22 million reasons to fire Mthethwa

Issued by Veronica van Dyk MP – DA Deputy Shadow Minister for Sports, Arts and Culture
23 May 2022 in News

Please find attached English and Afrikaans soundbites by Veronica van Dyk MP.

To paraphrase the Sunday Times, the Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, fought harder for his R22 million flag project than he ever did for anyone employed in the arts and culture industries.

The DA will write to the chairperson of the parliamentary portfolio committee on sports, arts and culture, Beauty Dlualane, to request that Minister Mthethwa urgently accounts for this fallacy, as well as his contemptuous attempt to rename the Afrikaanse Taalmuseum en -monument. He needs to account for his Department’s focus which seems to prioritise vanity projects over the well-being of those who earn a living from the arts and culture sector.

Minister Mthethwa has caused chaos in every ministry he has helmed and the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture (DSAC) is no exception.

Under his watch, there are numerous instances of the deterioration of museums and heritage sights – including Freedom Park that was touted as the site of his now infamous R22 million flag. Surely, it is long past time that President Cyril Ramaphosa fired Minister Mthethwa.

The DA has repeatedly raised issues regarding the leadership of several culture, arts and heritage institutions, including serious concerns at the National Arts Council (NAC), the National Heritage Council (NHC), the Performing Arts Centre of the Free State (PACOFS), and the Bloemfontein Museum.

The Minister has failed to take action after repeated oversight visits and parliamentary questions revealed the decline of sites like the Robben Island Museum, the Liliesleaf historic site, the Johannesburg Art Gallery, and Freedom Park. Instead he has undertaken and approved costly renaming projects which only addressed surface transformation, but failed to truly transform relations on the ground or address economic emancipation.

Transformation as employed by Minister Mthethwa is nothing but a beautiful gravestone that fails to positively impact the arts and culture community, many of whose livelihoods are dependent on his Department.

The renaming of the Afrikaanse Taalmonument is another example of money being wasted on the Minister’s personal agenda. He has once again blundered into a situation without doing due diligence on the positive impact the Taalmonument already has on many minority language groups – not just Afrikaans speakers – and discounting all speakers of the language.

The DA will fight this name change tooth and nail, as we will continue to fight for the proper care of all heritage sites in South Africa. Join the DA’s protest on Saturday, 28 May 2022 at 08:00, at the Afrikaanse Taalmonument in Paarl and sign our petition objecting to its name change here: petitions.da.org.za/p/taalmonument.