Sectors urged to take COVID-19 seriously

The Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, has encouraged the cultural and sports sectors to take the measures announced by the President to manage Coronavirus (COVID-19) seriously.

Tuesday’s meeting with the sectors comes after President Cyril Ramaphosa declared the outbreak a national disaster and outlined a comprehensive plan detailing how the country will respond in the short- to medium-term.

These measures are anchored in the National Disaster Management Act, the regulations of which also provide for consequences for those in contravention of the act.

“We have no choice but to fight this scourge together. We can only defeat this pandemic if we unite our efforts,” Mthethwa said.

According to the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture, sporting federations are projecting losses in the hundreds of millions, and the livelihood of artists, producers and performers, whose incomes are already not regular, will reach unprecedented lows.

The following proposals and discussion points were noted in the outcome of the consultations:

Consultation with cultural sector

• Minister Mthethwa to engage the private sector through government processes to see how they can contribute to mitigating the crisis, particularly the financial sector.

• Minister Mthethwa to engage his counterpart at the Department of Communications to request national broadcasters to favour local content.

• Ensure artists are paid their royalties as soon as possible.

• Tap into the opportunities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and use streaming as a way for artists to continue to work.

Consultation with sports sector

• Sector to be given support to educate athletes on how to avoid the virus.

• South African athletes abroad in high risk countries to be provided with information via Embassies and ensure they are well.

• Consideration will be given to how closed sporting events could still take place, whilst still ensuring the safety and health of athletes.

• Boxing SA, Cricket SA, Netball SA confirmed that they have cancelled all matches until further notice. No organisation is opposed to this decision.

• Athletics South Africa reassured the Minister of the cancellation of the Comrades Marathon.

Source: South African Government News Agency