Freedom Front Plus
Freedom Front Plus

Artists, from diverse fields, contribute to filling state coffers, but get only crumbs in return

(Parliamentary budget vote debate: Sport, Arts and culture)

The Covid-19 lockdown regulations have had a dramatic and destructive impact on sportsmen and -women as well as artists in South Africa; particularly the cultural and performing art sectors that play a significant role in job creation and economic growth have to be satisfied with getting mere crumbs from the government.

The arts and cultural sectors create jobs for approximately one million people in South Africa and contribute about R70 billion to the South African economy. And yet these sectors' greatest contribution, which is priceless, is the vital role they play in ensuring the inherent wellbeing of the people of this country.

R95 million will not save these sectors. Likewise, R72 millions is not enough to ensure the financial survival of numerous athletes and sport federations.

The national lockdown has left many professional athletes and artists, who depend on spectators and visitors, unemployed and without an income almost overnight; they also have few to no alternative ways to generate an income.

The government's relief packages did little to soften the severe financial blow delivered by the lockdown regulations and for those who received no income from their sport or artistic careers, it was no more than a drop in the ocean.

The restrictions placed on the budgets of heritage foundations and museums are also alarming, particularly in a country where heritage seems to have become a weapon in the hands of the ignorant who are using it to further political agendas at the expense of social cohesion.

It is, thus, of the utmost importance to promote and protect the heritage of all South Africans and proper funding is needed to do that.

Sport also contributes greatly to South Africa and not only in the economic sense. In a recent Sascoc survey aimed at examining the impact of Covid-19 on sport, 83,7% of all the Sascoc federations indicated that they will only be able to survive financially until this September if the current lockdown regulations remain in place.

The Department of Sport, Arts and Culture does not have an easy task on hand. All of a sudden, its greatest concerns are no longer dilapidated infrastructure and enforcing cosmetic quotas.

Now the biggest concern is the sheer survival of the arts and sport sectors in South Africa as well as the protection and conservation of an entire nation's heritage and history. Much, much more will have to be done.

Contact details: 072 997 8315



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