JPO’s financial prospects ‘begin to look hopeful’
17 November 2012 | JASPER SHEPHERD SMITH
It was reported in The Star yesterday that the staff and musicians of the JPO were owed R2.2 million in salaries.
The JPO had been struggling financially since the worldwide economic recession of 2008, with funding from private sector companies declining sharply.
The orchestra had previously relied extensively on support from these companies, which included Sasol, Barloworld and Bidvest Group.
“These companies pulled out either after or during the recession,” Bokaba said.
“This is because companies tend to cut marketing budgets when times get tough.”
The company took a resolution last month to undergo business rescue proceedings.
“The business rescue procedure is quite hectic in that there are many deadlines,” Bokaba said.
“The resolution to start the procedure was signed on October 19,” he said.
“Within five days, the business rescue supervisor had to have been chosen and approved.”
After the practitioner, Sikkie Kajee, had been appointed to the company then had five days to meet with all of its creditors and employees for discussions regarding the rescue.
“Following these discussions, the supervisor was then given 25 days in which to formulate a strategy,” Bokaba said, “This period expires on December 4.”
Despite the intensity of the procedure, things were looking up, Bokaba said.
This is in part thanks to responses to requests for assistance from both the National Lottery and the Department of Arts & Culture.
These requests had been lodged in April of 2011.
“I received contact from the Department of Arts & Culture yesterday and this morning, which sounded really hopeful,” Bokaba said yesterday.
This was confirmed by the department’s director of communications, Mark Lewele, who said that the department was working to find a way to provide assistance to the JPO.
Although the department does not have a formal contract to assist the orchestra, Lewele said they were looking as hard as possible to find a solution.
“Funding for the JPO has traditionally been done on an ad hoc basis, so we have to look at finding a solution that will not compromise other funding programmes,” he said.
“This is a complex process, which has obviously resulted in some delay.” Lewele acknowledged the importance of the situation, saying that the department was committed to finding a way to help.
Bokaba also said that he was optimistic about receiving increased private sector funding.
“There has a substantial increase in inquiries from private sector companies following extensive coverage of the JPO’s plight in the media this week,” he said.
The JPO currently employs 52 musicians and four administrative staff members, who earn a combined salary of R1.1 million.
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