Sports, arts and culture sector to be hard-hit

The Minister of Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, on Tuesday met with stakeholders from the sports and arts sectors to communicate the department’s stance on COVID-19.

This comes after President Cyril Ramaphosa declared the Coronavirus outbreak a national disaster on Sunday and outlined a comprehensive plan on how the country will respond in the short to medium term. He put in place a ban on gatherings of more than 100 people.

The Minister said the sports, arts and culture sectors will be the hardest hit as numerous events and tournaments have and will still be postponed.

“Economically, we are going to be battered,” Mthethwa said.

“One of the things affecting our sector directly is the number of people coming together at sports, arts and cultural events. This year is more important because it is the 60th anniversary of the Sharpeville Massacre.

“However, we have cancelled all events in the interest of humanity,” the Minister said.

He encouraged the stakeholders to ensure they adhere to the directive not to gather in groups of more than 100 people. The department will also be sending messages emphasising that there must be measures put in place to ensure a hygienic environment and, where possible, personal protective gear be provided.

“The impact of Covid-19 will be felt throughout the entire sector. Technical visits, cultural agreements, national events, funded projects and national days’ activities, dialogues, and exhibitions have been cancelled until further notice. A list will be published on our website,” the Minister said.

The Minister said the department will engage the private sector to partner up in terms of relief, particularly the financial services sector as it affects the creative industry.

All messages, including debunking the misconceptions about the pandemic, should be communicated in indigenous languages. The public broadcaster and all electronic media should be used.

The arts sector has requested all media platforms to re-adjust the scale of local music in favour of local artists, as a means of protecting artists’ livelihoods.

Source: South African Government News Agency