R61m disbursed as relief for creative, sport sectors

The Department of Sport, Arts, and Culture has, through its COVID-19 Relief Fund, disbursed R61 million to beneficiaries in the creative and sports sectors.

Addressing a virtual media briefing on Monday, the Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, said his department received a total number 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 finalized by the department,” the Minister said.

The COVID-19 Relief Fund was established to support the sectors as they are amongst those hardest hit by the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The second wave of relief

In response to the plight of practitioners in the sector, the department has conceptualized the second wave of relief. The second wave will take into account the shortcomings and experiences of the first rollout.

“In conceptualizing 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 organizations, panelists, 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.

The department has partnered with the Department of Small Business Development (DSBD) to assist the Cultural and Creative Industries Federation of South Africa (CCIFSA) for the craft, design and visual arts sectors in relief.

The two departments have agreed to jointly 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 finalized. 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 organizations 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 for supporting their members.

All applications in the sports sector must be submitted through national federations.

Solidarity Fund

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 made available to athletes, artists, freelancers, and other eligible practitioners.

They will be distributed by channels identified by the Solidarity Fund. The department is currently in the process of finalizing the MoU with the Solidarity Fund. – SAnews.gov.za

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