The Department - formerly known as the Department of Arts and Culture - under the leadership of Minister Nathi Mthethwa, has received with great relief the news of Mr. Msomi pleading guilty and being convicted for all counts for theft of funds, of up to R 8-Million, of the Living Legends Legacy Programme (LLLP). Mr Msomi pleaded guilty to all the counts of theft at the Palm Ridge Magistrate Court.
The Department welcomes this ruling and awaits the sentence that will be imposed by the Court on the 28th of November 2019.
The Living Legends Legacy Programme (LLLP) was founded by Minister Nathi Mthethwa in 2015. In January 2019, it was announced by the committee of the Living Legends Trust (LLT) to the members of the LLLP and South Africans, that R8-million of the money paid by the Department to the LLLP had been stolen from the Living Legends bank account.
Upon being made aware of the theft of funds from the LLLP earlier this year, Minister Mthethwa described it as being atrocious. But that it had occurred against this nation's Living Legends, whom the Department is supporting precisely because, as a nation, we owe them so much, had left him in shock and in disbelief. His wish then, was that justice be done and soon thereafter, the perpetrator Mr Welcome Msomi was apprehended by police in Durban in March 2019.
The Department wishes to note that while it considers justice to have been done in this matter, in the form of the conviction of Mr Msomi, this is not the end of the matter as far as it is concerned. The Department is aware that the Trustees of the LLLP will continue with the legal action, through the Courts and collaborating with law enforcement institutions, to ensure full recovery of the funds stolen by Mr. Msomi.
BACKGROUND ON THE LIVING LEGENDS LEGACY PROGRAMME (LLLP) AND LIVING LEGENDS TRUST (LLT):
In August 2015 Minister Nathi Mthethwa announced the Living Legends Legacy Programme (LLLP), an initiative that seeks to honour the living legends of the arts, culture and heritage sector, document their contribution and provide opportunities for interaction, training and imparting of skills to younger generations of artists. On September 2015, the Department of Arts and Culture conducted a workshop to outline the vision of the Living Legends Legacy Programme (LLLP). It is from this vision and through engagement with the Living Legends themselves, that a programme of lectures on various topics and Master classes and incubator programme have been developed.
The Living Legends include the likes of Letta Mbulu, Dr Wally Serote, Abigail Kubheka, Dr Esther Mahlangu, Don Mattera, Dr John Kani and many more of the nation's Living Treasures. The recently departed Dorothy Masuku, Dr Winston Ntshona and Nomhle Nkonyeni also belonged to this esteemed group.
The Living Legends Trust (LLT) Committee comprised the Interim Committee of nine members from various disciplines such as Audio-Visual, Heritage, Education, Literature, music, Theatre, Dance, Visual Arts and Crafts & Design to work on the planned programmes. To date, the Department of Arts and Culture has set aside the amount of R20 million to aid the LLLP in its mandate and objectives. Of the pledged R20million, R8 million had been paid over to the LLT, It is this R8 million rand that was stolen by Mr. Msomi from the bank account.
Source: Department of Arts and Culture