dealing with these matters.
This statement is devoid of any truth and is rather disingenuous of Mr Mbuli. Sadly, he has also jumped on the bandwagon of others who, despite support they have received in the past, continue to feed the public with misrepresentations that are not backed up by publicly available and verifiable facts. The Department of Sport, Arts and Culture, led by Minister Nathi Mthethwa has, through various initiatives, supported the sector. We have consistently emphasised the fact that the available funds could never be sufficient to support each and every artist.
We are a caring Government. Mr Mbuli is living testimony of this. For the past 5 years, DSAC has supported Mr Mbuli financially to the tune of R12 Million for various projects. Through the Presidential Employment Stimulus Programme (PESP), the President has ensured that artists have received R272 Million out of R285 Million meant for artists, precisely because the President understands the importance of the creative sector. The last 4% is being finalised through applications that are currently being processed by the National Arts Council (NAC).
While we empathise with the plight of artists in the country due to the devastating impact of COVID-19, particularly on the sport, arts and culture sector, we implore practitioners to be balanced in their representation of the Government and the role that the Government has played during this difficult time.
In the final analysis, we remain open for genuine engagement with the sector. We are focused on finding economic recovery and reconstruction solutions of the sector and we appeal to all role players to focus their energies positively in this direction.