Applications open for COVID-19 relief funding in sports, arts sector


Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa has announced that the second wave of COVID-19 Relief funding for the arts, culture and heritage sector officially opens on August 18.

Addressing a media briefing on August 17, the Minister said the closing date for all applications is 31 August 2020.

“To apply, simply log onto our official websites information on the criteria and requirements. Our websites are and,” the Minister said.

The Department of Sport, Arts and Culture has through its COVID-19 Relief Fund disbursed a total of R65.7 million which catered for various categories, such as the digital applications, the living legends, relief for athletes in the sector as well as relief for the arts and culture practitioners.

The COVID-19 Relief Fund was established to support the sectors as they are amongst those hardest hit by the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In response to the plight of practitioners in the sector, the department conceptualized a second wave of relief. The second wave will take into account the shortcomings and experiences of the first rollout.

“The department will be rolling-out two processes to implement sector relief. The first process will include the relief for athletes and all technical personnel in the sport sector. While the second process will focus on arts and culture sector relief,” the Minister said.

Applicants who are eligible to apply for the sports relief include athletes, coaches, technical support personnel and freelance fitness instructors or practitioners.

“These are applicants who rely solely on income generated from participating in sport competitions, events and in fitness activities, who operate as freelancers. Only applicants who are South African citizens as per Home Affairs official definition will qualify for relief,” the Minister said.

Applications for this category of people should be submitted to the applicant’s respective National Federation.

Only applications from fitness instructors/practitioners must be submitted to a portal on the department’s website.

Arts, culture and heritage relief

The arts, culture and heritage relief will be available to categories of performance and celebrations; music; festivals and events; books and publishing as well as heritage practitioners.

Other practitioners will be covered through the partnership with the Department of Small Business and Development (DSBD).

“A joint allocation of R23 million has been set aside by both departments to respond to a plea from the Cultural and Creative Industries Federation of South Africa (CCIFSA) for the craft, design and visual arts sectors towards relief amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“A total of R77 million is set aside for relief – of which R11.5 million has been ring-fenced for contribution towards the partnership with the Department of Small Business Development,” the Minister said.

If the entire amount is to be paid specifically towards beneficiaries and no other costs are considered, the allocation will cover a total of 11 666 practitioners (athletes and artists).

“The relief will be paid as a once-off payment of R6 600, instead of three staggered payments. This decision was made after consulting with implementing agencies, the National Arts Council and Business and Arts South Africa. The approach cut out a lot of administrative processes and time consumption,” the Minister said.

Solidarity Fund

The Solidarity Fund has made available 10 000 food or cash vouchers of R700 to the department, amounting to R7 million.

The department is working with sector organisations and the provinces to develop a list of practitioners who will benefit from these vouchers.

“Each province will receive 1 000 vouchers which can either be redeemed as cash or for food. Beneficiaries will be identified as follows: 50% urban and 50% rural areas.

“The vouchers will be made available to the athletes, artists, freelancers, sport and arts legends. Those that are receiving social grants and Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) will be excluded from benefiting,” the Minister said.

The database will be screened through the Department of Social Development to ensure that beneficiaries are not recipients of the SASSA grant. 

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