MEC Hlophe spends millions on virtual events yet fails to deliver Covid-19 relief funding to Gauteng athletes and artists

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng notes with great concern that the Gauteng athletes and artists who applied for financial assistance from the Gauteng Department of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation (SACR) as part of the relief fund have not yet received these funds.

There have been unnecessary delays and excuses with regards to when these funds will be allocated to the rightful beneficiaries.

The applications for relief funding were opened on June 2020 and were closed on 26 June 2020 and the payment process was supposed to have begun in July 2020.

In October last year the department sent SMSs to all Gauteng Relief Fund applicants apologising to the applicants for the delays in processing their applications. The department also stated that the outcome of the Gauteng Relief Fund was in the audit phase.

The SMS also stated that the relief funding was supposed to be released on 30 September 2020 and will now be released by no later than 30 October 2020.

It is now 11 months of the national lockdown and thousands of Gauteng athletes and artists are still awaiting relief funding yet the Gauteng MEC for Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation (SACR), Mbali Hlophe continues to spend millions on virtual celebratory events.

MEC Hlophe spent R429 985,00 on a Human Rights Day virtual programme and continues to spend on many virtual programmes yet she fails to provide relief funding to financially struggling Gauteng athletes and artists.

The DA calls on Premier David Makhura to initiate an urgent investigation to ascertain why there have been delays in processing these funds.

MEC Hlophe should be held accountable for these delays and should it be found that there is any element of corruption or officials are simply not doing their work then the Premier must hold the MEC accountable.

In addition, an urgent plan must be devised to ensure that these athletes and artists who have applied for relief funding are paid without delay.

Past experience has shown that where there are delays such as these, there is a corrupt element involved.