Johannesburg 25 November 2021. The National Arts Council of South Africa (NAC) welcomes the sector to this industry briefing on 25th November 2021 to communicate developments and updates to the industry. The sector briefing addresses the PESP Forensic Report, the current NAC Project Funding Call and bursaries, Covid-19 Provincial Partnerships and PESP wrap up.
- PRESIDENTIAL EMPLOYMENT STIMULUS PROGRAMME (PESP) FORENSIC REPORT
On the 13th of November 2021, the NAC released the final and adopted Mazars Forensic Report instituted by the NAC. This was done following a media briefing held by the Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture (DSAC), Hon. Nathi Mthethwa, and the NAC Chairperson, Princess Celenhle Dlamini, on 27 September 2021, where they announced the preliminary findings of the report.
After numerous allegations and reports from panel members and other persons about mismanagement and maladministration of the PESP funds, the Council resolved to investigate the allegations.
Mazars, a reputable accounting firm and forensic investigations’ company was appointed for the work. The report was released and duly adopted by the Council. After seeking legal advice, the NAC Council resolved to release the report to the public. The release of the Report to the public is preceding the official commencement of the implementation of the recommendations as contained in the Report, wherein the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer have been charged.
Some of the findings revealed in the forensic report are that there are no funds missing on the PESP Programme, although several irregularities pertaining to the management of the PESP were found, including financial mismanagement, process irregularities and lack of adequate oversight; newly appointed Council Members (from the 1st of January 2021) were all cleared of any wrongdoing.
Furthermore, the Report identified a conflict of interest in respect of some former Council Members, who contravened Section 8(5) of the NAC Act by participating in the PESP processes and failing to declare their directorship in companies that applied to the PESP.
Former Council Members disregarded their own resolution of 19 September 2020 by allowing five Council Members to actively participate in the evaluation of applications, thereby contravening the provisions of the NAC Act. The findings from the Report also showed that there was a failure to take effective and appropriate steps to prevent irregularities in the adjudication process, including, irregular spending.
- NAC PROJECT FUNDING AND BURSARIES
The call for NAC Project Funding was announced on the 6th August 2021 with a closing date of 20th September 2021. For this Project Funding call, the minimum amount to be applied for by each applicant was R50 000 and the maximum was R350 000.00. Four thousand one hundred and seventy-one applications were received, amounting to R1,249 billion rands. The total budget for the Call is R27 538 844 and is split for allocation towards the following disciplines:
- Craft (R2 289 245.00),
- Dance (R2 860 233.00),
- Theatre (R2 860 233.00),
- Visual Arts (R2 610 233.00,
- Music (R4 649 478.00),
- Literature (R2 610 233.00),
- Multidiscipline (R5 720 466.00),
- Bursaries (R3 938 723.00).
An independent panel of adjudicators were appointed and included industry experts, who are currently processing and evaluating the applications. The Panel Recommendations will be tabled for approval at Council from the 2nd to the 4th December 2021. The final results of this Project Funding Call and International Bursaries will be made available on the NAC website and social media platforms on the 5th December 2021.
The call for Local Bursaries will be opened during the first quarter of 2022.
- COVID-19 PROVINCIAL PARTNERSHIPS
The purpose of this initiative is to disburse Covid-19 relief funds aimed at supporting arts organisations and individual artists affected by the pandemic.
As per the initial call earlier this year, it was the NAC’s intention to partner with up to four (4) organisations in each province, selecting organisations that were deemed to have the requisite skill and capacity to roll out the funding and reach the affected beneficiaries. It should be noted that it was not mandatory for the NAC to appoint four organisations in each province, but to select up to four partners who met the criteria and had a proven track record of accomplishment in implementing art programmes that can fulfil the disbursing of the relief funds.
After announcing the 26 selected partners across provinces, the NAC received an appeal from CCIFSA requesting that 2 provinces be afforded 4 partners so as to ensure that there was reach across those two provinces. In accordance with S12(1) of the NAC Act, the appeals were lodged with DSAC. Whilst awaiting the outcomes of the appeals, a further appeal was received from an applicant in a third province. At this juncture, when dealing with the matter of appointing Provincial Partners, the NAC will consider the vast geographic nature of some of the rural provinces, poor connectivity, and the impact of the above on reaching the beneficiaries.
- PRESIDENTIAL EMPLOYMENT STIMULUS PROGRAMME
PESP commenced in October 2020, with the purpose to offer support for employment retention in the sector, i.e. Stream 1, with an allocation of R85 million, and to create work opportunities, i.e. Stream 2, with an allocation of R200 million. To date, the NAC has distributed over 97% of the allocated R285 million for funding, and the balance of 3% are beneficiaries who have not fully reported or submitted the relevant documentation for the release of their funding.
In light of this, the NAC seeks to address four groups of beneficiaries:
Beneficiary Group 1 are PESP Beneficiaries who were paid on the new Guiding Figure. Beneficiaries who have not submitted any project reports should note that a satisfactory first report was required by the 22nd November 2021
Beneficiary Group 2 are also beneficiaries who were paid on the new Guiding Figure. Beneficiaries who have submitted the first project report should note that a satisfactory second / final report must be submitted by no later than the 30th of November 2021.
Beneficiary Group 3: all PESP Beneficiaries who were paid on the new Guiding Figure and who have been advised of first or second report queries should note that they will need to resolve these timeously to ensure that they meet the deadline of the second report submission date of the 30th November 2021.
Beneficiary Group 4: are Beneficiaries who were paid 70% on the old Guiding Figure and did not sign the addendum and had a remaining balance of 30% due to them. These beneficiaries should note that if they have submitted satisfactory first and second reports and are fully compliant, the NAC will be paying the second tranche in due course. In addition, beneficiaries that have not submitted the second report must do so by the 30th November 2021, pending approval of the first report so that the second tranche payment can be made.
All Stream 1 beneficiaries are only required to submit one report.
The PESP Team are working tirelessly to review reports that have recently been submitted to ensure that deadlines are met, and payments can be made. Due to the high volume of administrative work that needs to be undertaken to complete this process, we request that beneficiaries bear with us for a few more days for payments to be made. It is our intention to ensure that all payments are made by no later than 8th December.
We would like to emphasise that payment can only be made to individuals and/or organisations that have submitted their reports and are tax compliant.
Beneficiaries who fail to respond to the above requests timeously will be obliged to submit proof of expenses incurred against the first tranche payment made by the NAC and will forfeit the balance of their funding; they will be considered to be in breach of their contract.
Finally, we would like to advise that DSAC is currently reviewing the Appeals and further information will be communicated in due course.
The NAC would further like to thank all artists, practitioners and organisations that applied for PESP funding, project funding and the provincial partnerships funding. We remain committed to the arts sector and display such commitment through small strategies that make a big difference by committing to being transparent.
Thank you for attending the briefing.
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