The DA seeks transparency over shambolic Sports and Arts Covid-19 relief funding

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is demanding transparency from the Minister of Sports, Arts, and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, on his department’s shambolic handling of the R150 million Arts and Sports Sector Relief Fund.

We have received several complaints from athletes and artists who have successfully applied for relief funding but are yet to receive any payments from the department. They have sent numerous emails to follow up but never received any response, the DA’s emails and messages to the department have also gone unanswered.

This frustration coupled with questions on discrepancies in the payment of those who have already received funding and whether some beneficiaries are receiving their rightful share of the funds raises serious alarm bells on the management of the relief funds.

The Minister must play open cards and come clean on his department’s mishandling of these relief funds. The DA demands answers on the following concerns:

  • How much money has been paid out to athletes and artists;
  • How many beneficiaries have not received any funding;
  • What are the reasons for the delay in the distribution of funding;
  • Transparency on the criteria that the department used to determine who qualifies for funding;
  • Who are the members of the Appeals Panel; and
  • What criteria is being used to adjudicate appeals?

The department needs to be transparent and about how it is rolling out the share of the funds to assist struggling artists and athletes. The Covid-19 relief fund was supposed to be a boost to athletes, artist and people whose income is generated through the sports and arts sector, however, now it seems as though the process has become an endless nightmare of red tape and confusion.

The DA has noted that Minister Mthethwa has taken to Twitter to ask those who have not received their payments to contact him via the platform. We find this deeply problematic because surely the department and the Minister cannot adequately solve these problems on social media.

Furthermore, not all artist and athletes whose livelihood has been impacted during this period will be able to reach out to the Minister via Twitter. If the Minister genuinely wants to assist, he should fix the inefficiencies in his department, and ensure that it provides the necessary support that will ensure no deserving person is left behind without receiving the much needed financial boost.

The DA is extremely disappointed with the Minister’s handling of the entire relief funding process and we wish to reiterate the importance of oversight when it comes to the allocation of these relief funds.

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