Munashe Rungano/Diana Chiyangwa
The South African government has paid 296 out of 470 COVID-19 relief applicants in the sporting fratenity have been approved while 174 have been declined, the country’s Sports and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa has revealed.
He said 26 applicants have appealed with 10 being succesful while three were rejected.
In the Arts and Culture sector, 1 250 were initially succesful before the high number of rejected applications compelled the department to set up a process to give a platform to those who were not recommended.
Mthethwa said the Ministy’s Covid-19 relief fund had increased to R200 million after donations from MEC’s.
The announcement was made on Saturday during a media briefing on how the level 3 lockdown regulations will impact sport in the country.
Mthethwa indicated that training for contact and non contact sport will resume under alert level three. He further clarified that professional contact sport such as football and rugby can resume fitness training only while exercising strict measures.
“ All those who participate in contact and non contact sport can resume training from the 1st of June 2020” he said.
He also advised that within 14 days of publication of the directions, sport bodies and profession clubs must provide the minister in writing with details including the date of resumption and an operational guidelines which includes the testing of all officials.
Sporting, arts, culture or religious events will remain prohibited except religious gatherings and professional non contact sporting events for the purposes of preparations of major sporting events.
Mthethwa highlighted that the MECs in all provinces have announced the provincial relief funds, which amount to more R15 Million to assist athletes and artists. The number of successful applications has increased to 1 520, therefore reducing the number of those not recommended from 1 930 to 1 660. The panel has attended to 698, with 270 of those being successful.
A day before he briefed the nation, the Democratic Alliance demanded transparency from the minister and his department on how they handled the R150 Million Arts and Sports Sector Relief Fund. While other sporting fraternities welcomed the Minister’s address, other athletes and artists were left disgruntled.