The Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa hosted a media briefing to update the nation on the criteria and the application process of the second wave of the COVID-19 Relief Fund on Monday, 17 August 2020.
FIRST WAVE COVID-19 RELIEF FUND (STATUS)
To date, the Department has spent a total of R65.7 million which catered for various categories, such as the digital applications, the living legends, relief for athletes in the sector as well as relief for our arts and culture practitioners.
CHALLENGES EXPERINCED AND LESSONS LEARNT FROM 1ST WAVE OF RELIEF
The first wave was not without its challenges. Due to the lockdown, many applicants were unable to fulfil the requirements of the criteria set on the open call. The following are some of the challenges experienced while implementing the 1st Wave:
- Non-compliance of applications due to failure to submit the required documentation, such as bank statements, tax certificates, proof of cancelled events and other gigs.
- Lack of access to ICT centres, as most of them were not operating during the lock-down period.
- Lack of readiness by the Department’s IT system also posed major challenges. Most applications were large in size and the system did not cater for such applications.
- Data capturing and adjudication was an extremely labour intensive and timeconsuming process; as practitioners had to submit multiple attachments for only one application, while others submitted duplicate applications.
- Issues of language, access and urgency for applicants, including geographic issues of urban, peri-urban and rural access were highlighted as challenges by the sector.
- In some cases, applicants demonstrated opportunistic and potentially fraudulent behaviour.
- Delays in processing of payments due to verification of banking details and other compliance documents.
ROLL-OUT OF THE 2ND WAVE RELIEF FUND
The Department will be rolling-out two processes to implement the sector relief. The first process will include the relief for athletes and all technical personnel in the sport sector. While the second process will focus on arts and culture sector relief.
Arts, Culture and Heritage Relief
The relief will be available to individuals in the arts, culture and heritage sector/cultural and creative industries. The categories to be provided with relief will apply only to:
- Performance and celebrations
- Festivals and events
- Books and publishing
- Heritage practitioners
Other practitioners will be covered through the partnership with the Department of Small Business and Development (DSBD). A joint allocation of R 23 million has been set aside by both Departments to respond to a plea from the Cultural& Creative Industries Federation of South Africa (CCIFSA) for the craft, design and visual arts sectors towards relief amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Exclusions for Arts, Culture and Heritage Relief
- Applicants who do not rely solely on the income earned from participating in arts, culture and heritage activities.
- Arts, culture and heritage practitioners on fixed-term contracts may not apply.
- Companies/NPIs/NGOs, group applications (choirs, bands, etc.). These will be catered for on the Presidential Employment Stimulus Programme.
- Applicants who benefitted in the first cycle of the DSAC Relief Fund or its provincial counterparts or any other government relief funding do not qualify.
- Support sectors such as catering, transport and accommodation will not be catered for.
Who will be eligible for this relief?
- Practitioners who rely solely on income generated from participating in sports, arts, culture and heritage activities, as mentioned.
- Practitioners who are dependent on gigs, who are freelancers and independent contractors.
- Applicants must provide proof of having earned income through arts, culture and heritage activities (provide contracts/invoices/bank statements/municipal trading permits) in the 12 months period ending on February 2020.
- Practitioners will need to prove their applicability in the sector through provision of their profiles/portfolio of work/ academic achievements in the sector and/ or reference from other prominent practitioners who have been in the field for 10 years or more.
2ND WAVE APPLICATION PROCESS
- Only one application form should be submitted by applicants either via WhatsApp or through the website; as submitting two applications will lead to disqualification.
- All first wave beneficiaries Identity Numbers are going to be loaded on Both Systems as the system has been made in such a manner that should any of the first wave beneficiaries take a chance and submit an application, the system will then reject it.
- A list of those who are recommended to be paid and not yet processed will also be loaded onto the system so that upon their submissions both BASA and NAC Systems will reject them.
- Departmental communication and information platforms will also publish the names of all first wave recipients, serving as a reminder to those who initially benefited to not take a chance and submit.
- All applicants upon submitting their applications via WhatsApp on 087 153 1027, will get an SMS acknowledging their applications.
- Should applicants seek clarity and information on their application status, they can call 0800 724 278 at no cost. This measure was introduced to further strengthen our communication with all sector applicants.
- Language practitioners who can converse in more than three languages will be utilised and will be equipped with all required information.
THE SOLIDARITY FUND (STATUS)
The Solidarity Fund has made available 10 000 food or cash vouchers of R700 to the department amounting to R 7 million. The Department, working with sector organisations and the provinces to develop a list of practitioners who will benefit from these vouchers. Each province will receive 1 000 vouchers which can either be redeemed as cash or for food. Beneficiaries will be identified as follows: 50% urban and 50% rural areas. The vouchers will be made available to the athletes, artists, freelancers, sport and arts legends. Those that are receiving social grants and UIF will be excluded from benefiting. Our database will be screened through the Department of Social Development to ensure that beneficiaries are not recipients of SASSA grant.
- Between the ages of 36 and 59.
- Active and ex-professional athletes / Arts practitioners who are unemployed and have no alternative source/s of income.
- Ex-professional athletes / Arts practitioners should have been active for at least a period of 3 years.
- The criteria also covers, technical staff such as coaches, referees, sound engineers.
Voucher Receipt Process:
In terms of the payment process, a list of beneficiaries will be submitted to the Solidarity Fund who will verify the eligibility of beneficiaries through the SASSA system. An SMS will then be sent to potential beneficiaries acknowledging receipt of the application. Once verified, the information will be sent to Standard Bank to process the payment, which can be redeemed at the ATM or their agents being Spar, Checkers, et al.
The Department will then be notified and once the process is finalised, the information will be deleted from their system as per the POPI Act 2000.
A total of R77 million is set aside for Relief. Of which R11.5 million has been ringfenced for contribution towards the partnership with the Department of Small Business Development. If the entire amount is to be paid specifically towards beneficiaries and no other costs are considered, the allocation will cover a total of 11 666 practitioners (athletes and artists) based on the following estimates:
The relief will be paid as a once-off payment of R6600, instead of three staggered payments. This decision was made after consulting with implementing agencies, the NAC and BASA. The approach cut on a lot of administrative processes and time consumption.
ROLE OF THE SECTOR ORGANISATIONS
The sector organisations will play a role in raising awareness within the sector, enabling access to information because they have an advantage of reaching remote and disadvantaged areas. The organisations will assist members with the application process and explore measures to prevent duplication and double dipping.
The 2nd Wave of COVID-19 Relief Funding for the Sector is officially open as of the 18th of August 2020. The closing date for all applications will be the 31st of August 2020. To apply, simply log onto our official websites information on the criteria and requirements. Our websites are www.dac.gov.za and www.srsa.gov.za .