600 artists and creatives thrown a Covid-19 lifeline

Nathi Mthethwa. File photo.
Nathi Mthethwa. File photo.
Image: Trevor Samson

Arts and culture minister Nathi Mthethwa said that nearly 600 artists and creatives had been paid from the department’s R150m relief fund to assist artists, athletes and technical personnel.

Mthethwa was speaking at a press briefing on Saturday, to expand on the interventions of his department in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

 “Today, not only are we faced with the challenge of unifying Africa, we are also faced with the challenge of beating Covid-19. There is no time more prudent than now to show solidarity to one another as Africans,” he said.

“We committed ourselves to do something to try and soften the impact of Covid-19. On the 25th of March, we announced a R150m relief fund to assist artists, athletes, technical personnel and the core ecosystem of the sector nationally.”

He added that provincial arts and culture departments in all provinces had marshalled another R50m to relieve those without an income.

In terms of administering the relief fund, Mthethwa said glitches in the early processing of applications had been smoothed out.

“1,050 had been sent for payment by the 26th of May, however that number has since increased by 270 as of the 29th of May, which came from successful appeals,” he said.

He said that of the 1, 320 successful applications, 592 had been paid.

“Let me take this opportunity and applaud our sector for the discipline demonstrated since the commencement of the lockdown period,” he said.

“The 100% adherence to the lockdown regulations by ensuring that no sectoral activity takes place during this time, has indeed played a tremendous role in assisting with the reduction of the spread of Covid-19.”

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