Department of Sport, Arts and Culture denies claims of neglecting theatre team
"If anything happens to us, we call upon Limpopo people to know what the department has done to us."
Cast of Pienaars stranded in Pretoria. Picture: Facebook/Jimmy Mohlaba
The Limpopo Department of Sport, Arts and Culture has released a statement following artists’ neglect claims.
According to Jimmy Mohlala, a member of the Cast of Pienaars (Pienaars Theatre Group from Limpopo), they were contracted to perform at the State Theatre in Pretoria from 9-15 of October. They then approached the Limpopo Department of Sport, Arts and Culture for assistance.
Mohlala adds: “MEC Nakedi Kekana adopted us after witnessing our show in Polokwane at Piet Joubert School of Special Skills. The department then promised to assist and accommodate our cast of 35 artists.
“To our surprise, we finished our rehearsals late tonight and found out there’s no accommodation. The team is sleeping in the corridors on a cold Pretoria night. Now the MEC is not taking our calls. If anything happens to us, we call upon Limpopo people to know what the department has done to us.”
‘The claims are untrue’ − The Limpopo Department of Sport, Arts and Culture
The department has since released a statement denying and labelling the claims as “the malice of the group to tarnish the image of the department, and that of the MEC.”
According to the statement released on Tuesday morning, the department did not have an agreement for accommodation with the group.
“Although the department sympathises with the “Pienaars Theatre Group,” it cannot be held at ransom to procure accommodation for a team that left the province without having had a prior agreement with the department and blames the department for not being accommodated subsequently,” said the department.
However, the department admitted that the group reached out for help, adding: “Firstly, to deal with allegations of a ‘promise’ made by the department in relation to the accommodation is untrue, and safe to say only a request was made without having been approved. The department does not fund artists’ organisations.