Artists to march to Parliament, Union Buildings on Wednesday

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The South African cultural and creative industry organisations will be marching to Parliament and the Union Buildings Wednesday morning, to hand over a memorandum. They say with the closure of state and private venues, the industry is on the brink of collapse.

They are calling for an amendment to regulations to allow them to host concerts and other events at 70% capacity.

Trade Union for Musicians of South Africa’s Gabi Le Roux says they also want the Artist Relief Fund to be more accessible to those who desperately need it.

“Open up the industry to 70% if you are not going to pay us. We still need relief funding for all our applicants. One of our demands is that the qualification criteria should not be so unrealistic that most of our members cannot even apply for funding. Even if the venues are opened up in the next week or two or month to 70%, we still need relief funding for all of our members. But the application process to be significantly relaxed.”


In August, the Department of Arts and Culture announced that it had already paid out R61 million through the relief fund. Minister Nathi Mthethwa said that more than 5000 artists applied.

Only 4 602 applications were recommended to be granted relief.

“To date, R61 million has been disbursed to beneficiaries. The department has taken into consideration the commitments for the unpaid beneficiaries in the first phase estimated at R34 million. These would be people who would have been approved and in the process of getting their relief,” said Mthethwa.

The department plans to roll-out the second-phase of the financial relief.

“For the second phase, the amount that is allocated for relief is R77 million of which R11 million has been ring-fenced for contribution towards the partnership with the Department of Small Business Development. If the entire amount is to be paid specifically towards beneficiaries and no other costs are considered, the allocation will cover the total of 11 666 practitioners.”

Nathi Mthethwa briefs the media about the money spent from the relief fund: