State arts funding body is accused of creating false proposals using artists’ names, of splurging on trips for its board and of bullying whistle-blowers, reports Charl Blignaut

Every day for over a year at 11am, Freddie Nyathela sends out an angry tweet to Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa, accusing him and his department of abusing the public purse and not caring about developing the nation’s artists.

Nyathela is the founder and president of the SA Roadies Association, which runs a school teaching young South Africans the technical production skills needed to stage concerts and live events.

Fake proposals

Almost three years ago, Nyathela was told of a proposal that the Roadies submitted to the state arts funding body, the National Arts Council (NAC).

He was perplexed because he says he never submitted that proposal for an ongoing partnership starting at R350 000 a year from the NAC to support the school.

Once he got his hands on the proposal which City Press obtained, he reported the NAC to Parliament and the department.

And although it was never funded, the proposal, which came from the office of NAC chief executive Rosemary Mangope, became the subject of two investigations.

“It’s a fake proposal. I never submitted it. There are many stories like this, many documents like this over the years. It’s how they siphon off funds for themselves. It’s a long-running scheme. They will use artists names to do what they want,” said Nyathela. Read more