KZN arts department accused of R4m booze bash

The event was supposed to support the struggling artist community by providing a platform to showcase talent.

The KwaZulu-Natal Sport, Arts and Culture Department has allegedly splurged R4m on a booze-fuelled bash last month where it is alleged that department officials, staff, their families, and guests were presented with alcohol vouchers of up to R6 000 each.

The function, which was hosted at a well-known Durban nightclub, was themed the Multi-Genre Music Festival and Festival of Beads and was allegedly funded by the National Department of Sport, Arts and Culture.

Bradley Keys, DA spokesperson on department issues, alleges that some staff members who attended the event had to phone friends to come and help them consume up to R6 000 worth of alcohol each.

“The DA is stunned by this finding and has submitted written parliamentary questions to fully establish the facts. This three-day event was supposed to empower previously disadvantaged groups and promote the development of SMMEs in creative and cultural heritage spaces.”

“It was also supposed to support KZN’s struggling artist community by providing a platform to showcase the best in the province,” says Keys.

He says the event was outrageous given that the monthly child support grants are a mere R500 per child and old age grants are just R2 080 per month.

“The tactics adopted by the department are against the law and amount to fruitless and wasteful expenditure. It is actions such as this that have led to its failure to spend funds on deserving artists in KZN,” he says.

DA wants matter probed

Keys says the matter warranted a full investigation by the provincial government, and those found to be responsible.

“The DA will insist that the acting MEC Bongiwe Sithole-Moloi takes this scandalous incident seriously. It must be fully investigated, and the accounting officer must explain to the people of KZN how taxpayers’ money could be spent on a free-for-all booze-up,” he says.

Department of Sport, Arts and Culture spokesperson Thabo Mofokeng says, “The department refutes the allegation that the event was a waste of funds, emphasising its dual mandate to develop artists and provide marketing opportunities and audience development.”

“This mandate directs the department to seek ways for artists to gain meaningful audience exposure and coverage.”


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