South Africa

'Remorseful' Mthethwa apologises to arts community after calls to step down

JOHANNESBURG - Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa has apologised to the arts community after calls for him to step down for his perceived inability to deal with the impact of COVID-19 in the sector.

Theatre practitioners started an online petition to have him removed after Mthethwa claimed that South Africa’s theatre was “alive and well”.

He has since apologised for his tweet in which he was commenting on the state of the arts industry.

But artists have rebuffed the apology, saying Mthethwa is ignorant and misinformed.

They have also slammed him for failing to keep his promises regarding COVID-19 relief funding.

Mthethwa’s spokesperson Masechaba Khumalo on Thursday said the department was fast-tracking the process.

“Minister Nathi Mthethwa wishes to convey his heartfelt remorse for the tweet regarding theatre in South Africa.
More so in light of the fact that the creative sector has been the hardest hit by the pandemic. Furthermore, the department is fast tracking a third phase of relief funding for the industry to continue all efforts to aid the plight of artists affected by this pandemic that’s taking lives and livelihoods and compromising the dignity of our practitioners.”

The arts and culture sector is one of the words hit by the pandemic, leading to massive job losses.

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