Two officials of the Gauteng Provincial Government test positive and offices closed
By Edward Tsumele
Artists and sports people in Gauteng including technical workers for live events that were ‘forgotten’ when the national Department of Sports, Arts and Culture (DSAC) paid out Covid-19 relief funds a few weeks ago stand to benefit from a new COVID 19 relief fund.
The new fund that is aimed at assisting artists and those earning their living from arts and sports related activities in Gauteng, was launched on Sunday.
Gauteng Provincial Government MEC for Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation Mbali Hlophe announced at a virtual media launch yesterday that R28 million Covid-19 Relief Fund for artists and sports people has been set aside, and applications are now open for the people in the sector to lodge their application with her department. The arts and sports sectors are currently under the excruciating grip of the effect of COVID-19 as sporting and arts events such as music concerts, arts festivals and theatrical events, that depend on foot traffic are disallowed under Level 3 of risk the dependent restrictions as per government requirements to slow down the rate of infections.
“This relief fund will see successful applicants, that include those who work behind the scenes within communities in the sports, arts and culture sectors each receive R1000 per month till December as we do not know when activities
in this sector will open,” she said.
The MEC, at 37, the youngest of Premier David Makhura’s executive, also revealed that two officials from her department have tested positive to the novel coronavirus.
“The Loveday Street offices (in central Johannesburg) are therefore closed as a result, and we are all in self-isolation as a department working from home. The offices will only open on June 17 after the offices had been disinfected,” Hlophe said.
The MEC also assured those who will apply that transparence in this process will be of priority. “The names of those who be successful will therefore be published in the spirit of transparence because these are public funds and we have to account for every cent,” she said.
Recently when DSAC announced that it had funded some artists from the R150 million it set aside as a COVID-19 Relief Fund, it received heavy criticism from artists who complained that communication between government and the artists was poor. The way the funds were allocated to the 488 successful applicants was opaque, and behind the scenes people that actually make live events magical, such as stage mangers, sound engineers and other technicians “were forgotten”. Under this provincial fund, such workers are eligible to apply, it was confirmed.