ARTISTS have accused the arts and culture department of owing them money and project funding.

They want department head Ntokozo Chonco to step down!

The group included Idols SA season 12 winner Noma Khumalo, maskandi icon Phuzekhemisi Mnyandu, and their leader Thokozani “Tzozo” Zulu.

They stormed the department’s offices in Pietermaritzburg, KZN yesterday, blocked officials’ path, and demanded to see Chonco.

Noma told Daily Sun they didn’t get paid after performing at events.

She said the department delays payments to event organisers.

“I’m here in solidarity with KZN artists,” she said.

“Artists are poor because the department is refusing to fund their projects. Sometimes it’s as if we’re performing for free.”

Tzozo said: “Our families are starving. The department doesn’t have artists’ interests at heart.

“It’s been five years since KZN Music House was shut down, but the government announces there’s an R8 million budget allocation for it. Where does that money go?”

When the SunTeam asked how much the department owed him, he said: “I can’t speak for myself. I’m here as leader of KZN artists.”

Phuzekhemisi said: “We support each other. I’m old so I can’t complain. What they’re saying is true.”

Chonco came out to address the artists two hours later.

Noma read the memorandum of demands to him, including project funding.

Chonco signed it and promised feedback in seven days’ time.

The artists threatened to block the streets of Pietermaritzburg if the promise was not kept.