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Minister Nathi Mthethwa: Mitigation plans to minimise impact of Coronavirus COVID-19  pandemic on Sport, Arts and Culture sector

3 Aug 2020

Statement by Minister Nathi Mthethwa on mitigation plans to minimise the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the Sport, Arts and Culture sector.  

Honourable Minister Mthembu, Minister in the Presidency responsible for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, 
The Deputy Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture, Ms Nocawe Mafu, 
The Director General of the Department, Mr. Vusumuzi Mkhize.
Members of the Media,  

Dear Compatriots,  

We have gathered here this afternoon on the 3rd day of the month of August.  The month of August is observed in the South African Government calendar as the period where the country commemorates Women’s day and Women’s month.  The 2020 commemoration events will be held under the theme “Realising women’s rights for an equal future”.  Women’s Month 2020 takes place in the context of the dual pandemics of COVID-19 and Gender-based Violence and Femicide (GBVF), which have underlined the urgent need to more decisively deal with the legacy of structural oppression to accelerate the transformation of society. This includes the transformation of unequal power relations between women and men and addressing gender oppression, patriarchy, sexism, racism, ageism and to create an environment which enables women to take full control of their lives, reach their full potential and contribute to the country’s development.

 Since our last interaction with the nation, the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture has worked tirelessly to ensure that relief reaches as many practitioners as possible.   As the first wave of relief draws to an end, we deem it necessary to come and account to the sector and the nation as a whole.  Indeed, it was never an easy journey; we all chartered for the first time as a country in this rocky terrain.  I would also touch on some critical lessons derived out of this experience.    

Overall performance of first wave of Covid-19 relief funding  

Based on the set criteria, the 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 was not recommended.  Some of the reasons shared by the adjudication panels for not recommending applications vary from applicant to applicant and these include the following;  

  • In the Sport sector it was confirmed that some of the athletes have other sources of income such as employment and/ or a business, while others could not be confirmed as national athletes, coaches or technical personnel.  
  • Other practitioners, particularly in the arts and culture sector had no indication of cancelled or postponed events, or generally did not fall within the set criteria.
  • Incomplete or incorrect forms were used; some didn’t use the form but just wrote in the body of the email without providing detailed information that would be required in the form 
  • For digital, other applications were not innovative ideas; they did not respond to the 4th Industrial Revolution; that is, provided ideas which did not respond to the COVID-19 environment and regulations. 
  • We also had applicants who were not compliant with Tax, especially companies.

 

There are currently 117 outstanding applications being finalised by the Department.  To date, the total of R61 million has been disbursed to beneficiaries.     

In terms of the Demographics and classification of those who benefited, the findings were as follows: 
Blacks = 1979 (57%) 
Whites = 1483 (43%)  

It is also important to note is that our Provincial Offices are at different stages of implementing their Provincial Reliefs as announced in our last briefing.  Their efforts will further assist in widening our reach.    

Second wave of Covid-19 relief funding  

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 second wave, will therefore take into account the shortcomings, and experiences of the first rollout, categorised as follows;   

  • The period for the call for applications to be at least 14 days to allow athletes and practitioners sufficient time to make use of the opportunity. 
  • The application form to indicate demographics, i.e. disability, gender, race, age, province and at least, district.
  • The application form to have personal details as per ID document, no nicknames, etc.
  • All applications must be completed online including the uploading of supporting documents (The model to be used will be outlined later, here-below)
  • Eliminate the criterion of cancelled or postponed events, as it would not be feasible or appropriate for the next phase.
     

Other considerations per sector;  

Sport

  • All applications would have to be submitted through the National Federations.
  • There would be two deadlines with the first deadline dealing with submitting of applications to the National Federations which would be of no consequence in terms of the acceptability of the application to the Department.
  • There would be a second and non-negotiable deadline by which all National Federation will have to submit all their received applications to the central portal. 
  • Note that, National Federations would be the first stage of quality assurance and verification of information. A checklist will be provided to them.

 

Arts, Culture and Heritage

  • There would be collaboration with provincial governments to assist in the collation of databases for qualifying creatives at local level.
  • The outlined criteria would apply to all applicants from various levels of practice (professional/amateur and community practitioners).
  • There would be a clear articulation that the relief is meant for individuals and the application forms would be designed as such. 
  • Available statistics and databases for the creative sector would be harnessed where there are deficiencies. (Information on jobs, employment, contribution to the GDP, existing organizations/companies, skills, skills shortages, training institutions, etc).
     

The criteria of those who can apply will be the following:   

Sport

The relief would be available to athletes, coaches and technical support personnel on eventsbased income. 

To qualify for the Sport Relief the following will be considered:

  • Athletes, coaches and technical support personnel who rely solely on income generated from participating in sport competitions / events.
  • Applications must provide proof of having earned income from national and international competitions in the past.
  • Possible consideration to be given to personal trainers who operate as freelancers; unemployed and not operating as small businesses

 

Exclusions for Sport

  • Athletes, coaches and technical personnel who do not rely solely on the income earned from participating in sporting events; this includes athletes, coaches and technical personnel with other sources of income.
  • Athletes on fixed-term contracts
    • These athletes are catered for in terms of contracts entered into with either the federations or clubs
    • Typically, the athletes earn salaries or wages

 

Arts, Culture and Heritage

The relief would be available for individuals in the Arts, Culture and Heritage Sector/Cultural and Creative Industries. The categories to be provided with relief will apply only to:  

  • Performance and celebrations
  • Visual Arts and Craft, and
  • Audio-visual and interactive media
     

Broken down as follows:  

  • Performing arts: covering creative and performing artists, dancers and choreographers, entertainers (comedians), poets, actors, film directors.
  • Music: musicians (principal artists and backing musicians); singers (principal artists and backing singers; sound recording (engineers and producers).
  • Festivals and events: stage managers, live sound engineers, lighting technicians, other technicians (riggers, etc.).
  • Fine arts: covering visual artists, sign writers, decorative painters, painting, drawing, ceramic artists.
  • Photography: photographers (film and performing arts).
  • Crafts: potters & related workers, handicraft workers in wood, basketry, embroidery, crafts.
  • Audio-Visual & Interactive Media: Film and video: film, stage & related directors & producers.
     

Exclusions for arts, culture and heritage  

  • Applicants who do not rely solely on the income earned from participating in Art, Culture and Heritage activities.
  • Arts, Culture and Heritage Practitioners on fixed-term contracts may not apply.
  • Companies/NPIs/NGOs, group applications (choirs, bands, etc.). These will be catered for on the Presidential Employment Stimulus Programme.
  • Applicants who benefitted in the first cycle of the DSAC Relief Fund or its provincial counterparts. 
  • Support sectors such as catering, transport and accommodation will not be catered for. 
     

Eligibility

  • Preference will be given to South African citizens
  • Applicants must provide proof of having earned income through Arts, Culture and Heritage Activities (provide contracts/invoices/bank statement/municipal trading permits) in the 12 months period ending on February 2020.
  • Practitioners will need to prove their applicability in the sector through provision of their profiles/portfolio of work/ academic achievements in the sector and/ or reference from other prominent practitioners who have been in the field for 10 years or more.    
     

Who will be eligible for this relief? 

  • Practitioners/Individuals who rely solely on income generated from participating in Sports, Arts, Culture and Heritage Activities, as above.
  • Practitioners/Individuals who are dependent on gigs, are freelancers and independent contractors; and on sport activities.
     

Practitioners will be required to submit compliance documents such as a valid thirteen (13) digit South African Identity document, and proof of income earned through their works in the sector; signed contracts, bank statement, municipal trading permits, and so forth.  A valid tax clearance certificate or tax number for those practitioners who have been exempted from paying tax.  

Duration of the relief:

The relief will cover a period of three months, September to November 2020.   

Proposed amount of relief:

The relief amount is set at R2 200,00 using the rationale of the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) rate structure of R95-R100 per day.  

Budget Provisions   

To date, R61 million has been disbursed to beneficiaries, the 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 contribution towards the partnership with the Department of Small Business Development.  If the entire amount is to be paid specifically towards beneficiaries and no other costs are considered, the allocation will cover a total of 11 666 practitioners (athletes and artists) base on the following estimates;  

R12 million ÷ 6 600 (R2 200 X 3 months), Arts Culture and Heritage sector practitioners = 1818  R65 million ÷ 6 600 (R2 200 X 3 months), Sport practitioners = 9 848   

Our partnership with the department of Small Business Development  

The Department has partnered with Department of Small Business Development (DSBD) and have agreed to jointly set aside R 22 million to respond to a plea from the Cultural & Creative Industries Federation of South Africa (CCIFSA) for the Craft, Design and Visual Arts sectors towards relief amid the Covid-19 pandemic.   

A Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) will be entered into on how the funds will be administered. A criteria and appointment of adjudication panel is currently being finalised. The relevant industry bodies will be consulted for their expertise. Hopefully by end of August the process of distribution will commence  

Solidarity Fund  

Solidarity Fund has made available 10 000 food or cash vouchers of R700.00 to the department amounting to R 7 000 000.00.  The department will together with 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 UIF will be excluded from benefiting.  The vouchers will be made available to the athletes, artist, freelancers and other eligible practitioners.  The vouchers will be distributed by channels identified by Solidarity Fund. The department is currently in the process of finalizing the MOU with Solidarity Fund.   

Involvement of sector organisations  

CCIFSA and other sector organisations are a very critical stakeholder in the Arts, Culture and

Heritage Sector and will therefore be integral in the planning of the second phase of Covid-19 Relief Funding. CCIFSA and other sector organisations would be given a platform to outline their plans in supporting their members. This support should incorporate, inter-alia:

  • Capacity building and providing support to the sector.
  • Forging partnerships with other entities that operate in the arts, culture and heritage space to ensure extended reach and information dispensation.
  • Working closely with the DSAC funding agencies to leverage on their existing programmes and policies.
  • Updating their database so that it reflects a sector-wide footprint 
     

Directions in the opening of venues and contact sport  

On the reopening of the sector, we have to date undertaken the following process;

  • We commenced with the process on the 6th July 2020 on which we announced the Directions regarding the reopening of Sports Arts and Culture premises/venues. This was then published in the Government Gazette 43507 by Government Notice 751. 
  • Guidelines expanded from the published Directions for the premises that wished to open together with an online application process was launched on the 14th July 2020 on the

Department’s website followed by a social media awareness communication.

  • The process required the completion of an online application, signing a declaration letter and uploading relevant documents like: Covid-19 risk assessment and response plan; venue/visitor safety guidelines; employee safety guidelines including the appointment of the safety officer.  
  • By the 24th July 2020 a total of 35 applications were completed from four Provinces at an equivalent of 18 x Museums; 7 x Cinemas; 5 x Theatres and 5 x Libraries. 
  • We then appointed an internal Technical Committee for adjudication of all applications.
  • The closing date was set for 31st July 2020, further 20 applications were received which are still to be adjudicated.
  • Adjudication of the first batch of applications has been concluded. There are some venues that were contacted for questions of clarity and more information. Responses should be received in the coming week.
  • I must indicate that the team didn’t receive any applications from Galleries. 
  • We however sitting with the possibility of a request for extension since the total numbers of applications is not a true reflection of the venues we have in the country.
  • From 11 June 2020, as part of the Government Level 3 Risk adjustment strategy the Minister gazetted Directions for the resumption of sporting activities namely training or matches for non – contact professional sport and for the resumption of training and professional contact sport for training.
  • The Directions required that sports bodies must ensure they submit plans that indicate the measures they will put in place before the resumption of activities. To date the Department received 75 major sports bodies and approximately 580 from clubs, those in the business of sport, the fitness industry and also sport facilities and recreational organisations. 
  • Of the plans that were assessed 46 sporting bodies received approval to resume activities. Athletics South Africa advised the Ministry that at this level, they will not be seeking approval to resume activities as they have conducted their own assessment against benchmarks and believe that it is not an appropriate stage to resume any activity.  An internal monitoring team has been on the ground and monitored 11 of the PSL Football clubs who received permission to train. All teams have taken all necessary measures to comply with the plans they have submitted. 
  • We have also considered the return to play by contact sport and we are pleased that.
  • We are pleased that the Department of Health has concurred with the proposal for Football to return to completing the season behind closed doors in a Biologically Safe Environment which is closed environment of the procured hotels, the transport hubs, training grounds and stadiums. This is subject to the plans they have submitted and all other protocols as outlined in the regulations and Directions published by the Department.
  • The compliance officers of both the South African Football Association and the National Soccer League (PSL) will work together and ensure that all measures comply with the commitment made by the PSL in their submissions to Government.
  • We are expecting to receive the Compliance officer’s report from SAFA on the state of readiness for the NSL to resume play.

 

Closing

In closing, I would like to thank our athletes and our artists for exercising patience during these trying times, not only with the Department by with Government in general.  A special appreciation to the Chairman of Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs Football Clubs, Dr Irvin Khoza and Dr Kaizer Motaung, the Siya and Rachel Kolisi Foundation, the football legends Mr Edward Motale and Mr Jerry Sikhosana, the Ladysmith Black Mambazo, our private sector organisations, and many others who I might have not mentioned here today, for landing a hand and providing food parcels to the most vulnerable, needy, and destitute practitioners of our sectors, including the Legends.  And for also providing the most needed Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to our frontline staff working in the health care sector.  Your efforts did not go unnoticed.    

I thank you….  

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