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DSAC Shines Light on COVID-19 Relief Funding

March 19, 2021

Department of Sports, Arts and Culture

The exclusion of people based on receiving other sources of income requires close scrutiny to ensure fairness and inclusivity.

The sports, arts and culture department highlighted this in a briefing on the status of the First, Second and Third Phase of Covid-19 relief funding.

The Third Phase of the Covid-19 Relief Fund for the sports, arts and culture sector was launched in February 2021.

In an earlier statement, the department pointed out that the Third Phase is designed as an “intervention to aid the plight of artists affected by this pandemic that is taking lives and livelihoods, compromising the dignity of practitioners and preventing them from fully living out their passion within the arts…”.

In terms of the First and Second Phases, the department confirmed that approximately 5 000 practitioners were paid out over R80 million in the first phase and over R2 million was paid out in the second phase.

3,658 practitioners also benefitted from the Solidarity Fund with a total of nearly R3 million paid out and, via the department’s partnership with the small business development department, over R5 million was paid out to practitioners within the sector with a further R13 million to be disbursed by the end of March 2021.

All successful applicants will receive not less than R10 000 once off in the Third Phase.

During the briefing, the department also pointed out that double dipping in relief funding while other sources of income would exclude applicants is also a lesson learnt over the past year.

Tax compliance during the second phase was a major limitation to applicants and consequently few applications were received and few people qualified for supplementary income.

Other lessons learnt include:

• Slow response to the call for applications due to a misunderstanding of requirements;
• National federations only concentrated on the national office without consideration for affiliates in provinces and local municipalities;
• People earning income via arts, culture and sport are not completely reliant on that income;
• Total amount received from other grants does not match the amount received from this relief;
• Adjudication and response is a lengthy process; and
• Lack of marketing and communication strategy for effective dissemination of information.

In another briefing, the department updated parliament on the status of implementation of its Presidential Employment Stimulus Programme Projects focused on the sport and recreation, arts and culture and heritage sectors.