Behold The Office Spectacle At The National of Arts Conundrum 2

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Amid the latest social media ridicule of Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture – Nathi Mthethwa – commotion continues to unfold at an agency under his watch.

On 20 July 2022, Mthethwa wakes up with a heart full of congrats for Banyana Banyana. The women’s national football team will play Morocco at the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations final on Saturday at Stade Prince Moulay Abdellah in Rabat. But the likes of Bonang Matheba will have non of the congratulatory spirit of Mthethwa. Matheba wants Mthethwa to resign as minister. She feels he is useless.
Well…, And so also continue the drama at the National Art Council (NAC) – an agency whose board is answerable to Mthethwa. The stuff of theatrical work unfolding at the NAC has to do with the continuing Tshepo Anthony Mashiane saga. He is the recipient of a letter instructing him to resign on his first day at work. Programmes Manager- Capacity Building at the NAC is his title as of 11 July 2022.

Behold The Office Spectacle At The National Arts Of Conundrums

Now, observing from the perspective of Bat Katanga, the protagonist in the novel Snakepit by Moses Isegawa, the NAC might as well be the helicopter of General Bazooka Ondogar of Uganda. The military-green colour, Katanga reckons, gives the chopper a monstrosity the look of a toad. Yeah, some creature made for children to play with or dump things in. Thus developments suggest the NAC gives off a scent. It is an odour hinting at one or more NAC Council members seeing the entity as a toy. Perhaps also a missile-laden Mirage Avenger of Ondongar steered by a loose cannon (s) out to revenge.

Tshepo Did Not Shut His Mouth

So! News is that Mashiane has a big mouth problem. While 2021/22 festive was in the air and the spirit of madness engulfed some…, the NAC chair Celenhle Dlamini (of the smile in the picture above) anointed a Chief Financial Officer. The appointment is without the knowledge of other council members, so the story goes. Mashiane, then a council member, raises a hand and says sorry, chair, your action is unprocedural.

Awu! Yaqala lapho inkathazo.

In fact, message exchanges between Council members point to a Mashiane that has been at it for a while. One Council member apologises for selling out Mashiane to the chairperson. As a Council member, goes the narrative, Mashiane was vocal in Council meetings and always stood by his word.

About The “15 June 2022 Resolution”

Last week Dlamini failed to respond to WhatsApp questions about the council resolution declaring irregular the appointment of Mashiane as Programme Manager: Capacity Building.

Well, a letter lands on the lap of the writer. It is from Moodie & Robertson Attorneys, representing the NAC. Dated 15 July 2022, it got dispatched to the legal representatives of Mashiane -De Bruyn Attorneys. So, it reads the appointment of Mashiane is irregular because…, “The 15 June 2022 resolution,” says the NAC council is consulting with Mthethwa before finalising Mashiane’s appointment. “Our client is in the process of engaging with the Minister on the matter, and we will inform you as soon as a formal response is received from the Minister’s office.”

But sources close to the situation say most council members are not aware of the appointment of or instruction to M& Attorneys to represent the NAC regarding the Mashiane conundrum. The NAC Act of 1997 says decisions of the Council get taken by resolution of the majority members. Those present at any meeting of the Council. Numerous Council members allege to be in the dark about the Mashiane versus NAC matter. One member feels their reputation is at stake. And another member fears the situation is the kind that often ends up in tears.

Money Lost To the Arts

Finally, money spent on lawyers in the NAC battles could go a long way to benefit artists and the arts. Unconfirmed information says, last year, the NAC spent about R5 million on legal fees. Some of which went to fighting the South African Roadies Association. An NPO that helps to empower the youth with production and technical services skills. Additionally, another deep throat says the sport, arts, and culture portfolio committee has summoned the NAC to appear. They are to explain the NAC versus Mashiane matter.

Meanwhile, Mashiane will probably get paid for doing what he got told – to stay home.

*Numerous attempts to reach out to Dlamini proved fruitless.

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