The Department of Sport, Arts and Culture has, through its COVID-19 Relief Fund, paid R61 million to beneficiaries in the creative and sports sectors.
Addressing a virtual media briefing on Monday, the department’s Minister Nathi Mthethwa said his department received a total of 5 322 applications in the categories of sport, digital, as well as arts, culture and heritage.
“Through the adjudication and appeals processes, 4 602 applications were then recommended. A total of 1 570 were not recommended. There are currently 117 outstanding applications being finalised by the department,” the Minister said.
The COVID-19 Relief Fund was established to mitigate the economic impact of the pandemic and support these hard-hit sectors.
The second wave of relief
In response to the dilemma faced by practitioners in the sector, the department has created a second wave of relief.
This second wave will take into account the shortcomings and experiences of the first rollout.
“In conceptualising the second wave of relief, the department listened to the plight of practitioners. The department further conducted a number of consultations with those who were involved in the process of administering relief, including, amongst others, sector organisations, panellists and our national entities,” the Minister said.
Mthethwa said his department has taken into consideration the commitments for the unpaid beneficiaries in the first phase, estimated at R34 million.
“For the second phase, the amount that is allocated for relief is R77 million, of which R11 million is been ring-fenced for a contribution towards the partnership with the Department of Small Business Development,” the Minister said.
A partnership with the Department of Small Business Development (DSBD) has been established to assist the Cultural and Creative Industries Federation of South Africa (CCIFSA) with the craft, design and visual arts sectors in relief.
The two departments have agreed to work together to set aside R22 million for this project.
“A Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) will be entered into on how the funds will be administered. [Selection] criteria and the appointment of an adjudication panel are currently being finalised. The relevant industry bodies will be consulted for their expertise. Hopefully, by the end of August, the process of distribution will commence,” the Minister said.
CCIFSA and other organisations will be integral in the planning of the second phase of COVID-19 Relief Funding.
They will be given a platform to outline their plans to support their members.
All applications in the sports sector must be submitted through national federations.
The Solidarity Fund has made available 10 000 food or cash vouchers of R700 to the department, amounting to R 7 million.
“The department will, together with the provinces, develop a list of beneficiaries that will receive vouchers. Beneficiaries will be identified in both urban and rural areas. Those that are receiving social grants and Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) will be excluded from benefiting,” the Minister said.
The vouchers will be distributed by channels soon to be identified by the Solidarity Fund and will be made available to athletes, artists, freelancers and other eligible practitioners.
The department is currently in the process of finalising the MoU with the Solidarity Fund.