Department of Sports, Arts and Culture to avail over R150 million to provide relief to artists in the sector

Nathi Mthethwa (Photo: Gallo)
Nathi Mthethwa (Photo: Gallo)

Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa has issued a statement regarding the sector's effort to mitigate the effects Covid-19 on the industry.

The minister reiterated the importance of President Cyril Ramaphosa's measures to prevent to spread of the virus, saying it the "declaration is necessitated."

Stay up to date with the latest news, views and analysis as the number of coronavirus cases in SA increases.

Mthethwa echoed musicians and players in the arts arena's concerns saying: "Amongst the measures announced by the President was to limit gatherings to less than one hundred people. This necessary measure was a fatal blow to the sector since it depends on numbers for it to survive be it gigs, concerts and sporting matches." 

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Following the President's address to the nation, Mthethwa held sectoral meetings were several issues were discussed and suggestions made on how to mitigate the impact of the pandemic.

The minister made the following suggestions

I. The utilisation of the 4th industrial revolution on live performances with no audiences (live-streaming).

II. We engage the private sector, especially the financial services sector for the relief of house and car mortgages, rent and other instalments.

III. The government to give direction on athletes who are trapped abroad like in the USA and Europe.

IV. We engage our sister Department of Communications to avail platforms for key individuals in the sector to send messages of hope and awareness on the coronavirus.

V. To ensure that the public broadcaster is biased in favour of local content during this period.

According to the statement, these suggestions will "go a long way in alleviating the plight of artists and athletes."

With regards to budget allocation, the department has reprioritised its budget allocation from quarter one to avail over R150 million to provide the much-needed relief to practitioners in the sector.

The allocated funds will be used to render various forms of support to practitioners during this period. Priority will be given to artists and practitioners who were booked for events funded by the department - as well as to the legends of the industry.

For the audiovisual sector, already over 25 TV productions have been postponed, possibly to be cancelled by broadcasters, and 15 live shows have been cancelled.

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The DSAC, together with the department are communicating with broadcasters will ensure that producers pay the cast and crew that were due to go into production.

The department, in partnership with the DSAC Playhouses will create live stream programming and will commission service providers in the digital space to curate new programs.

The National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) will offer immediate relief to practitioners in the film industry by prioritising and making payments to beneficiaries that have submitted milestones in the past two weeks on an urgent basis. Beneficiaries who have yet to submit milestones over the next three months will also be paid.

The NFVF also intends to release a call for development, post-production, animation and archive by the end of this week, which would have only been released in August.

The department further calls upon both the public and private broadcasters to lend a hand in the relief program towards the sector by playing more locally produced content to enable artists to earn royalties and to show patriotism towards their country.

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