Arts department under fire for paying about R2m on ‘ghost artists’

Three mysterious artists cashed in close to R2-million performing at two events commissioned by the Gauteng department of sport, arts, and culture in the last two financial years.

DJ Chucky, DJ Bunks and DJ Menstor, who all have no social media presence, no known hit songs, and could not be traced, cost taxpayers a total of R1 803 200 to perform for a few hours at the Hanyani Wellness Event in 2021 and in August 2022.

The Hanyani Wellness Events, which hosted over 10 events for the Arts department, pocketed a larger chunk of the Arts department’s budget to organise events that included a wellness event at a nightclub in Daveyton, Ekurhuleni for R422 679.

This is according to information provided by MEC Morakane Mosupyoe in a written reply in the legislature. Mosupyoe shared that at least R7.9-million of the R28-million spent on social events was used on payments directly made to artists in the last two years.

However, Sunday World has learnt that the three artists who were paid the most chunk of the R7-million do not exist.

An online search of DJ Chucky returned no results, while a Facebook search of the same name led to a page belonging to a DJ Chucky Music, who has no face, no contact details, and just over 3 000 followers.

The same search of DJ Bunks returned no results. DJ Menstor also appeared to be a non-existing artist. It is not yet clear if these events were indeed held and which artists performed.

The names of the artists were shared by Mosupyoe after DA Gauteng spokesperson for sport, arts, culture and recreation, Kingsol Chabalala, requested that the Arts department share names of artists who were paid in the last two years.

On the list, rapper AKA, DJ Maphorisa, and amapiano artists Costa Titch and Pabi Cooper also appear to be the most booked by the Arts department, however, at way lesser rates.

According to the reply, AKA, Costa Titch, Kamo Mphela, Young Stunna, and Kalawa Jazmee artists were paid a combined R300 0000 to perform at the Gauteng Sports Awards in 2021.

Pabi Cooper, Young Stunna, and Bontle Smith were paid R96 000 to perform at the Africa Netball qualifiers in August, while DJ Maphorisa, Lamiez Holworthy, and Kabza De Small shared R150 000 to perform at another Hanyani Wellness event at the Altitude Beach Bar in 2021.

Chabalala said the department failed to account for R28-million wasted on these social events, as it could not send information on payments for the remaining R20-million.

“The department only accounted for R7 928 767 paid to service providers for comedy shows and beach parties from 2021 to 2023 at various pubs and nightclubs,

“It is worrying that the department is failing to account for R20-million spent on social events. This raises suspicions about whether the money was spent on social events or was stolen. Social events are being used as a shield to hide corrupt activities,” he said.

Chabalala called for premier Panyaza Lesufi to intervene on the matter to ensure that the Arts department delivers on its mandate and eradicate fruitless and wasteful expenditure.

“The DA will table follow-up questions to MEC Morakane Mosupyo to provide a full report on how the unaccounted R28-million was spent.

“If she fails to do so, the DA will report her to a law-enforcement agency to investigate theft and corruption within the Arts department.”


Follow @SundayWorldZA on Twitter and @sundayworldza on Instagram, or like our Facebook Page, Sunday World, by clicking here for the latest breaking news in South Africa. To Subscribe to Sunday World, click here.

Latest News