JOHANNESBURG — South African veteran kwaito artist and producer, Arthur Mafokate, has dismissed claims by the creative industry that several of his companies were approved for funding from the Presidential Employment Stimulus Programme (PESP).
This after the National Arts Council (NAC) board said last week that it has instituted an investigation into discrepancies in the approval of PESP funding applications for artists.
It said among other issues that were being investigated was the funding of non-arts-related companies, individuals who got more than they asked for, including claims that several of Mafokate’s companies, were approved for funding.
The PESP, which was created by the presidency to create opportunities for artists, creatives, and people in the heritage sector, is handled by NAC.
In his four-page statement released this morning, Mafokate categorically stated that he had no affiliations with the previous or the current NAC board. He further put it on record that he has not received monies from NAC.
“The National Arts Council put out a call for applications for both individuals and for companies to propose projects that would create employment and income for those in the creative industry. Various organisations and companies with capacity and capability proposed projects to help benefit the industry. Each proposal submitted was to benefit the relevant organisation’s field of expertise and those in that field,” said Mafokate in a statement.
“Extensive application procedures were required, and all compliance metrics had to be met before any proposals submitted could be approved. It is an incredibly sad day, when people in the creative sector with the right intentions are slandered in this way. Not everyone that is receiving funding is misusing funds.”
The legendary singer has decried unprofessionalism and lack of ethics within the NAC where people leak information about approved applications before even contracts were signed.
“It has become suspiciously clear that there are personnel within the NAC that are playing a divisive role — selectively releasing information on funding allocations which is completely unethical. They are fuelling the fire and feeding into the fixed narrative that some of us are corrupt, and unlawfully benefitted from the scheme, without producing any irrefutable evidence. All we did was applying for funding to implement projects to benefit the industry,” Mafokate said.
“Recent developments have raised concern about individuals at NAC which is very disappointing. It puts into question this whole process, where is the money? We have certainly not seen any of it. Our projects are now under scrutiny and intention is to halt the promised payments towards our projects. They do not understand that the money should be allocated to employing thousands of people. Their mentality assumes any funding is for a quick buck and thus, brings my reputation and those of my companies and organisations I am affiliated to into disrepute. Say what you want about me, it never bothers me. I am used to it but when you mention my son, my daughter, and my sister in this scenario it is not only abhorrent, but a demonstration of a personal vendetta.”. — Sowetan