Creatives Fail to Meet the Requirements for Relief Fund

Picture: Facebook, @ArtsCultureSA

A large number of creatives, who applied for the R150 million COVID-19 Relief Fund established for the creative and sports sectors, have failed to meet the stipulated requirements.

“We are concerned that the largest number of those not recommended are artists, who are seemingly in greater need of relief,” the Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, said on Monday.

The deadline for applications to the fund was initially 4 April but it was extended to 6 April, to accommodate those who had not submitted as a result of limitations during the national lockdown.

After working through and processing the data, the department had roughly received almost 5000 applications from the arts and culture sector and 300 from the sports sector.

The department has set a ceiling of R20 000 per applicant to ensure that as many people as possible can benefit from the funds.

The independent adjudication committees appointed by the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture has passed judgement on a total of 1 050 applications in the arts and culture sector.

A total of 232 applications were recommended, 603 were not recommended and 203 were referred back to the department.

A few of the reasons for non-compliance include missing or incomplete documents, no proof of cancellation or even contract documents, no proof of event documents citing postponement.

The Minister said applicants, who were not recommended, have the option of addressing the appeals committee.

Minister Mthethwa admitted that the department has not moved fast in allocating the funds.

“We have seen that we have not moved as fast as we can in allocating these funds, so we have beefed up our mechanisms in order to fast-track the process. There were technical glitches in the beginning,” he said.

In an attempt to assist people, especially those from disadvantaged communities to get funding, the Minister will on Wednesday meet with the arts and culture sector.

“We will be meeting with the sector, especially the key national organisations in the sector, to look at how, within the legal parameters, we can ensure that those who really need the assistance, especially from the disadvantaged communities, receive funding,” he said.