THE Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu ) has thrown its weight behind the Trade Union for Musicians of South Africa (Tumsa), and slammed the Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa.

Since the beginning of the lockdown, Tumsa has been at loggerheads with Mthethwa. They’ve allegedly requested a meeting with his office but to no avail.

Eventually, the trade union federation, together with the I’m 4 Arts movement, issued a public statement asking the minister to step down.

As a result, Cosatu has called upon the Mthethwa to meet with the artists.

In a statement, Cosatu accused Mthethwa of failing to keep his promise.

“…the Ministry and the Department for Sports, Arts and Culture have repeatedly failed to engage with Tumsa to work to find solutions to these crises.

“Despite repeated requests to engage from Tumsa and various broken promises by the Ministry and Department to precisely do that.

“These are workers with families and responsibilities and they’re being let down by bureaucratic bungling and political indifference.

“They’re crying out for help and repeatedly ignored, and doors are slammed in their faces by the people entrusted with the responsibility to help them. The minister needs to engage directly with Tumsa as a matter of urgency,” reads the statement.

Cosatu spokesperson, Sizwe Pamla, said they fully support Tumsa’s call.

“We’re saying government should meet with the artists and discuss these issues.”

“We are making this call because artists already have ideas and solutions, this is their industry and they understand it better. We are not imposing ideas on anyone but we are saying they understand their challenges better. We are therefore calling upon the Minister to meet with them so that they can express themselves,” he said.

Sizwe said he is also aware of Tumsa’s call for the minister to step down.

“I am aware of their call and I understand it came from a place of frustration. They had every right to make that call as long as felt their Minister is not doing what he is expected to do. The Minister cannot be indifferent especially during the time of crisis. We are therefore pleading with the Minister to meet with the artists so that they can iron their differences and find a common ground,” he said.

He accused the Department of Arts and Culture of under-performance. “What cannot be accepted is for the Department to underperform as it has been so far,” said Sizwe.

Musician and spokesperson for Tumsa, Vicky Simpson, said they welcome Cosatu’s support.

“We’re glad to receive this kind of support from our mother body. Unfortunately, we haven’t met with the minister but his officials,” said Vicky.

Meanwhile, last Sunday Mthethwa was trending on twitter with #NathiMthethwaMustFall.

PutSouthAfricans first wrote: “Isukile bafethu...the masses have spoken …# NathiMthethwaMustFall and lets also do #ANCMUSTFALL coz its the whle ANC that is a problem.

UmalambaneZN wrote: “To think how many kids we’ve seen come and ask for funding here on twitter to participate in sports tournaments overseas kanti the Minister has been seeing it all just blue ticking and entertaining celebrities,”

Tumelo Warona wrote: “In SA we’ve got ministers who are too quick to address celeb Twitter wars than issues they are employed for.”

Khalanga wrote: “These ministers take twars serious than the interest of the people.”

Spokesperson for Mthethwa, Masechaba Khumalo refused to comment.