PRESIDENT Hage Geingob, in his year-end media briefing last year, declared 2018 as the ‘year of reckoning’, during which government will strive to be accountable for its actions and improve on tackling poor service delivery, while curbing infighting in government institutions and corruption amongst officials.
The newly revamped National Arts Council of Namibia (NACN), which resides under the Directorate of Arts in the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture, also seems to be determined to rectify the previous board’s mistakes and alleged mismanagement of arts and culture funds.
In the past, many artists found themselves begging for assistance from the NACN, as it seemed that only a select few were directly benefiting since its inception in 2007.
The NACN is a little shy of 11 years old and its mandate, as stated in the National Arts Fund Act of 2005, is to control and manage the National Arts Fund, in order to promote and develop arts in Namibia.
However, it seemed that the previous staff members used the council as their own personal bank account.
It was reported that two senior staff members, between 2007 and 2013, before both of them were fired by the NACN board of directors, were involved in the mismanagement of N$1.1 million, which included many irregularities in the auditor-general’s financial audits during the same time period.
A suspicious transfer of N$1 million from the NACN’s bank account was also reported and other monies that were put aside for the development of the arts and culture industry. These are just some examples of how artists end up being the victims of a corruption and mismanagement.
More recently, however, the council has notability been busy trying to right these wrongs, and has invigorated an NACN that had been all but dormant.
The new board members and administration of NACN have already supported 22 arts projects with funds amounting to N$3 172 962.64 for all art forms in Namibia.
The NACN is also partnering with ten arts organisations, for the development and continuation of the arts and culture industry. All we can hope for is that the NACN continues to support the arts, and that it will continue to be a good custodian of taxpayer money.
As Geingob has intimated, the days of corruption, including favouritism, are numbered at State-funded entities.
Ultimately, the NACN should be transparent, by regularly informing the public and artists about opportunities in the arts and culture industry.
There is currently no NACN website, and although their Facebook page is up and running, it mainly only shares job vacancies, calls for auditions and various art videos.
The website should, therefore, be launched as a matter of urgency, to ensure that artists receive up-to-date information on funding options, and the like.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015