Opera star Sibongile Mngoma is singing a sad song, alleging that the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture owes her R100,000.
This resulted in sport, arts and culture minister Zizi Kodwa announcing late on Thursday that he has launched an investigation into the matter.
“I am deeply concerned about the claims of nonpayment made by Ms @SibongileMngoma. I have instructed @SportArtsCultur to investigate and report to me the allegations made by Ms Mngoma. I expect the Department to provide me with a report soon,” said Kodwa on his X account.
Excuses instead of payment
Mngoma told Sunday World that she has been sent from pillar to post and given one excuse after the other over her delayed payment.
Even after she took to social media this week to blast the department, accusing them of being responsible for her financial misery, Mngoma was still not paid by Thursday.
Mngoma said she was supposed to be paid in October.
“My contract states that the last payment will be made on the 10th of October. The project manager disappeared for months and only resurfaced close to the date of closing the contract,” she said.
“I was then sent from pillar to post with the reporting. Even during that period I was still asked for documents that I wasn’t supposed to be asked for.
Department runs out of cash
“When everything was finally finalised, I was told that there is no money. They are looking for more funds from Treasury. The amount that is outstanding is R100,000. So it’s not a lot of money for them but it’s the difference between life and death to most South Africans,” she said.
Mngoma said she feels like she is waiting in vain as she was told that she will be paid once money from the National Treasury is made available.
Artists get rough end of stick
She added that her frustration is an indication of how artists are treated by the department.
“The question is ‘do I see the point in voting for the current people in government? Then the answer is absolutely not’,” she said.
She said the money owed to her is not a handout and she has worked hard for it.
“I don’t get gigs from the department. Even the money I’m owed is not for gigs. The project that was funded was not a gig for me. It was for the choir of young people. I don’t make money from such projects. I do regret working with the department. They are a disgrace,” she said.