Thandiswa Mazwai questions government's R150m arts covid-19 relief fund

“What percentage of lost gig money will we get? Do overseas gigs count? Will we pay tax on it?” she asked.

06 April 2020 - 12:00 By Chrizelda Kekana
Musician Thandiswa Mazwai is concerned about how the lockdown is affecting South African artists.
Musician Thandiswa Mazwai is concerned about how the lockdown is affecting South African artists.
Image: Via Instagram

Songstress and activist Thandiswa Mazwai has used her social media platform to question sports, arts and culture minister Nathi Mthethwa, following a decision to release R150-million to help artists in the sector during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Thandiswa over the weekend tagged the minister with a series of questions about the measures he announced which would be implemented, as the government tries to assist artists from the economic meltdown from the coronavirus.

On Twitter she asked the minister some vital questions about the R150m relief fund set aside to help artists.

“Dear artists, have you filled in the forms to get whatever money the DAC has set aside? R150mil has been set aside.

"Nathi Mthethwa can maybe answer some of our questions. My questions are, what percentage of lost gig money will we get? Do overseas gigs count? Will we pay tax on it?” she asked.

The minister answered Thandiswa's questions, saying the department would use its “discretion”, based on the strength of an individual artist's application, to determine how they are paid out.

“You can apply for the entire gig amount and the DSAC will use is discretion to determine allocations. Tax laws remain in place.

“The discretion is based on the strength of each application,” he said.

Thandiswa previously asked the South African Music Performance Rights Association (SAMPRA) what it intended to do to help artists.

Meanwhile, the Southern African Music Rights Organisation (Samro) has announced its plan to offer financial relief to members and affiliates.

In a press statement, it shared its concern for members during the 21-day national lockdown .

“The current state of the economy, exacerbated by the restrictions on movement of people in an attempt to curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus, affected our members most severely and we are delighted that we have been in a position to lighten the burden somewhat. Almost 10,000 members benefited from a recent TV distribution of R63m which we completed on 30 March.

“A month prior to that, we also paid out royalties from the radio category to the tune of R141m, making this the highest radio distribution in the past five years,” said Samro CEO Mark Rosin.

He said the organisation was working hard to collect more on behalf of members to ensure that the coronavirus pandemic did not completely disrupt their livelihoods.


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