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Lockdown: Minister Nathi Mthethwa

Statement by the Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture on mitigation plans to minimise the impact of the Covid19 Pandemic on the Sector.

Good afternoon Fellow South Africans, and Members of the Media

President of the Republic of South Africa, His Excellency, MC Ramaphosa, in his address to the nation on the 15 March 2020, declared the spread of Corona Virus (Covid 19) a national disaster. This declaration necessitated the implementation of measures to mitigate the challenges.

Amongst the measures announced by the President was to limit gatherings to less than one hundred people. This necessary measure was a fatal blow to the sector, since it depends on numbers for it to survive be it Gigs, Concerts, Sporting matches et al.

We made the point at the time and we are reiterating now, that sporting and creative sectors are going to be the hardest hit by these critically important measures.

Subsequent to the address by the President to the Nation we convened sectoral meetings and a number of issues were discussed and suggestions made on how to mitigate the impact of the pandemic.

On the sporting front for instance they shared with us actions that they have already taken to respond positively to the call made by the President. This includes amongst others the postponement and cancellation of matches. In the final analysis, they further made suggestions on how to address the challenges brought by the outbreak of COVID19.

The cultural and creative sector remains in the desperate situation as the result of the declaration. They have made some suggestions on how to deal with the situation. They have made the following suggestions:

Utilisation of 4th Industrial Revolution on live performances with no audiences (Live Streaming).
They suggested that we engage the private sector especially the financial services sector for the relief on such things like House and Car mortgages, rents and other instalments.
They also wanted government to give direction on athletes who are trapped abroad like in USA and Europe.
We engage our sister Department of Communications to avail platforms for key individuals in the sector to send messages of hope and awareness on Corona Virus.
To ensure that the Public Broadcaster is biased in favour of local content during this period.


This will go a long way in alleviating the plight of artists and athletes.

In this meeting we also had the presence of the organised formations in the sector such as National Federations in sports and the Confederation (SASCOC).

On the side of the cultural and creative sector we had the federation of the creatives the Creative and Cultural Industries Federation of South Africa (CCIFSA).

We also had collecting societies like SAMBRO, SAMPRO, IMPRA and CAPASSO who all have made commitments to pay royalties to members on time.

We urge everyone to play a role in addressing the difficulties faced by the sector. Let us put a shoulder to the wheel.

All these suggestions mean we must get resources, especially financially, to address the challenges at hand. This means at looking at what the department can do.

Budget Allocation

The Department has therefore reprioritized its budget allocation from quarter one to avail over R150 million to provide the much needed relief to practitioners in the sector.

The allocated funds will be utilized to render various forms of support to practitioners during this period. Priority will be given to artists and practitioners who were already booked by some of the cancelled and postponed events funded by the department, as well as to the legends of the industry.

For the audiovisual sector, already over 25 TV productions have been postponed, possibly to be cancelled by broadcasters, about 15 live shows have been cancelled: the DSAC together with the Department of Communication are engaging the broadcasters to ensure that producers should pay the cast and crew that were due to go into production.

Partnership with the DSAC Playhouses to create live streaming programmes

The playhouses, which are entities of the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture will avail to artists a platform to perform live-streaming activities which includes amongst others stand-up comedy, poetry sessions, music, and so forth. This will be done to keep people entertained, to showcase the work of the creatives, and to promote local content across all art genres. The Department will commission service providers in the digital space to curate new programs in all disciplines to ensure that artists continue to work. The department will share detailed plans on the process for participation.

Support from Entities of DSAC to Practitioners

The National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) will offer immediate relief to practitioners in the film industry by prioritising and making payments to beneficiaries that have submitted milestones in the past two weeks on an urgent basis. Beneficiaries who have yet to submit milestones over the next three months will also be paid. NFVF also intends to release a call for Development, Post-Production, Animation and Archive by the end of this week, which ordinarily would have only been released in August.

The aim of this exercise is to ensure that normal processes are applied to all applications including council approvals by the 10th of June to keep the industry going. NFVF will further reprioritise funding earmarked for the film festivals which have been cancelled, and realising them for an early production in September 2020.

As part of the slates programme which benefits young emerging producers, NFVF has further identified a savings of R4.5 million from the current fiscal, which will be used as part of the relief programme. NFVF will provide a cash injection of R500 000 to the nine companies currently commissioned by the organisation. This relief will only be contained to the slates currently commissioned by the institution, and would be extended it to anyone else in the industry.

Key messages by practitioners in the sector #OneMessageManyVoices

The department further calls upon both the public and private broadcasters to lend a hand in the relief program towards the sector by playing more locally produced content to enable artists to earn royalties, and to show patriotism towards their country. Part of DSAC’s education and awareness programme is to share, messages about Covid19, but also to communicate messages that will bring courage and hope to South African citizens; that we are a resilient country and we can triumph in spite of this pandemic.

Through our campaign, we will be sending out a strong message, that carries many voices. This we will attain by commissioning young and upcoming artists, renowned artists, and our legends to curate via their respective social media platforms.

Issued by: Department of Arts and Culture


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