Market theatre ‘racism, nepotism’ probe concluded

Department of Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa with Kwanele Gumbi, chairman of the council of the Market Theatre Foundation.

The investigation was sparked by allegations of sexism, nepotism, and victimisation of staff by a senior manager.

A forensic investigation sanctioned by the department of arts and culture into allegations of racism and nepotism has been concluded. The investigation, headed by Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa, was to examine allegations of misconduct, racism, insubordination, and nepotism.

The investigation has been concluded and was handed to the council of the Market Theatre Foundation for consideration and further remedial action. The theatre, however, said they would not disclose the findings as they intended to offer those staff members implicated in the report fair process and the right to reply to the findings.

A more detailed statement on the issue would be issued at a later stage, the Market Theatre said.

The theatre has, however, replaced the theatre council’s chairperson, Kwanele Gumbi, with Gerald Themba Dumas. Dumas’ role came into effect on December 21 alongside other newly appointed members.

The new members, appointed under the Institutions Act No 119 of 1998, are Nalini Maharaj, Shado Twala, Sershan Naidoo, and Kopano Xaba. They succeed council members Brooks Spector and Sebiletso Matabane, who resigned from the council in August 2018.

The arts and culture department is currently in the process of filling the vacant posts and remains committed to good governance.

The investigation was sparked by allegations of sexism, nepotism, and victimisation of staff by a senior manager. The findings will look into alleged discrepancies in salaries, claims that white employees received different treatment from black staff, human resource issues such as the role of CEOs and CFOs, and the report that the theatre did not have permanent staff.

Insubordination accusations, as well as former theatre chair Gumbi’s UK trip, were also earmarked to be addressed in the concluded forensic investigation.

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