Citizen Reporter
3 minute read
31 Jul 2022
9:34 am

Mthethwa’s new ‘folly’ slammed as report reveals national orchestra to get R54m

Citizen Reporter

The outrage over Mthethwa's national orchestra comes shortly after he was slammed for his R22 million flag project.

Minister of Sports, Arts and culture, Nathi Mthethwa at Gallagher Estate in Midrand during the Africa Month 2022 launch, on 9 May 2022. Picture: Jacques Nelles

The publicly criticised formation of a national orchestra by Sports, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa is likely to attract even more fury after it was revealed that the R30 million project has actually been set up with a budget of R54 million.

City Press revealed that R54 million has been paid to the National Arts Council (NAC) to fund the SA National Philharmonic Orchestra.

The SA National Philharmonic Orchestra is an NPO, which is registered as the Mzansi National Philharmonic Orchestra.

A memorandum of agreement signed by the NAC and the NPO shows that two amounts – R41 557 256 and R10 389 314 – were paid into the orchestra’s bank account in November last year.

The City Press report states that another R2 million is then needed to cover a NAC administration fee.

Mthethwa has attracted fresh criticism after it emerged that he wanted R30 million for the national orchestra.

Mthethwa said the national orchestra will be similar to a national sports team, like the Springboks, and will take members from regional orchestras.

Orchestra idea ‘folly’ and ‘rubbish’

Some have slammed this idea.

Richard Cock, the former director of the National Symphony Orchestra, said comparing the orchestra to a national sports team is “rubbish”. 

“To spend all your budget on creating one national team and making out that it is something like the Bokke is rubbish because what you are actually doing is hollowing out the provincial teams and expecting them to feed you quality players without giving them proper funding,” Cock was quote by TimesLIVE as saying.

ALSO READ: Bonang won’t take her foot off Nathi Mthetwa’s neck

The idea behind the national orchestra is to find and mentor talented young musicians, while also using it to promote South Africa internationally.

Speaking on Radio 702, Louis Heyneman, CEO of Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, said the national orchestra was the personal folly of Mthethwa.

“We can’t afford it and we don’t need it; I think it’s a folly, a personal folly of Nathi Mthethwa,” he said.

Heyneman also criticised the mentoring of young artists, saying that they already have training programmes that develop young players.

“There are no auditions done, they just invite whoever is on their list of players, they invite totally at random players to come and play for this orchestra. It’s a total duplication and a waste of money,” he said.

ALSO READ: Arts council manager slams NAC, after being asked to resign on first day at work

R22 million flag

The outrage over the orchestra comes shortly after the minister was widely slammed for his R22 million flag project.

The feasibility study was expected to cost the taxpayer R5 million while the installation of the 100-metre-long flag would have cost R17 million.

South Africans were outraged by the cost of the flag and said the money could be put to better use like helping the poor.

This then led to President Cyril Ramaphosa telling Mthethwa to cancel it the project.

NOW READ: WATCH: Ramaphosa says he told Mthethwa to cancel R22 million flag project