How the R150m relief fund for the arts and sports sector will work

How the R150m relief fund for the arts and sports sector will work

A golden horn award for the South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTAs) | Image: Supplied

Independent, non-contract artist, creatives and film and TV workers will be able to claim from a R150 million relief fund.

The South African Film and Television Awards (Saftas) and the South African Music Awards, two of the department of sport (DSAC), arts and culture’s biggest nights to celebrate the arts, have been postponed indefinitely.

The Saftas were supposed to take place over the weekend at Gallagher Estate in Midrand.

R150 million has now been promised to assist artists, athletes and technical personnel in a relief fund set up by the department.

On Sunday the criteria for accessing this support, the identification of beneficiaries and the mechanism through which the relief fund would be managed was finalised – the department confirmed.

Where department-funded projects that have already entered into a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the department, and where the first tranche of payments has been made – where artists, venues and other suppliers have been paid and the project implementation has been cancelled due to Covid-19 – the beneficiaries will be compensated for the expenditure incurred.

At the State Theatre around 16 planned productions have been put on ice, including a new musical, Rebecca Malope – The Musical. Some shows had just been finalised before the national lockdown was announced, and a few had even started.

To benefit from the compensation, the beneficiaries will have to submit a claim that does not deviate from the original MOA and provide supporting documents such as contracts and valid invoices. The DSAC reserves the right to determine a flat rate fee for all such beneficiaries. The above criteria also apply to funding and associated institutions such as the National Arts Council (NAC), the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF), the National Heritage Council (NHC), and Business and Arts South Africa (BASA).

It’s not clear how many film productions supported by the DSAC and the department of trade and industry have been halted due to the shutdown.

For department institutions whose productions and events have been cancelled, the playhouses and theatres that have had to cancel productions scheduled from March to June will pay the artists and practitioners who were already booked for these productions.

For cancelled non-DSAC-funded projects, the list of 25 productions and 15 live events already submitted by national industry organisations will be compensated. 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 and a second spreadsheet of the full details of practitioners and committed costs will also be required. The department reserves the right to determine the compensation to be made.

The department has been receiving, and will continue to accept, spontaneous project proposals for the use of online solutions until April 4. These concepts should respond to the effect of Covid-19 on the sport, arts and culture sectors with digital platforms, VOD ideas (video on demand), streaming, podcasts, social media, webinars, short animations and documentaries.
Compensation will be in the form of a flat-rate payment, to be included in the proposal.

The department reserves the right to make the final determination of the artist’s fee. The duration of the project must be limited to two months, and not more than five pages clearly outlining the concept, budget and time frames.

The projects must also involve artists to assist them in making an income during these difficult times. A list of artists and practitioners must be provided. Only proposals from compliant sector organisations in good standing will be accepted (NPC, NPI and Companies).

Minister Nathi Mthethwa said: “The above relief support of the department of sport, arts and culture is guided by Schedule 5 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. Therefore, 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.”

Excluded from the above relief framework are athletes, coaches and technical personnel who do not rely solely on income earned from participating at sport events and permanently employed personnel in institutions and organisations. In other words, all athletes and art practitioners on fixed-term contracts (with salaries).

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