NPO takes on the Public Protector over NAC amended policy

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SA Rodies Association president Freddie Nyathela. Photo: Facebook.
SA Rodies Association president Freddie Nyathela. Photo: Facebook.


The SA Roadies Association (Sara) is at loggerheads with the office of the Public Protector over amendments made to a grant funding policy at the National Arts Council (NAC).

City Press understands that Sara, an organisation dedicated to advancing and developing technical and production skills for young people, has also been trying to get the portfolio committee on sport, arts and culture to oversee the implementation of a Public Protector’s remedial action against the NAC.

Sara president Freddie Nyathela lodged a complaint with the Public Protector against the NAC in January 2017. He asked for an investigation to be undertaken relating to maladministration, corruption, nepotism and abuse of power.

Part of his complaint was about impropriety and abuse of the NAC’s expired projects and surplus funds policy, which was confirmed by the Public Protector.

READ: Mangope launches bid to set aside Mkhwebane report

In the remedial action, the Public Protector indicated that the policy needed to be reviewed.

The NAC did review the policy, however, Nyathela said the amendments made did not follow what was prescribed in the remedial action.

But the Public Protector indicated to Nyathela that the NAC had complied.


Sara, through Mthembu Attorneys, wrote to the Public Protector on March 28 following a committee meeting on March 17.

At that meeting, the Public Protector tabled a report about progress made by the NAC in implementing the remedial action. The NAC also made a similar presentation. Both presentations indicated that the policy has been reviewed and amended.

But the office of the Public Protector indicated at the end of the presentation that Nyathela remained unsatisfied.

READ: Suspended NAC boss’ bid to set aside Public Protector’s report is challenged

In the letter to the Public Protector, Mthembu Attorneys indicated that it was acting on behalf of Sara following a letter received from the Public Protector’s acting chief operations officer, Advocate Nelisiwe Nkabinde, on March 16.

In that letter, Nkabinde said it was clear that the NAC had fully implemented the remedial action and that they did not have jurisdiction in the matter beyond that point.

Policy does not comply

In the March 28 letter, Sara said the policy amendment and the promulgation of standard operating procedures ought to have complied with legislation and regulations stipulated in the remedial action.

The remedial action stated that the NAC board chairperson should:

*Act in accordance with its fiduciary duty to ensure that the inconsistencies identified in the policy were addressed by setting in motion a process to amend it and promulgate a standard operating procedure to align it with relevant legislative framework;

*Amend and strengthen the policy to close gaps that exist, to prevent NAC staff and other NAC stakeholders from exploiting it;

*Put in place, where necessary, standard operating procedures to deal with inconsistencies in the policy found during the investigation; and

*Align the internal NAC policy toolkit with the relevant legislative framework such as sections 33(1) and 217 of the Constitution, section 51(1)(b)(iii) of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA), section 3(1) and 3(2)(b)(i) of the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act, regulation 16A8 of the National Treasury regulations, as well as regulation 13(c) of the Public Service Regulations.

READ: Suspended NAC boss’ bid to set aside Public Protector’s report is challenged

Sara said the remedial action was specific in that the purpose of the amendment was to deal with inconsistencies found during an investigation to prevent NAC staff and stakeholders from exploiting the policy.

Its letter said: 

Our instructions are that the amendments and the new expired projects and unclaimed funds processes and procedures fail to meet the threshold set out in the preceding paragraph, thus meaning compliance in form and not substance.

The organisation cited the “legal basis” section of the policy as an example. It said the section claims that the policy was regulated in terms of regulation 31.3 of the Treasury regulations issued in accordance with the PFMA, but this regulation deals with investments, not unclaimed funds.

Sara then demanded a full report from the Public Protector’s monitoring team setting out exactly how the policy amendments complied with the purpose of the remedial action.

The Public Protector has been given 14 days to respond.

Nyathela said they had not received a response on Wednesday afternoon.

The Public Protector acknowledged questions and promised to respond.

This is a developing story.

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