NEWS & ANALYSIS

Mayibuye takeover a threat to performing artists – Veronica van Dyk

DA MP says shocked educators have already received retrenchment letters

Mayibuye takeover a threat to young performing artists

29 April 2021

Note to Editors: Please find attached soundbites in English & Afrikaans  from Veronica van Dyk, MP. 

The future of 13 teachers and 600 Northern Cape students in the performing arts, hangs in the balance amidst the hijacking of the Mayibuye Academies of Music and Dance in Kimberley.

The takeover comes just weeks after a newly formed Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) staged an illegal sit-in at the office of the MEC of Sport, Arts and Culture, Desery Fienies. They were subsequently appointed as the replacement service provider to take over the established art and music programs of 13 teachers, who were operative since 2009 at the Mayibuye Cultural Center, including the satellite centers in Philipstown and Kuruman.

According to allegations on social media, the Northern Cape Theatre Practitioners Forum was only registered with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) on 7 April 2021, in order to obtain funding, reportedly of R4,1 million. It is further alleged that they have no track record and are also not representatives of the Cultural and Creative Industries Federation of South Africa (CIFFSA).

The Mayibuye academies have been plunged into crisis mode.

Shocked educators have already received retrenchment letters. The letters just happen to be emailed by the Chief Executive of the Officer (CEO) of the of the Northern Cape Arts and Culture Council (NCACC), Mr Charles Maema, on the very same day that the newly established NGO registered with CIPC, on the 7th of April 2021.

It is questionable whether the dismissal of employees, followed by the immediate replacement of a different set of employees, is legal. This will be submitted for legal advice.

In the meantime, the fate of the students, many of whom have been able to escape poverty, crime, drug abuse, lack of self-esteem and other consequent problems through dance and music, grows increasingly uncertain.

The DA has submitted urgent correspondence to MEC Fienies to ascertain why the academies are being abandoned and whether any consultation took place with the current staff, to allow them to participate in any institutional changes. Amongst other things, we have also requested proof of the Northern Cape Theatre Practitioners Forum`s track record.

The youth, who are depending on the Mayibuye Centre for a ticket to a better life, must be protected from a potential fly-by-night service provider, that threatens to steal the joy from their song, their dance and their future.

Issued by Veronica Van Dyk, DA Deputy Shadow Minister of Sports, Arts & Culture, 29 April 2021