Relief fund monies must be paid out during lockdown‚ says sports minister Mthethwa

Nathi Mthethwa, Minister of Sports during the 2019 Carling Black Label Cup match between Kaizer Chiefs and orlando Pirates at the FNB Stadium, Johannesburg on the 27 July 2019.
Nathi Mthethwa, Minister of Sports during the 2019 Carling Black Label Cup match between Kaizer Chiefs and orlando Pirates at the FNB Stadium, Johannesburg on the 27 July 2019.
Image: ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Athletes who have successfully applied for the R150m relief fund made available by the government last month must receive their monies in this lockdown period‚ the department of sports‚ arts and culture minister Nathi Mthethwa announced.

The department created the fund as part of its initiatives to help athletes‚ musicians and artists cope financially as they sit idle at home due to the coronavirus-enforced lockdown.

“These relief funds have to find people in this stage of lockdown so that people don’t wait forever for their relief‚” Mthethwa told SA FM’s sport show.

“Otherwise if it comes later (after the lockdown) it may not be as desperately needed as it is now.

“So we are doing everything at the same time. We are applying the rules which are there based on the public finance management act‚” the minister told the radio station.

Applications closed on April 7 and Mthethwa said late applications will not be entertained at all.

“So if you have applied for an instance after the deadline‚ you are immediately written to and told you are not even considered. You don’t want to create false hope for the people.

The Minister said most applications that were unsuccessful were due to late applications.

“Already those who did not make it due to the criteria have already been communicated to. Now we are dealing with the ones whose applications are sound and have to be adjudicated‚” said the minister.

Mthethwa said he is in the process of finalising and making public the names of the people who will sit on the panel of adjudicators. He said the panel will have to hit the ground running.

“Definitely from tomorrow (Wednesday) and Thursday I will be able to do that (release the names).

“It is two panels. The first deals with sports and recreation and the other one deals with the creatives‚ artists and so on.

“From tomorrow (Wednesday)‚ if not tomorrow‚ then the day after (Thursday) I will be able to share with the public the names of the people on the panel.

“The panel will have to start working almost immediately because remember we are trying to speed up everything without violating supply chain management procedures as it were.”

Mthethwa said the adjudication panels will be given the powers to make final decisions on how much an individual applicant will get.

“Who gets what‚ how much is distributed is the discretion of the panel‚” said Mthethwa.

“We put it very clear in the criteria that those things will be based more on the negotiations between the panel members and also based on the availability of resources as it were.

“So for instance if you come up with a solid argument and everything is clear and people on the panels are convinced that you need to get these amount of and that amount is available‚ people will get it.

“If resources allow people will get more or less what they would have planned to get (had tournaments or events not cancelled or postponed due to the lockdown.

“If not‚ again it is going to be a transparent process with the applicant before a conclusion is reached.”

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