The ministry of sport, arts and culture is on the verge of fast-tracking the third phase relief funding for the arts and entertainment industry following the call by artists for the Minister to resign. This come at the time when Covid-19 is continuing to cause havoc across the country.
The online petition, #NathiMustGo, was launched on Tuesday and has been signed by hundreds of artists from different aspects of the entertainment industry.
One artist, Gregory Magoma, has indicated that the petition had been drawn up due to the Minister’s failure to help adequately fund artists during the hardship of the pandemic. (https://www.timeslive.co.za/tshisa-live/tshisa-live/2021-01-21-nathi-mthethwa-responds-to-petition-calling-for-his-resignation/).
Artists are not happy with the Minister’s tweet shared on January 15 which stated that, “South African theatre is alive and well with performing arts institutions of the department such as @ArtscapeTheatre, @MarketTheatre, @PACOFS3, @DurbanPlayhouse, @statetheatre and @WindybrowTheatr (sic) offering an array of indigenous drama and dance etc”.
“More so, in light of the fact that the creative sector has been the hardest hit by the pandemic. To date, the theatre industry has little role if any to play given the rules of safety and social distancing. The theatre industry bring crucial messages to ensure that our history is not forgotten and that it continue to educate, entertain, enlighten, inform and to mobilize our nation”
How many artists are we talking about here, where are they coming from, and which criteria was used to fund artists as we have a plethora of practitioners in this country? This questions come after the Minister’s statement which alludes the department’s efforts to continue efforts to alleviate the plight of artists affected by the pandemic that is taking lives and livelihoods.
It is said that the department had implemented the first and second phases of the Covid-19 relief fund, to nearly 5,000 practitioners who were recommended for the first phase and more than R80m was paid out to the sector.
It is very difficult to be an artist in South Africa as people in the creative industry are left alone to fend for themselves during this time when the economy is hit hard by the pandemic.
It remains to be seen whether the minister will be forced to resign from his post as artists are pushing on with the signing of the petition which seek for the minister’s head.