SARA hauls NAC to court

President of the SA Roadies Association, Freddie Nyathela. Photograph : Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

President of the SA Roadies Association, Freddie Nyathela. Photograph : Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Feb 26, 2024


The public spat between the NGO, South African Roadies Association and the National Arts Council (NAC) is escalating, as the matter is set to be brought before the court.

The disagreement stems from the arts funding body's refusal to fully comply with the remedial actions recommended by the former Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, regarding expired projects and the surplus funds policy.

The courts last week communicated to both parties that the date set for their arguments to be heard was April 29.

SARA hauled the NAC to court because they believe the funding body did not fully implement what Mkhwebane had ordered in 2020.

Mkhwebane, after SARA lodged a complaint with her office, gave them 60 days to implement her order in 2020.

The report by Mkhwebane read in part: “The Chairperson of the NAC Board must, within thirty (30) working days of the Issuing of this report, provide the Public Protector with the Implementation plan indicating how the remedial action will be implemented.”

In her report, Mkhwebane found that the NAC’s expired projects and surplus policy to disperse funds was unlawful and unconstitutional.

She also found the allegation in a complaint made by SA Roadies Association president Freddie Nyathela – that the NAC CEO had applied to the NAC’s executive committee for a R350 000 annual partnership on behalf of SARA, without its knowledge and consent – to be substantiated.

SARA further argued that the new policy was not adequate in meeting the requirements of the Public Protector’s remedial action.

The NAC is listed as the first respondent while the Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, Zizi Kodwa, is the second respondent.

However, the latter two are not opposing the court action.

It’s not the first time the two organisations have taken each other to court.

The NAC once took Nyathela to court for defamation of character in 2018.

The NAC could not be reached for comment after their office number rang unanswered.

Speaking to The Star, Nyathela narrated the history of the spat.

“We as SARA lodged a complaint with the Public Protector against the NAC in January 2017 and asked for an investigation to be undertaken relating to maladministration, corruption, nepotism and abuse of power.”

He said Mkhwebane issued the report on 15 June 2020 with remedial actions.

“Part of his complaint was about impropriety and abuse of the NAC’s expired projects and surplus policy, which was confirmed by the Public Protector… the policy was approved by the NAC in May 2015,” Nyathela said.

The Star

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