October 3, 2023

In a startling turn of events, the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has set its sights on the Cultural and Creative Industry Federation of South Africa (CIFSA), a prominent organization led by acclaimed actor Tony Kgoroge. The SIU is delving into allegations of serious financial misconduct, focusing on a whopping R12 million payment made by CIFSA in 2018.

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The controversy revolves around the utilization of funds allocated by the Department of Arts and Culture, purportedly intended for the sponsorship of the Usiba Creative and Cultural Industries Awards. These awards, hosted at the prestigious Emperors Palace, were a collaborative effort between the department and CCIFSA, spearheaded by former minister Nathi Mthethwa. The executive producer of the event was none other than media personality Zanele Mbokazi, with Mthethwa himself taking on the role of host.

The trigger for this investigation came from an unexpected source: kwaito legend Eugene Mthethwa, who lodged a complaint asserting that CCIFSA had mishandled public funds in connection with the Usiba awards. This prompted the office of the public protector to initiate a probe, which, it appears, overlaps with the SIU’s own inquiry.

During a recent update to the portfolio committee on sports, arts, and culture, the public protector shed light on the status of the remedial action. It was revealed that due to the parallel investigations, the initial allegations hadn’t been thoroughly explored. This development raises questions about the potential depth and scope of the financial misconduct.

According to Vusumuzi Mkhize, the director-general of the department, both the SIU and the public protector’s office have been actively cooperating with the investigation. Mkhize acknowledged the existence of a memorandum of agreement dated April 20, 2018, which outlined the allocation of the controversial R12 million to CCIFSA. This memorandum, now a focal point of the investigation, further underscores the gravity of the situation.

The repercussions of this investigation are potentially far-reaching. CIFSA, once regarded as a vanguard of the South African cultural and creative industries, now finds itself embroiled in a quagmire of allegations and speculation. The shadow of financial mismanagement looms large, threatening to tarnish the reputation of not only the organization but also its high-profile leader, Tony Kgoroge.

As the SIU delves deeper into the intricate web of transactions and agreements, the outcome of this investigation remains uncertain. The implications could extend beyond mere financial irregularities, potentially impacting the broader landscape of South Africa’s cultural and creative industries.

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In conclusion, the CIFSA investigation stands as a stark reminder of the critical importance of transparency and accountability in the allocation and use of public funds. The allegations, if proven true, not only highlight a breach of trust but also cast a pall over the entire creative industry sector. As the investigation unfolds, it is imperative that all stakeholders, from government bodies to industry leaders, cooperate fully to ensure a thorough and impartial inquiry

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