DA seeks detailed breakdown on beneficiaries of R150m Sports and Arts Relief Funds, as numbers don’t add up

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has written to the Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthetwa, to gain clarity regarding how his Department has spent the R150 million Sports and Arts Relief Funds.

While the DA does support and appreciate that more relief funding will be made available and that the process will be reopened for our artists and athletes that are desperate for support –  there is still much confusion regarding the amount of money that has been spent on relief and how the remainder of these funds will be allocated.

In a statement by the Minister on Monday, the numbers he shared simply did not add up. For example, the Minister indicated that the Department received a total of 5 322 applications in the categories Sport, Digital, as well as Arts, Culture and Heritage. 4 602 were recommended, 1570 not. However, 4602 +1570 = 6 892 in total applicants.

The statement further reflects that 117 outstanding applications are still being finalized. It was also revealed that the Department has taken into consideration the commitments for unpaid beneficiaries in the first phase, at an estimate of R34 million. Is the Department saying that these 117 outstanding applications will be receiving R34 million? This comes to roughly R290 500 per applicant.

The Minister also indicated that R61 million had already been paid to beneficiaries. The R61 million disbursed and the R34 million still unpaid, add up to R95 million. This raises questions on how the remainder of the initial R150 million relief funding was allocated. If indeed it has been allocated. We also need to know whether the R77 million allocated for the second phase of funding, is an additional amount to the initial R150 million. Or whether the R77 million is made up of the remainder of the R150 million plus additional funding?

There clearly is a lack of transparency when it comes to the disbursement of these funds and the DA will therefore also submit Parliamentary questions to the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture to request a full breakdown on how the R150 million relief funds were disbursed. We will ask for a detailed breakdown of all the beneficiaries and the amounts paid.

Parliament and the public need to be certain that this is not yet another example of Covid-19 corruption, and that the funds that have been allocated for sports and arts relief will actually reach the athletes and artists it was intended for.

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