S. Africa Arts Council Board sacked

Move welcomed by arts community

JOHANNESBURG — Arts and Culture Minister Pallo Jordan has sacked the entire board of South Africa’s National Arts Council, a move welcomed by the arts community following a year of controversy surrounding the government funding distribution body.

The NAC distributes more than $7 million annually to the arts and culture, but has been beset with allegations of financial irregularities, infighting, mismanagement and abuse of power.

The turmoil meant that the funding system broke down, leaving artists unable to complete planned projects, and the ministry has been under pressure to take action.

The Arts and Culture Ministry intends to dismantle the 22-member board of the NAC and take over its responsibility until April 30.

Jordan said he was forced to take action after board members had reneged on an agreement to resign voluntarily following “amicable discussions” last month. Only four members had resigned — others had threatened to take legal action against the ministry.

“As a result, I had no choice but to exercise my right to dissolve the board to enable me to reconstitute a new board with a fresh mandate,” Jordan said. “The NAC has clearly lost the confidence of the arts community and is no longer in a position to carry out its responsibilities.”

An interim chief executive officer will be appointed on contract until April 30, and a process to nominate and appoint a new board will begin immediately.

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