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The MEC of the Department of Arts, Culture, Sport and Recreation, Gelebekwe Tlhapi, revealed in response to a question by the Democratic Alliance (DA) that only 53 North West artists out of 305 who applied for Covid-relief were granted.
This latest revelation indicates that the Department continues to fail the arts in the North West.
The MEC reported that out of the 53 approved applications, 42 were male and 11 were female.
Adding further insult to the financial struggle that artists had to endure over the last two years, the department distributed the R1 million set aside haphazardly. A complete lack of transparency combined with unfair distribution is evident when one artist received R100,000.00 in assistance but another only R3,760.00.
Artists in the North West experienced significant economic setbacks during the Covid-19 pandemic, mainly due to restrictions on gatherings.
Social distancing measures and the total lockdown affected museums, performing arts, live music, and festivals which in turn led to reduced wage earnings and retrenchments in the industry.
Illogical lockdowns, unconstitutional regulations and an ANC government in complete shambles further contributed to massive losses in the arts and entertainment industry.
One in four artists was unable to generate any income during the lockdown, with almost half of the artists having to sell instruments and equipment to survive.
The DA believes the department could have done more to help struggling artists. We are also not shocked by the latest sit-ins artists have waged at the department’s offices, citing a lack of support from the department.
Art and artists are a fundamental aspect of society and culture.
We will submit another question to the MEC to ascertain the criteria for selecting and approving assistance to artists.
The DA cares for artists and appreciates the role they play in society.
Issued by Gavin Edwards - DA Member of the North West Provincial Legislature