As the Pacofs sit-in nears the 20-day mark, the Free State artists say they will not back down regardless of the Pacofs board requesting them to vacate the building in a letter. The movement has had a domino effect across the country and has seen artists stand up against alleged irregularities and maladministration.
This was one of the hardest hit industries by the Covid-19 pandemic. The provincial coordinator of the Cultural and Creative Industries Federation in South Africa (Ccifsa), Mbuyiselo Nqodi, has told Bloemfontein Courant that the board is failing to meet their demands and instead is asking that they vacate the building so that the board can start looking into the issues that the artists have brought to the board’s attention. “They can come to work while we are here. We will not be in their way but we will not vacate the building until we get what we have demanded.”
Nqodi alleges that artists are not represented on the artistic committee that reviews certain proposals for productions and submits them to the council for final consideration. According to him, they have a zoom meeting set up with the Premier of the Free State, Sefora Ntombela, and the Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, before the end of the week. He says the board wrote to them but have failed to even meet one of their demands in the letter.
The national leadership of Ccifsa have pledged their solidarity with protesting Northern Cape artists. Nqodi and his team have paid a visit to the Kimberley-based artists recently to show their support for the cause. This past week, The South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) in a media statement have said they are in agreement with the peaceful protests by artists and support their demands. Meanwhile, the Pacofs Council has released a statement saying it is looking into the allegations.