DA welcomes reopening of Covid-19 relief fund applications and calls for improved transparency 

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is pleased by the announcement by the Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, that his Department will open a second wave of applications to the Covid-19 Relief Fund for Arts and Sports and that plans are in place to make payments to beneficiaries.

According to the Minister, the relief is set at R2 200 per month, from September to November 2020.

This is a welcome development, one that the DA has been calling for, and one which will allow those who were unsuccessful or missed the deadline in the previous round a new and hopefully fair opportunity to access much-needed funding.

During the initial applications process, the DA received complaints from several applicants who initially qualified for relief aid from the Fund but has yet to receive a cent. They were unhappy with the way in which the Department handled the application process. Many spoke to the lack of transparency and clarity on the criteria used to decide the amounts paid out and who it is paid out to.

We certainly hope that this time around the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture will have learnt from the mistakes and the application process will not be hampered by delayed payments, and a lack of transparency.

The DA further welcomes the injection by the Solidarity Fund of R7 million towards food vouchers for athletes, artists, freelancers, and other eligible practitioners.

We call for clarity on how the Department plans to work together with provinces to develop a list of deserving beneficiaries to receive vouchers and for Minister Mthethwa to ensure that these vouchers are used for the benefit of the men and women in the sports and arts sector, and not as a handout to connected ANC cronies.

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