The Democratic Alliance (DA) says it welcomes Sports, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa‘s announcement that his department will open a second wave of applications to the coronavirus (COVID-19) Relief Fund for arts and sports.
DA Spokesperson on Sport, Arts and Culture Tsepo Mhlongo says the R2 200 relief, which will be given to beneficiaries on a monthly basis from September to November 2020, is an initiative that should also be welcomed.
In a statement, Mhlongo says the DA hopes that the department has learnt a lesson from its mistakes of not processing the claims of beneficiaries on time.
He says the DA also welcomes the Solidarity Fund’s R7 million contribution towards food vouchers for athletes, artists, freelancers, and other eligible practitioners.
Mhlongo, however, calls for greater transparency. He wants the department to give more clarity on how it plans to work together with provinces to develop a list of deserving beneficiaries to receive the vouchers.
The department has received over 5 000 applications for the relief funds. This is the money paid out to sports athletes and to those in the arts, culture and heritage sectors.
The Department of Sport, Arts and Culture says it has received over 5 000 applications for the relief grants. Out of that number, only 4 602 applications were recommended to be granted relief.
Mthethwa says applicants in the arts, culture and heritage sectors are expected to provide proof that they had earned an income in their fields.
“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. These would be people who would have been approved and in the process of getting their relief.”
Mthethwa says the department will, in the second phase of granting relief, disburse an amount of R77 million. He also announced that venues such as museums can be reopened.