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Mthethwa announces second wave of relief funding for artists, sports stars

03 August 2020 - 18:07 By ANDISIWE MAKINANA
Sports, arts and culture minister Nathi Mthethwa, speaking at the National Convention on Nation Building, Social Cohesion and Safe Communities.
Sports, arts and culture minister Nathi Mthethwa, speaking at the National Convention on Nation Building, Social Cohesion and Safe Communities.
Image: Nathi Mthethwa via Twitter.

The government has announced a second wave of Covid-19 relief funding for athletes and artists — with those who qualify getting R2,200 a month for three months.

Sports, arts and culture minister Nathi Mthethwa announced on Monday that the money will be paid to qualifying practitioners for September, October and November.

He said the relief amount was set at R2,200, using the rationale of the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) payment rate structure of R95 to R100 a day.

Only individuals who rely solely on income generated from participating in sports, arts, culture and heritage activities are eligible for the relief. These are people who are dependent on gigs, freelancers and independent contractors, and on sport activities.

Practitioners will be required to submit compliance documents, such as a valid South African ID document, proof of income earned through their work in the sector — including signed contracts, bank statements, municipal trading permits, and so on — and a valid tax clearance certificate, or tax number for those who are tax-exempt.

Mthethwa said R77m had been allocated for the second phase of relief. He said R11m of this had been ring-fenced for contribution towards a partnership with the small business development department.

The relief is expected to cover 11,666 athletes and artists, with R12m going to the arts, culture and heritage sector practitioners (1,818 beneficiaries) and R65m towards 9,848 sports beneficiaries.

The minister said that, to date, R61m had been disbursed to beneficiaries during the first phase of relief.

The department has taken into consideration the commitments for the unpaid beneficiaries in the first phase, estimated at R34m, he said.

Mthethwa said in conceptualising the second wave of relief, his department listened to the plight of practitioners and conducted a number of consultations with those who were involved in the process of administering relief, including sector organisations, panellists and national entities.

The second wave will therefore take into account the shortcomings and experiences of the first rollout, he said.

These are categorised as:

  • The period for the call for applications to be at least 14 days to allow athletes and practitioners sufficient time to make use of the opportunity.

  • The application form to indicate demographics, that is disability, gender, race, age, province and district.

  • The application form to have personal details as per ID document, no nicknames, and so on.

  • All applications must be completed online, including the uploading of supporting documents.

  • Eliminate the criterion of cancelled or postponed events, as it would not be feasible or appropriate for the next phase.

Other considerations (for sport), are that:

  • All applications would have to be submitted through the national federations.

  • There would be two deadlines, with the first deadline dealing with submitting of applications to the national federations which would be of no consequence in terms of the acceptability of the application to the department.

  • There would be a second and non-negotiable deadline by which all national federations will have to submit all their received applications to a central portal.

  • National federations would be the first stage of quality assurance and verification of information. A checklist will be provided to them.

For the arts, culture and heritage sector:

  • There would be collaboration with provincial governments to assist in the collation of databases for qualifying creatives at local level.

  • The outlined criteria would apply to all applicants from various levels of practice (professional/amateur and community practitioners).

  • There would be a clear articulation that the relief is meant for individuals and the application forms would be designed as such.

Mthethwa said they have partnered the department of small business development and agreed to jointly set aside R22m to respond to a plea from the Cultural & Creative Industries Federation of SA for the craft, design and visual arts sectors towards relief.

He said a memorandum of agreement will be entered into on how the funds will be administered. A criteria and appointment of adjudication panel is also being finalised.

The Solidarity Fund has made available 10,000 food or cash vouchers of R700 to the department, amounting to R7m.

Mthethwa said together with provinces, his department will develop a list of beneficiaries who will receive these vouchers.

In the first wave of relief, the department received 5,322 applications for relief and 4,602 were recommended.

In the sport sector, it was confirmed that some of the athletes had other sources of income, such as employment and/or a business, while others could not be confirmed as national athletes, coaches or technical personnel.

  • Other practitioners, particularly in the arts and culture sector, had no indication of cancelled or postponed events, or generally did not fall within the set criteria; incomplete or incorrect forms were used; some didn’t use the form but just wrote in the body of the e-mail without providing detailed information that would be required in the form, according to Mthethwa.

  • There were also applicants who were not tax compliant, especially companies, he added.