R32m paid out to sports beneficiaries
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TO date over R30 million has been paid out to sports beneficiaries from the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture (DSAC).
“A grand total of beneficiaries to date, including 45 sports sector beneficiaries, is 3 241 valued at R 32.41m. Six-hundred-and-fifty-five sports sector applications are still being verified,” the DSAC said.
“The DSAC will continue to do everything in its power to bring relief to cultural and sporting practitioners so heavily impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.”
The department launched the third phase of relief funding in mid-February 2021. At the end of April 2021, it announced that 1 119 applicants had been paid a total of R 11,19m.
According to the DSAC delays were caused by incomplete applications, missing banking details and duplication of applications.
In response, a special team was mobilised to assist with speeding up the process by contacting beneficiaries for the rapid submission of missing information. An additional adjudication panel was set up to attend to organisational applications, allowing the first panel to fully focus on the overwhelming number of individual applications.
Director-general Vusumuzi Mkhize said: “As a result of urgent measures taken to speed up the processing of applications and payments, the department has now paid 2 024 beneficiaries through Business and Arts South Africa and 1 172 through the National Arts Council (NAC). The total number of cultural practitioners paid to date is 3 196 valued at R31.96m.”
Meanwhile artists had staged a sit-in at the NAC in Johannesburg for over two months over alleged conflict and maladministration with regards to the council’s Presidential Employment Stimulus Programme (PESP) grant funding.
The PESP was designed to act as an aggressive injection of income into the creative economy and to assist practitioners and their projects as well as companies that incurred losses during the Covid-19 lockdown period. The department entrusted the administration of the PESP to the NAC.
The DSAC received allocation of R665m from National Treasury through a letter dated September 23, 2020, and commenced with processing in October after the announcement of the PESP by the president on October 15.
In relation to several challenges in terms of how the process was handled which interfered with the issuing of funds to artists, Minister Nathi Mthetwa last month addressed the media.
He said: "As the minister ultimately responsible for the successful rectification of this unacceptable dilemma, I firstly want to issue an unconditional apology for having been let down by an institution which I sincerely believed was up to the task. I entrusted the NAC to bring much-needed relief in such a desperate state of economic vulnerability, through the introduction of (the) inevitable Covid-19 lockdown.
"Having done so, I hereby issue to you an absolute and uncompromising promise to ensure that those who are responsible for this gross negligence are brought to book."