The Department of Sport, Arts and Culture has provided much-needed support to over 2 000 practitioners in the creative industry.
The department has a R150-million relief fund to assist artists, athletes, technical personnel and the core ecosystem of the sector, whose gigs were cancelled due to the COVID-19 induced shutdown.
“We remain resolute in improving the quality of life for South Africans, in spite of the huge socio-economic impediments brought on by the restrictions of COVID-19.
“We know that as a department, ours is to save the lives of our sector’s practitioners so that they can utilise their skills to better their lives and those of our communities,” the department said.
One of the beneficiaries of the relief fund, author and musician Loyiso Lindani, could not stop singing the department’s praises.
Lindani has since signed a purchase order for her books, thanks to the money from the department.
“I used the relief funds to pay for expenses and I am now selling copies.
"The book I published, titled ‘How HIV Saved My Life’, is listed on the South African Publisher’s Network. The funds assisted in paying that off. The book is also listed with the National Library of South Africa, where we obtained its International Standard Book Number. I want to thank the DSAC [Department of Sport, Arts and Culture]," said Lindani.
Meanwhile, the department said it has noted concerns raised by the sector about the delays in processing the applications.
“We are empathetic to the impact of our lengthy processes. Laborious as this exercise was to our sector, the principles of empathy, responsiveness and agility became the cornerstone of our measurement framework of engaging the sector as we move forward.”
The department said it would be exploring the possibility of a second application process.
“For ease of reference, the updated list of beneficiaries and digital applications can be found on our official website published on 6 July 2020. Furthermore, we will continue to update the nation on developments pertaining to the COVID-19 Relief Fund, as we have consistently done along the way.”
In line with the National Development Plan’s 2030 vision, the department said it intends to build a cohesive society in which everyone has access to sport, arts and culture resources, facilities and opportunities.
“While COVID-19 has robbed our industry of gaining fruitful employment, this challenge has further inspired us to ensure that our mandate becomes even more pronounced,” the department said.