Nathi Mthethwa: ‘Minister of blunders, funerals and so on and so forth’

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Sport, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa has stumbled from one blunder to another during his tenure. Photo: Twitter
Sport, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa has stumbled from one blunder to another during his tenure. Photo: Twitter


Media personality and the queen of bubbly Bonang Matheba made headlines on Wednesday morning, with a swift and calculated jab at Sport, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa.

Mthethwa took to social media to congratulate our women’s soccer team Banyana Banyana, for progressing to the finals of the Women’s African Cup of Nations.

He tweeted:

Unimpressed, Matheba immediately responded to the minister, encouraging him to pay the women instead of exploiting their talents.

She tweeted:

This wasn’t the first time Mthethwa felt Matheba’s wrath. Matheba has always been vocal about her disdain for the minister. In May she tweeted: 

You’re useless and we all hate you.

Matheba is not the only one who is growing tired of Mthethwa’s shenanigans, as people flooded Twitter timelines with jabs at the minister. One Twitter user wrote:

Another tweep comically called Mthethwa the “Minister of condolences and congratulations”.

It seems the minister can’t quite get it right, here are some of Mthethwa’s biggest blunders:

Living Legends Legacy Project

In 2015 a new and inspiring initiative was at the forefront of the arts world. The Living Legends Legacy Project administered by Mthethwa’s department, would focus on identifying South Africa’s most monumental creative figures in order to grow and elevate visibility for the arts in the country.

After almost no traction for years in 2019, theatre practitioner, anti-apartheid activist and chairperson of the project, Welcome Msomi, was arrested and appeared in court after it was discovered that he stole upwards of R8 million that was supposed to go towards the project.

READ: Theatre legend Msomi faces more theft charges

This looting of money made the initiative a sad shadow of the potential it had, and for Mthethwa it was business as usual.

R300 million lost and no relief in sight:

The Covid-19 pandemic was undoubtedly one of the hardest global events in human history. Lives were lost, businesses were closed, and countries were near economic collapse.

Unfortunately, the arts sector was devastated by the resultant lockdowns, and looked to government for support as theatres, concert halls, and clubs were closed indefinitely. Through the presidential employment stimulus package, Mthethwa’s department received R500 million to sustain creatives during the pandemic.

READ: Mthethwa allocates R150m to ‘relief programme’ for creative sector

This money was to be distributed to the artists every month in order to keep them afloat. However, last year Mthethwa unashamedly admitted to the mismanagement of more than R300 million allocated to the fund.

As artists began to complain that they received little to no relief from the fund, Mthethwa would go on record to say: “Money is not missing; people over committed the funds given to them and?R300 million is still there. Part of it still there, part has been dispersed already and part of it is being dispersed – so there is nothing like money disappeared and I think we must emphasise that point.”

He also said that an investigation would uncover where the funds were mismanaged, which resulted in more than three weeks of sit-ins at the National Arts Council offices in Johannesburg. While artists were struggling to survive, for Mthethwa, it was business as usual.

This can’t be the sound of music

When it comes to ministers who cannot read the room, Mthethwa is a cut above the rest. If you thought the plans for a R22 million flagpole were bad, he again shocked us with plans to start a national philharmonic orchestra, which would cost more than R30 million.

Twitter users expressed their outrage over the irresponsible use of funds, one tweep suggesting that such spending should rather be put into building schools and libraries.

The DA also chimed in, rejecting the plans. In a statement the party said: “It seems the minister has learnt nothing from his R22 million flagpole and Afrikaanse Taalmuseum en-Monument debacles.

The DA believes that this project, that has fallen out of thin air, is unnecessary and unaffordable. We also agree with the CEO of the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, Louis Heyneman, that the project will be an ‘unnecessary duplication’ as there are already training programmes to develop young musicians.”

If three blunders are not enough to convince you of Mthethwa’s incompetence, then a quick Google search will tell you all you need to know about the minister’s priorities. The future of the creative industry will be bleak with Mthethwa in charge, maybe it is time for him to resign.

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