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Whistleblower fired, arts funding boss gets new contract

2018-07-03 00:29

Mary-Anne Makgoka, the board secretary who blew the whistle on alleged dodgy dealings at the state’s arts funding body, the National Arts Council (NAC), has been given the sack after a disciplinary hearing lasting several months.

The chief executive who had the whistle blown on her, Rosemary Mangope, on the other hand, has had her contract renewed for five years “after a rigorous performance review process”, according to an NAC statement.

She is apparently yet to face disciplinary action over Makgoka’s claims that she irregularly gave herself a huge pay hike and bonus, and that she used her power to irregularly award arts and culture development funds to her preferred projects.

This is despite an April 17 Parliamentary Monitoring Group recording in which arts and culture director-general Vusimusi Mkhize promised Parliament’s portfolio committee on arts and culture that the Mangope matter would be treated as a priority.

The department declined to respond to specific questions about this promise, simply telling City Press that “the matter is still under investigation”.

Makgoka was not found guilty of whistle-blowing, but rather of not performing her board secretary functions properly, mostly with regards to keeping minutes.

She said she would take her appeal against this finding to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration.

She says the charges are cooked and anyway not serious enough to warrant dismissal, and certainly not in line with the conclusions drawn by Advocate Ian Posthumus, who chaired her disciplinary hearing.

Posthumus did not respond to questions from City Press, while NAC spokesperson Janet Molekwa said the process was independent.

Both the department and the NAC repeatedly referred to a forensic investigation into Mangope’s conduct commissioned from auditing firm SizweNtsalubaGobodo.

Said Molekwa: “The detailed findings and recommendations of the report can’t be made public as they are still being dealt with internally. In the spirit of transparency, the council will issue a full statement at an appropriate time.”

However, only some of the claims against Mangope, and that have been investigated, are detailed in the report.

The NAC says its council has conducted its own probe into the remaining allegations and is considering the outcomes.

The angry whistle-blower refuses to step down, telling City Press: “I am being laid off for my honesty. Telling the truth against corruption does not pay in South Africa. Money that should be used for the upliftment of artists in this country is being used to fill people’s pockets.”

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September 23 2018