DA calls for a transparent reopening of Sport, Arts and Culture Relief Fund

Please find attached a soundbite by Tsepo Mhlongo MP

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is calling upon the Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, to extend the Covid-19 Relief Fund for Arts and Sports, in light of the extension of the adjusted level 3 lockdown announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa, earlier this week.

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on the sports and arts fraternities, not only in South Africa but the world over. While some believe that lockdowns provide a solution to the health problem, the reality is that they have brought major economic hardship, destroyed businesses, and livelihoods.

Men and women in the sports and arts sectors have lost their incomes due to prolonged periods without tournaments and gigs.

The best intervention the Minister can make is to extend the relief funding scheme to assist athletes, as well as artists who as a result of the restrictions imposed by the lockdown are left without an income.

We reiterate the importance of fairness and transparency in this process so that the money meant for relief will find its way to the intended qualifying beneficiaries. Last year, during the first and second phase of the rollout of funds, the DA received complaints from troubled athletes and artists about the red tape that made it difficult for them to access funds. We hope the department has been able to address these issues.

The Minister and the Department need to ensure that the rollout is a transparent and independent process that is fair and can assist all qualifying artists and athletes.

Furthermore, the DA calls on the Minister to give a detailed account of how the relief funds have been administered from April 2020 to date. He must provide a statement with a comprehensive breakdown of how the funds were disbursed.

Minister Mthethwa must act now so that we can save families from plunging into poverty.