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Artists Unhappy With Covid-19 Relief Distribution Methods

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The Covid-19 pandemic has had a major impact on the livelihoods of South Africans. While jobs were lost and people were forced to accept pay cuts, artists were left with very little options to generate income.

Covid-19 lockdowns severely impacted the live entertainment and arts industries. Alert Levels 4 and 5 prohibited live performances.

The Department of Sports, Arts and Culture then entered into an agreement with the National Arts Council (NAC) to deliver funds amounting to R300 million to artists. Last month it was revealed that funds, from the Presidential Economic Stimulus Programme (PESP), were irregularly handled by the NAC

Cultural and Creative Industries Federation of South Africa (CCIFSA) Luzuko Khohli says that the federation is open to engagement around the grievances of the artists. He says his federation's grievances stem from the provincial partnership relief fund. He says the CCIFSA are calling for changes in the way relief is distributed to artists.

The NAC needed to partner with organisations in the different provinces to distribute relief to the artists and they were meant to partner with four candidates per province. However, Khohli explains that a new CEO came in and decided the process was ineffective. The new CEO then opted to implement a system where individual counselors would present on the effectiveness of distributed relief.

Khohli says they are calling on the NAC to follow its original proposal of having four partners per province to distribute the funds. He says the relief funds have not even been distributed by the NAC to the partners in charge of distributing the funds to the artists.

Khohli says the officials are letting Minister Nathi Mthethwa down as he continues to make an effort to support artists. He has called on the NAC officials to ‘do the right thing’.

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