Arts Council deny using Red Ants to forcefully remove artists from their building
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Johannesburg - As artist protests continue outside the National Arts Council (NAC) in Newtown, the council has denied the allegations of forceful removal from their building.
At the weekend, a Facebook post claimed that the NAC was planning an ambush to forcefully remove artists from the building using the Red Ants.
The post alleged that the removal would take place at the offices on Tuesday or Wednesday.
“We call upon all artists for yet another massive arts performance activation at the NAC premises where artists will protest through performances to fight against this.”
The post also cautioned other artist sit-ins in other provinces “not to allow anyone to convene or hold any meeting with them outside the sit-in premises until justice is served”.
The contention is over the R300 million Presidential Employment Stimulus Programme (Pesp) fund roll-out.
In a statement, the NAC said they were shocked and in disbelief about the allegations circulating.
“The council and management of the NAC wish to categorically state that these allegations are simply untrue and are fake news. The false allegations are deliberately being fuelled with the sole intention to further perpetuate tension between the NAC and the cultural and creative sector for purposes only known to the individuals behind this…” said spokesperson Tshepo Mashiane.
He said the NAC intended to complete the Pesp roll-out by May 31 and was looking for “amicable discourse to address all the Pesp funding issues of concern that were raised across all parts of the sector”.
Over the last month, the NAC has been at loggerheads with artists over the fund with artists claiming the council had been mismanaging funds instead of paying out artists.
The “Abahlali base NAC” solidarity of artists, meanwhile, occupied the space outside the NAC offices to hold protest performances from 10am to 10pm on Tuesday. The protest was also held online.