Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa confirmed on Saturday 30 May that a R200 million relief fund had been made available to assist artists and athletes who are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Because of the measures of the lockdown they can't work, and they are hungry – they say it all the time that 'We can't work, we are hungry Minister'. The government, within its power, will do everything possible to soften the blow".
Sports, arts and culture relief fund
Back in March, Mthethwa announced that an R150 million relief fund would be made available to assist artists, athletes, technical personnel and the core ecosystem of the sector.
He also thanked the provincial MECs of Sports, Arts and Cultures for their commitment "to serving the sector" with their contribution to the fund. Combined, the provincial funds amount to more than R50 million.
The relief fund in its entirety – provincial and national funds combined – now stands at more than R200 million. Minister Mthethwa explained that a person can only apply for a fund from level:
"You get financial assistance from the national relief fund, the province will then be exempted from providing you with financial assistance and vice versa."
In addition, the fund was also open to "proposals for live streaming the work of creatives and athletes". Mthethwa indicated that the maximum amount for artists was R20 000.
The number of sports applications received stands at 470. Of those, 296 were approved while 174 were declined. Twenty-six appeals have been received; ten were successful and three were rejected." As for the rejections:
"They were chance takers. These people applied, they were successful, they received their relief fund. They appealed again, just trying to take chances; they were detected."
The minister also said on Saturday announced which contact sports will be permitted under level 3. Starting Monday 1 June, professional matches for non-contact sports may resume.
Arts and culture
Significant progress has been made in the arts and culture and sector. Mthethwa explained that 1 250 applications were received. However, a large number were rejected which compelled the department to set up an appeals process:
"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."
In addition, Minister Mthethwa said that the "number will continue to change because of the 1 284 appeals emails that have been received to date. The panel had attended to 698 and 270 of those had been successful."
Furthermore, 1 050 applications "had been sent for payment" by 26 May. As of 29 May, the number increased to 279, "which came from successful appeals, thus bringing the number ready for payment to 1 320".
Of those, 592 have already been paid. The balance will be adjusted every day. A list of artists who have already received funding can be viewed here.