Cabinet ratings: Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa

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Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa
Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa

Nathi Mthethwa: Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture

In the last few years, the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture (DAC) under Minister Nathi Mthethwa has faced serious allegations of maladministration, large-scale corruption and cronyism, and many artists view the portfolio as a dumping ground for delinquent and out-of-control ministers.

When asked, at the time of his appointment, whether he would support a gallery showing of the infamous Brett Murray painting, The Spear, Mthethwa responded: "What's The Spear?" Insert upside-down face emoji.

Due to his general absence and the appearances he makes to congratulate artists who have achieved great accolades (without state support) or to send condolences to grief-stricken families, the minister has earned himself the title Minister of Condolences, Congratulations and Other Witchcrafts.

Achievements: The sporting community may have much to laud here. The majority of the sporting organisations who applied for Covid-19 relief received their payouts, but less than 50% of the artist applicants were successful.

This year, Heritage Month highlighted the contributions of three very important South African women: visual artist Dr Esther Mahlangu, musician and instrumentalist Madosini, and Ouma Katrina Esau, an N|uu preservationist and one of three remaining people who still speak the language.

Recognising the failures of the initial rounds of Covid-19 relief funding, the Presidency has made a special employment stimulus programme available to the arts, culture and heritage sector, to be disbursed via the National Arts Council and the National Film and Video Foundation.

The minister also congratulated many people through social media and the DAC website. He also sent many condolences and funded many funerals.

Failures: The deep rot of corruption and cronyism in the DAC has only worsened under Mthethwa. National museums and galleries have been broken into and have been left to fall into a state of disrepair.

The state of public art is in a shambles, with each municipality using state funds as private coffers, disseminating work to friends and organisations with anti-black and anti-poor methods and ideologies.

Unqualified ANC-aligned personnel sit on a number of arts organisations board, bullying invested and dedicated arts practitioners

Many artists did not qualify for any Covid-19 relief funding, including reputable organisations such as the Baxter Theatre. And of those who qualified and received approval, many have still not received payouts.

The failures, unfortunately, are too numerous to mention.

Overall score out of 10: 2

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