Minister Nathi Mthethwa apologises for offensive tweet

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21 Jan 2021

The Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture wishes to convey his heartfelt remorse for the tweet regarding theatre in South Africa. More so, in light of the fact that the creative sector has been the hardest hit by the pandemic.

To date, the theatre industry has played an invaluable role in driving social cohesion, by bringing crucial messages to ensure that our history is not forgotten and that we continue to educate and empower our nation.

Minister Mthethwa has previously said, "Although arts and culture practitioners are among the most brutally impacted by this devastating pandemic, they are a source of pride and inspiration and have not hesitated to dig deep within themselves to continue to create, to entertain and to comfort our nation in these trying times. We are continually identifying opportunities to develop more platforms, which will help to alleviate the challenges faced by the sector”.

Currently, the Department is fast tracking a third phase of relief funding for the industry - to continue all efforts to aid the plight of artists affected by this pandemic that is taking lives and livelihoods, compromising the dignity of our practitioners and preventing them from fully living out their passion within the arts. 

To date, the Department has implemented the first and second phases of the COVID-19 Relief Fund. Nearly 5, 000 practitioners were recommended for the first phase and over R80 Million was paid out to the sector. In the second phase and as of the 14th of December 2020, over R2 Million was paid out to practitioners in the sector. 3,658 practitioners benefitted from the Solidarity Fund with a total of nearly R9 Million that was paid out. Through DSAC’s partnership with the Department of Small Business Development (DBSA), over R5 Million was paid out to practitioners within the sector, with a further estimated R 13 Million to be disbursed by the end of March 2021.

Furthermore, through the Presidential Employment Stimulus Programme (PESP), there are several interventions being implemented throughout the country that are geared towards job retention and job creation. The National Arts Council (NAC) has since approved a total of 352 applications for job retention that is comprised of 200 organisations and 152 individual beneficiaries. The entity also approved a total of 126 applications for job creation that is comprised of 66 individual applications and 60 organisations. From this approval 2, 475 jobs will be retained and a further 3, 453 jobs will be created. Final results from the NAC of pending applications will be released before the end of January 2020. The National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) is also in the process of adjudicating 891 applications that were received by the closing date of 10 December 2020. The Department will provide further updates as the process unfolds.

In spite of our best efforts, the Department is fully cognisant of the fact that there are many others who did not benefit from these programmes, given the Department’s finite budget. With that said, we have and will continue to engage national organisations in line with our open door policy.

The Department, alongside the appointed service provider, is also developing the rollout of an implementation plan to provide an Artist Wellness Programme to the sector to deal with the emotional and psychological impact of their challenges and will also provide other enhancement interventions such as personal or business financial management, legal support and lifestyle management.

Information on the third phase of the COVID-19 Relief Fund, as well the Artist Wellness Programme will be issued out in due course.

Media Enquiries:

Masechaba Khumalo: Spokesperson (Minister)

Phone: 082 858 4415