R65.7m paid out by sports, arts and culture relief fund: Nathi Mthethwa

17 August 2020 - 17:39 By Kgaugelo Masweneng
Sports, arts and culture minister Nathi Mthethwa gave an update on his department's Covid-19 relief fund on Monday.
Sports, arts and culture minister Nathi Mthethwa gave an update on his department's Covid-19 relief fund on Monday.
Image: Nathi Mthethwa via Twitter.

The sports, arts and culture ministry says it has paid out R65.7m in the first wave of Covid-19 relief funds.

Minister Nathi Mthetwa said this money had catered for various categories, such as the digital applications, the living legends, relief for athletes, as well as relief for arts and culture practitioners.

For the second wave, the department said it will be rolling out two processes to implement the sector relief: one for athletes and all technical personnel in the sport sector, and the other focusing on the arts and culture sector.

“A total of R77m is set aside for relief, of which R11.5m has been ring-fenced for contribution towards the partnership with the department of small business development,” said Mthethwa.

“If the entire amount is to be paid specifically towards beneficiaries and no other costs are considered, the allocation will cover a total of 11,666 practitioners (athletes and artists).

“The relief will be paid as a one-off payment of R6,600, instead of three staggered payments. This decision was made after consulting with implementing agencies, the NAC [National Arts Council] and Basa [Business and Arts SA]. The approach cut on a lot of administrative processes and time consumption.”

The minister said the first wave was not without its challenges. Due to the lockdown, many applicants were unable to fulfil the requirements of the criteria set on the open call. He said challenges included non-compliance of applications due to failure to submit the required documentation, such as bank statements, tax certificates, and proof of cancelled events or other gigs.

“Lack of access to ICT centres, as most of them were not operating during the lockdown [and] lack of readiness by the department’s IT system also posed major challenges. Most applications were large and the system did not cater for such applications.”

He said the relief will be available to individuals in the arts, culture and heritage sector/cultural and creative industries.

The categories to be provided with relief will apply only to:

  • performances and celebrations;
  • music;
  • festivals and events;
  • books and publishing; and
  • heritage practitioners.

“Other practitioners will be covered through the partnership with the department of small business and development,” said Mthethwa.

“A joint allocation of R23m has been set aside by both departments to respond to a plea from the Cultural & Creative Industries Federation of SA (CCIFSA) for the craft, design and visual arts sectors towards relief amid the Covid-19 pandemic.”

The following do not qualify and may not apply:

  • artists who do not rely solely on the income earned from participating in arts, culture and heritage activities;
  • arts, culture and heritage practitioners on fixed-term contracts
  • applicants who benefited in the first cycle of the DSAC Relief Fund or its provincial counterparts or any other government relief funding;
  • support sectors such as catering, transport and accommodation; and
  • companies/NPIs/NGOs and group applications (such as choirs and bands), which will be catered for by the Presidential Employment Stimulus Programme.

Only practitioners who are dependent on gigs, who are freelancers and independent contractors will be eligible for this relief. Applicants must be able to:

  • provide proof of having earned income through arts, culture and heritage activities (provide contracts/invoices/bank statements/municipal trading permits) in the 12 months ending on February 2020; and
  • prove their applicability in the sector through provision of their profiles/portfolio of work/academic achievements in the sector and/or references from prominent practitioners who have been in the field for 10 years or more.

Upon submitting their applications via WhatsApp on 087 153 1027, all applicants will get an SMS acknowledging their applications.

Should applicants seek clarity and information on their application status, they can call 0800 724 278 at no cost.

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