Musicians Arthur Mafokate, Ntokozo S Mbambo, Pretty Mhlongo and Zandile Khumalo are among a list of artists who have benefited from the government’s Covid-19 relief fund. The long list from the department of sports, arts and culture, seen by TshisaLIVE, includes 114 beneficiaries and also includes Uzalo creators Stained Glass Productions and the Dr Rebecca Malope Arts Foundation.
The People’s Theatre and National Children’s Theatre are among those in the theatre industry listed for relief. Musician Jesse Clegg, the son of the late Johnny Clegg, was also listed as a beneficiary of the fund. In April, sports, arts and culture minister Nathi Mthethwa announced a R150m relief fund for the sector to assist artists dealing with the economic meltdown from the Covid-19 pandemic.
The minister met with the national organisations of the arts and culture sector last week to discuss the relief funding process and address concerns around the majority of applicants who did not succeed in their request because they did not meet the criteria set to qualify for funding. The industry has made a number of proposals, which are aimed at relaxing the criteria going forward and the fast-tracking of the process of adjudication, among others. The industry has also offered to assist the department to achieve this objective. All these suggestions from the industry were wholly welcomed by the department,” a statement from the ministry read.
The relief fund has been a topic of anxiety and debate among creatives over the last month, with musicians including Thandiswa Mazwai questioning the minister on how it would be implemented.
“Nathi Mthethwa can (you) maybe answer some of our questions. My questions are, what percentage of lost gig money will we get? Do overseas gigs count? Will we pay tax on it?” she asked on Twitter. The minister answered Thandiswa’s questions, saying the department would use its “discretion”, based on the strength of an individual artist’s application, to determine how they are paid out. You can apply for the entire gig amount and the DSAC will use its discretion to determine allocations. Tax laws remain in place. The discretion is based on the strength of each application,” he said.
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