DA seeks clarity over arts and sports relief fund beneficiary lists

The Democratic Alliance (DA) will write to the Minister of Sports, Arts, and Culture Nathi Mthethwa to get clarity on why the list of successful beneficiaries of the arts and sports sector relief fund differed from the one that his department shared with parliament.

DA MP Tsepo Mhlongo said in a statement on Wednesday: "The list of successful beneficiaries handed over to parliamentarians, however, seems to be incomplete as it omits a substantial number of beneficiaries, which have been reported on in the media but are not present on the list given to parliament."

Mhlongo said the DA had requested that the department release the full list of beneficiaries and amounts that were approved to the portfolio committee on sports, arts and culture in order for the committee to scrutinise and perform oversight.

"The fact that two lists exist, will not only hinder the work of the portfolio committee, but it weakens the credibility of the entire process and fuels the debate among athletes and artist who have already been doubting the manner which the process had been carried out.

"The arts and sports sector relief fund application process have been marred by controversy ranging from uncertainty around criteria, technical glitches, poor communications and an insufficient application period," he said.

The MP said while small inconsistencies could be overlooked, the discrepancies between the two lists were too significant to ignore and the fact that the party had asked for the department to release this list three weeks ago.

"This would have been ample time for the department to produce a comprehensive list to both parliament and the media, which includes the amounts which were approved. The DA, therefore, calls on Minister Mthethwa to urgently rectify the lists to be immediately shared with the committee with total money allocated," he said.

Mhlongo said the DA was "extremely disappointed" with Mthethwa's handling of the entire relief funding process and wishes to reiterate the importance of oversight when it came to the allocation of these relief funds.

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