Govt slashes allocation to art gallery

2012-02-06 00:00

MSUNDUZI Municipality has been forced to accept less than half of what it thought it was going to get to run the Tatham Art Gallery.

It will continue negotiations with the provincial Arts and Culture Department to get more.

During the executive committee (Exco) sitting last week, council heard that the department had not reached an agreement with Msunduzi Municipality on the amount to be transferred to the gallery.

Initially the department had gazetted that an amount of R693 000 would be transferred to the gallery, but subsequently reduced all allocations, including the Tatham one. The gallery will now get only R300 000.

The head of the Provincial Museum Service, Dolly Khumalo, said municipal museums’ allocations had been minimal in the past. The Tatham received R65 000 in 2008/9 and R83 000 in 2010/11.

Provincial treasury then agreed to make much bigger allocations to help pay for salaries and administration, and the higher figures were gazetted.

A subsequent study then pointed to the need to train staff for a mobile museum, for which the provincial museum service needed money. It sought the advice of treasury, which recommended that it seek the agreement of the affected parties to reduce the allocated amounts.

“Permission was granted in writing by all concerned, except Msunduzi Municipality,” Khumalo said. She added that the then acting municipal manager, Thokozani Maseko, had indicated that Msunduzi spent over R4 million on Tatham Art Gallery salaries alone.

“This made it difficult for the municipality to consent to the department’s request for allocating a reduced amount of R300 000,” she said.

She said the department still needed the money, but was willing to negotiate.

Msunduzi municipal manager Mxolisi Nkosi said Exco should agree to the reduced amount, because if it didn’t, it could lose the whole budget.

“We are, however, going to engage the department further on this matter,” said Nkosi.

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