DJ Tira

DJ Tira got dragged for his no vaccine no entry post. Image via Facebook @DJTira

Artists call on Mthethwa to adapt criteria for arts and culture relief fund

Many say the requirements need to change to benefit more artists who are struggling to make ends’ meet during the pandemic.

DJ Tira

DJ Tira got dragged for his no vaccine no entry post. Image via Facebook @DJTira

South African artists have urged Sports, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa to change the criteria of the R150 million COVID-19 relief fund because, as to date, many artists have not benefitted and some have not had any feedback regarding their applications.

On Monday 3 May, Mthethwa revealed in a media briefing that his department had received 5 000 applications from the arts and culture sector. Of the 1 050 applications that had been assessed on Monday, 603 were not recommended for payment.

Second call to apply

“We are concerned about the high number of applications in the arts and culture sector that were not recommended for payments as they didn’t comply with the requirements,” said Mthethwa.

South African Music Industries (Samic) spokesperson Stanley Khoza confirmed that there will be a second call for artists to apply again due to the fact that various stakeholders representing South African artists and youth brands, feel that they were not given enough time to apply.

“Artists should prepare and have all their documents ready. They can also use posters as proof that they were booked for events that have since been cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic,” Khoza said.

“I hope the second call will consider artists who had gigs scheduled aside from the Department of Arts and Culture events before the pandemic led to the cancellation of events.”

High number of unsuccessful applicants

Durban-based kwaito artist Thokozani Ndlovu, aka L’vovo, also urged that the department should change the criteria, so more artists could benefit from the relief fund.

“The high number of unsuccessful applications should indicate to the minister and his team that they need to change the criteria,” he said.

“Artists are also registered with Samro [Southern African Music Rights Organisation], so it has all our banking details and other information that might aid the department in their process of allocating the funds,” Ndlovu added.

National department should consult on provincial level

Afrotainment founder and CEO DJ Tira (real name Mthokozisi Khathi) is one of the artists who has applied but have not received any feedback from the department.

“I wish the national department would work with the provincial, because the provincial levels know and understand their artists and how they work. I feel that this would fast-track the disbursement to artists.

“As a record label owner, my artists and many others whom I work with, have been complaining about not being able to pay rent, buy groceries and other basics due to loss of income,” he said.

Uzalo actor Siyabonga Shibe also bemoaned the current situation.

“The government doesn’t care about us. I feel that athletes are prioritised more than artists, yet the two departments have been merged into one and should cater for us equally,” he said.