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MINISTERIAL BRIEFING STATEMENT: THE DEPARTMENT OF SPORT, ARTS AND CULTURE COVID-19 SECTOR RELIEF FUND
Date 30 May 2020
Minister in the Presidency, Hon J Mthembu
Deputy Minister for Sport, Arts and Culture, Hon N Mafu
The Director General of the Department, Mr. V Mkhize,
Members of the Media,
We meet today as we close off Africa Month, a very significant month for the continent; and on the back of Africa Day which was on the 25th of May 2020. Africa Day is not only a Day to celebrate our proud heritage and our culture, it is a day to reflect on the progress that we have made as Africans in unifying our continent.
This week we honour the legacy of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, who celebrated their 60th birthday on the 28th of May. The group, led by the late legend, Joseph Shabalala, along with many other cultural and heritage ensembles should be celebrated for their role in bringing unity to the continent and the world.
Today, not only are we faced with the challenge of unifying Africa, we are also faced with the challenge of beating Covid-19. There is no time more prudent than now to show solidarity to one another as Africans. As a Department we will continue to do what we can to alleviate the impact of the Coronavirus on practitioners in the sport and arts and culture sectors.
We were propelled by this state of affairs when we committed ourselves to do something to try and soften the impact of Covid-19.
On the 25th of March, we announced a R150 Million Relief Fund to assist artists, athletes, technical personnel and the core ecosystem of the sector nationally. The other part of this fund was open to proposals for livestreaming the work of of creatives and athletes, particularly, intergenerational cooperation between younger artists and the legends. This work has started.
The MECs of Sport, Arts and Culture in all provinces have since announced the provincial Relief Funds to assist athletes and artists at that level. These Funds amount to more than R50 million combined. We thank them for their commitment in serving the sector. If you add this amount to the the one announced nationally it is more than R200 million at the disposal of the sector. We have agreed with the MECs in our consultative meetings we’ve held that if a person receives funds from one level, he or she may not be assisted again at another level, eg. you get financial assistance from the National Relief Fund, the province will then be exempted from providing you with financial assistance and vice versa.
Our teams of independent adjudicators have been working tirelessly to ensure that as many people as possible receive relief during this time.
Sport Adjudication process
The sport adjudication panel was the first to be appointed on the 9th of April, the first to begin adjudicating as well as the first to complete the process. As it stands today, the total number of sport applications received is 470.
The number of approved and paid sport applicants is 296 and 174 declined. A total of 26 appeals have been received and the Appeals Committee has sat this week to review those 26 appeals, 10 were successful and 3 were rejected.
There were 2 successful applicants who appealed but were rejected as they had already received funding. The remaining 11 appealants still have information outstanding.
Arts and Culture
The arts and culture adjudication process was not without it’s glitches, however, we have rectified those and have made significant progress.
The original number of successful applicants was 1,250 but the high number of those rejected compelled us to set up an appeals process to give a platform to those who were not recommended, for their case to be heard by an independent appeals committee.
As a result, the number of successful applicants has increased to 1 520, therefore reducing the number of those not recommended from 1 930 to 1 660 and counting. The number will continue to change because of the 1 284 appeals emails that have been received to date. The panel has attended to 698. 270 of those have been successful.
1050 had been sent for payment by the 26th of May, however that number has since increased by 270 as of the 29th of May, which came from successful appeals. Thus bringing the number ready for payment to 1 320. Of which 592 have been paid. The balance is being attended to everyday.
On Wednesday the 6th of May we had a successful meeting with the sector, especially the key national organisations in the sector to look at how, within the legal parameters, we can ensure that those who really need the assistance, especially from the disadvantaged communities, receive funding. We met with:
The Cultural and Creative Industries Federation of SA (CCIFSA)
The SA Music Industry Council (SAMIC)
The SA Screen Federation (SASFED)
The SA Arts and Culture Youth Forum (SAACYF)
The Independent Black Filmmakers Collective (IBFC)
The SA Roadies Association (SARA)
SA Musicians Support Association,
Children and Broadcasting Service SA; and
The National Clap and Tap Arts Council
We have subsequently beefed up our mechanisms in order to fast-track the process. Adjudication has been closed and the Department, with the help of an independent committee, is finalising the appeals process.
Since the announcement of the Lockdown, there has been no sectoral activity to date. The announcement of amended regulations under level 3 is indeed going to see the gradual introduction of various sectoral activities, however under strict adherence to safety measures, as outlined under the Disaster Management regulations.
Let me take this opportunity and applaud our sector for the discipline demonstrated since the commencement of the Lockdown period. The 100% adherence to the Lockdown Regulations by ensuring that no sectoral activity takes place during this time, has indeed played a tremendous role in assisting with the reduction of the spread of Covid–19.
We as a Department are committed to rebuilding a better society towards the advancement of the sector beyond Covid-19.
I thank you.