Arts council loses Chief

Edward Tsumele

Edward Tsumele

The National Arts Council (NAC), the country's statutory body whose main function is to fund the country's artists, has lost its chief executive.

It emerged this week that Selan Naidoo, who was appointed to steer the troubled arts body into clear waters over a year ago, quietly resigned towards the end of last year.

Naidoo, who is highly rated in arts circles for his leadership qualities and arts strategy development, confirmed to Sowetan yesterday that he had left the council to go into private business.

This week the arts body advertised for the position of chief executive amid concerns in arts circles that next year's International Federation of Arts Councils Culture Agencies (IFACCA) world summit, to be held in South Africa for the first time, could face difficulties without a chief executive. The council this week also advertised for the position of project manager for the conference.

Sowetan understands there has been a shake-up of key positions at the arts body, with the chief operating officer's position, formerly held by Julie Diphofa, being given to Goodwin Mnisi. He was head-hunted from the Department of Arts and Culture where he was director of arts institutions and policy. Diphofa was shifted to her previous position of grants manager.

Naidoo has been credited with turning the council around after years of instability, following the dismissal of the previous chief executive amid allegations of management improprieties.

Under his leadership, the council presented an unqualified audit report in four years.

He has also been given credit for helping to refocus the Market Theatre, the Windybrow Theatre and the State Theatre in recent years, when the institutions faced financial and management crises.

Nicholas Motsatse, NAC chairman, yesterday downplayed Naidoo's resignation.