COVID-19: South Africa announces relief fund for athletes, art practitioners

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A fan wears a face mask during a Super Rugby match between the Sharks and the Stormers as it was announced that Super Rugby will be put on hold after this weekend's matches over the coronavirus outbreak in Durban, South Africa, March 14, 2020. REUTERS/Rogan Ward
A fan wears a face mask during a Super Rugby match between the Sharks and the Stormers as it was announced that Super Rugby will be put on hold after this weekend’s matches over the coronavirus outbreak in Durban, South Africa, March 14, 2020. REUTERS/Rogan Ward

South Africa’s Department of Sport, Arts and Culture (DSAC) announced a relief fund to ease the economic impact on the livelihoods of athletes and art practitioners due to the coronavirus.

Eligibility for benefitting from the 150 million Rand ($8.54 million) fund was agreed upon by the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) and theCultural and Creative Industries Federation of South Africa (CCIFSA).

An athlete whose income is generated solely through specific sporting events and were confirmed to participate at events that have now been cancelled or postponed due to COVID-19 will be assisted.

“They must provide proof that their events have been cancelled and their taxes must be in order,” the statement read in part.

In the arts section, the State will offer relief to producers, organisers, project managers and department beneficiaries after the cancelled event would have been held.

However, the DSAC said that art practitioners need to meet certain conditions in order to be compensated for their losses.

“To benefit from compensation, producers and organisers are required to submit a spreadsheet of the costs that were due to be incurred from March to June with proof of existing contracts and relevant documentation. A second spreadsheet of the full details of practitioners and committed costs will also be required,” the statement said.

The amount of compensation paid out will be dependent on the availability of resources. The DSAC added that not all athletes and art practitioners will be eligible for compensation from the fund.

“Athletes that have not earned the status of being national athletes would have to be catered for by their respective provinces, and projects and events that are not considered to have an impact at a national level, involving artists and practitioners from various provinces, would have to approach their respective provinces,” DSAC Minister Nathi Mthethwa said.

The DSAC also said that it will receive spontaneous project proposals for the use of online solutions responding to the COVID-19 effects on sports and the arts.

South Africa is the nation in Africa hardest hit by the coronavirus. As of March 29, the number of confirmed cases in the country stands at 1,280, according to the Ministry of Health.

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