SA music industry concern that R150m relief fund will benefit wrong people

Nathi Mthethwa
Image: Gallo Images/Netwerk24/Deon Raath

Following the announcement of a relief fund by minister of sports, arts & culture Nathi Mthethwa, there has been a concern that the music federation chosen is incapable of doing the job.

Mthethwa, announced a relief fund of R150m towards assisting artists, athletes, and technical personnel to soften the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic on their livelihoods.

For the creative sector, the Cultural Creative Industry Federation of South Africa (CCIFSA) was tasked with the job while for sports, the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) will do the administering of funds.

Industry stakeholders believe that CCIFSA cannot do the job alone. South African Music Industries (Samic) spokesperson Tebogo Sithathu told SowetanLIVE they were concerned that the money will benefit the wrong people.

“CCIFSA was supposed to engage with all stakeholders before application process starts. As Samic we represent 23 music organisations in South Africa and we know that they have already received 25 applications. We want to know who are those organisations. We want the processes to be fair and transparent as soon as possible because the money will go to the wrong people. We will have bogus organisations claiming these funds.”

President of CCIFSA Joy Mbewana believes that the federation is capable of doing the job. She said the engagement process was still on with various industries and organisations on district and provincial level.

“We have branches in different provinces and we have started the process; it is just there were many organisations representing different industries. We still have to sit with the department and come with criteria to verify these organisations. Once the application process was completed we will sit down with the department and deal with applications.”

The department of sports, arts & culture (DSAC) funded projects have already entered into a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the department, and the first tranche of payments has been made. Where artists, venues and other suppliers of the project have been paid, but the project implementation has been cancelled due to Covid-19, the beneficiaries will be compensated for the expenditure incurred.

Mthethwa explained in a statement: “To benefit from the compensation, the beneficiaries will have to submit a claim that does not deviate from the original MOA and provide supporting documents such as contracts and valid invoices to the department. The DSAC reserves the right to determine a flat rate fee for all such beneficiaries.”

The department further explained that for cancelled non-DSAC funded projects, the list of 25 productions and 15 live events have already been submitted by national industry organisations and will be compensated.

“To benefit from compensation, producers and organisers are required to submit a spreadsheet of the costs that were due to be incurred from March - June with proof of existing contracts and relevant documentation. A second spreadsheet of the full details of practitioners and committed costs will also be required. The department reserves the right to determine the compensation to be made.”

He added: “The above relief support of the department of sport, arts & culture is guided by schedule 5 of the constitution of the Republic of South Africa.  Therefore, projects and events that are not considered to have an impact at a national level, involving artists and practitioners from various provinces, would have to approach their respective provinces.”

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