By: Precious M. Lesupi
Minister Nathi Mthethwa of the Department of Arts and Culture addressed the sector on May 4th with regards to the survival of the department during the nationwide lockdown.
According to Mthethwa, this sector will take the hardest hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The sector has thus procured a 150-million-rand relief fund for artists, athletes, technical personnel and the ecosystem of the sector, whose applications closed on April 6th. Each athlete and creative with successful applications will receive R20 000 as an incentive for lost work because of the nationwide lockdown. “We are doing everything to fast track people getting the relief”, said the minister.
The sports adjudication panel was the first to be appointed and begin the processes of adjudication. By April 23rd, more than 300 applications were received and the distribution of funds to successful applicants began. Thus far, “a total of 293 athletes from 25 federations have received payment”, said Mthethwa. The sporting codes that have received funding so far include among others, surfing, canoeing, netball, triathlon, gymnastics, golf and more.
Arts and Culture
Of the 1050 applications adjudicated on, 232 were recommended, 603 were not recommended and 203 were referred to Department of Sports, Arts and Culture (DSAC). The number of digital applications to be referred to the NFVF is 12. “We are concerned that the largest number of those not recommended are artists who are seemingly in greater need of relief”, Mthethwa adds. Some of the reasons of non-compliance, according to minister Mthethwa include the lack of provision of some documents or rather the issue being of postponement and not cancellation. Applicants who were not recommended will have an option to address the appeals committee.
For the duration of the level 4 lockdown, playhouses, theatres and production studios will be open to facilitate live streaming with no audience. These workspaces should not have more than 50 people present, must be sanitized, must have dedicated cleaning staff and a daily register of persons granted access to the place. The sector said that it will be engaging public broadcasters to ensure the airing of local content. “Let us see local content dominating our lives in this time”, Mthethwa remarked.