Suspect in R8m Living Legends theft nabbed

Minister of Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa.
Minister of Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa.
Image: Bafana Mahlangu

The minister of arts and culture Nathi Mthethwa has expressed "great relief" at the arrest of a suspect in the theft of R8-million from the Living Legends Legacy Programme  trust fund.

According to a statement released by the department of arts and culture, the suspect, a Johannesburg resident was nabbed by the elite Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation Unit, better known as the Hawks, in Durban  on Saturday.

Legendary singer and chairperson of the Living Legends Legacy Programme Letta Mbulu announced at a press conference in January that the funds had been stolen from the organisation's First National Bank (FNB) account, which was set up in to honour living legends in the arts space and empower young artists.

"I stated this in January and I am stating it once more that that theft of such a grand scale has occurred is in itself atrocious. It is therefore with great relief that I have received the news that a suspect is now in custody. I have full confidence that the law will now take its course," Mthethwa said.    

The minister said the department would continue to engage FNB, since "it absolutely has to account as to how a bank account that is subject to stringent controls, in addition to existing strict banking regulations, could be compromised in this manner".

"We will not rest until we have all the answers we seek, including relief in the form of recovery of monies lost," he said.

Mbulu had said although certain programmes would be adversely affected by the theft, all other planned workshops by the organisation would continue as per schedule.

The Living Legends is made up of the likes of Wally Serote, Abigail Kubheka, John Kani and Esther Mahlangu, while recently deceased jazz singer Dorothy Masuku and Winston Ntshona were also members.

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