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MINISTER RESPONDS (article first published : 2001-02-21)

Dr BS Ngubane, Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology has instructed a commission to conduct an investigation at the Playhouse theatre in KwaZulu Natal.

"I am deeply shocked at allegations which surfaced in the media about the Playhouse. I am appointing a commission to investigate these allegations and will take appropriate action as advised," said Ngubane.

The allegations are of a serious nature and need thorough investigation. The Minister has appointed a one-person commission, Ms Doreen Ntetha to conduct an investigation. Ms. Ntetha is the chief executive officer of the National Arts Council (NAC).

The terms of reference of the investigation are as follows:

1. To establish whether Board members acknowledge the accuracy of the transcripts of the meetings.

2. To obtain an explanation for the remarks allegedly made by Board members from Board Chairman Edmund Radebe and others.

3. To establish to what extent (if any) racist sentiments have influenced senior appointments and other critical decisions at the Playhouse.

4. To make preliminary assessment as to whether the former acting Acting MD Ms Gita Pather's constitutional rights may have been infringed by the board and whether a complaint should be laid with the Human Rights Commission.

"The government's vision for the arts is inspired by the best traditions of democracies the world over. To realise the full potential of the arts and culture means that as fellow citizens we value the rich diversity of South Africa," said Minister Ngubane.

The Ministry and Department consider racism as a cancer that is eating away at the soul of nation building and urges all South Africans not to perpetuate it.

More information from Andile Xaba on (012) 337-8313 or 082 370 5336 or Mack Lewele on 082 450-5076




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