DG of the Department of Arts and Culture Vusi Mkhize. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency(ANA)
DG of the Department of Arts and Culture Vusi Mkhize. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency(ANA)

Calls made for audit of relief funds for artists and athletes

By Mayibongwe Maqhina Time of article published Aug 3, 2020

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Cape Town - The official opposition wants the R150 million relief funding issued to the Department of Sports Arts and Culture to mitigate the effects of Covid-19, to be audited.

On Monday, DA MP Tsepo Mhlongo made the call following allegations of corruption and mismanagement of the funds and the accusation that the department was not transparent about the funding process.

Mhlongo claimed the relief fund application process had been laden with uncertainties and poor communication from the department.

"Throughout the entire lockdown period, the DA has always had misgivings regarding the payments made by the department's Covid-19 relief fund to artists and athletes.

"We have continuously demanded clarity on the criteria used to decide the amounts paid out and who it is paid out to," he said.

He said thousands of South Africans athletes and artists whose applications for relief funding had been rejected were rightfully questioning why some people benefited while they did not.

In May, director-general Vusi Mkhize told MPs that 473 applications were received from 25 sport bodies and 292 were approved.

Sixteen were conditionally approved and 165 were declined for not meeting the set criteria.

In terms of artists, Mkhize had said 1 050 applications were adjudicated.

He said at the time "603 applications have been rejected (and) 232 applications were recommended".

Mhlongo said they reiterated their call to Minister of Sports Arts, and Culture Nathi Mthethwa for the application process to be reopened.

"This will provide those who were unsuccessful or missed the previous deadline with a new and fair opportunity to access this much-needed funding.

"The second phase must be a substantial, 15-day period that allows artists and sportspeople a fair opportunity to access aid," he said.

In their May meeting, MPs had raised concerns over the short period allowed for applications, which was effectively two working days, and possible double dipping by beneficiaries as provinces have similar relief funds.

Deputy Minister Nicawe Mafu had agreed that the time allowed for application was too short and that they would make an effort to accommodate those who did not meet the deadline.

Political Bureau

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