KZN Music House: DA welcomes criminal charges against senior DoAC officials and former staff

Democratic Alliance media statement by George Mari, MPL

DA KZN Spokesperson on  Arts and Culture

 

KZN Music House: DA welcomes criminal charges against senior DoAC officials and former staff

 

The Democratic Alliance has been advised that criminal charges of fraud and corruption have been laid against several former KZN Music House staffers and senior officials from within the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Arts and Culture (DoAC).

The information came to light during an Arts and Culture portfolio committee meeting held yesterday with both MEC Bongiwe Sithole-Moloi and her HOD, Mr Chonco, both confirming that the charges were recently laid at Pietermaritzburg’s Loops Street police station.

The move follows the completion of a protracted investigation by the provincial Treasury. While the DA has not had sight of the damning report, we believe that the former KZN Arts and Culture MEC Sibhidla-Sapetha’s daughter’s fiancé is implicated.

The DA has been raising its concerns around the state of the KZN Music House since 2015. We therefore welcome the culmination of Treasury’s probe and the subsequent laying of criminal charges.

KZN’s Music House is a prime example of how corruption robs our people of basic services and opportunities. It is extremely disturbing that the very people who were assigned to look after this important facility are behind its downfall as a result of pure greed.

When it became clear that the entity was collapsing, departmental officials passed the buck, claiming they had no control over the Music House and merely provided funding. In 2016/17 the DoAC withheld funding causing the entity to completely break down. As a result, staff were told not to return to work.

The result of the collapse of this entity is that the very people it was meant to serve – KZN’s emerging artists – are being referred to other secondary facilities in the province to record their work and develop their talents. This is simply not good enough.

Then there is the burden to the taxpayers of our province, which runs into millions. A response (view here) by MEC, Bongiwe Sithole-Moloi to questions posed by the DA has also revealed that the collapse of the Music House led to the DoAC having to pay an outstanding electricity bill of R1.6million. This is a shocking waste of public funds.

The DA will insist that MEC Sithole-Moloi and her Department work quickly to ensure the resurrection of this once fine institution so that it can be used by KZN’s emerging artists and so that it is no longer a drain on taxpayers.

We remain committed to monitoring the legal process from here on. We will not allow a situation where those who have taken advantage of their position are allowed to escape punishment. Those who have been part of the collapse of this once fine institution must be brought to book.

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