Time for Ramaphosa to look artists in the eye – Tsepo Mhlongo

DA MP says it has been 42 days since artists began a sit-in at the offices of the NAC

NAC sit-in: It is time for President Ramaphosa to look artists in the eye

13 April 2021

Note to Editors: Please find attached a soundbite by Tsepo Mhlongo MP, and pictures herehere and here

The DA calls on President Cyril Ramaphosa to intervene in the crisis unfolding at the National Arts Council and personally meet with affected artists.

It's been 42 days since artists began a sit-in at the offices of the NAC, attempting to force answers from the NAC about R300 million in relief funding that was promised through the Presidential Economic Stimulus Programme (PESP) but never received by the artists.

The government’s irrational lockdown regulations have caused many of those employed in the arts and culture sector to lose their income. Some of those engaged in sit-in at the NAC do not have homes to return to or food to eat.

Both the NAC Council and the Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa have demonstrated an inability to adequately address challenges faced by the sector. As the DA we have continuously argued that, unless the arts and culture sector receive the necessary support, the regulations and economic restrictions would decimate the industry.

Instead of honesty, the NAC gave them lawsuits. For the past few weeks, it has been attempting to force the protesting artists from its premises. The NAC should rather have prioritised finding ways that would solve the crisis it created and speed up payments to artists.

In light of the Minister's ineptitude, we hope that President Ramaphosa will accede to our call and personally meet with the artists. Their plight is the direct result of his government’s mismanagement of the Covid crisis. The only decent the President can do is to look them in the eyes and engage with their questions.

Issued by Tsepo Mhlongo, DA Shadow Minister of Sports, Arts, & Culture, 13 April 2021