Avatar photo

By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist


Department paid more than R72 million to artists during Covid-19 pandemic [List]

Some of the beneficiaries include Arthur Mafokate, the Rebecca Malope Foundation, Busiswa Qqulu, and Dumisani Mbebe


The Department of Sport, Arts and Culture (DSAC) has paid out more than R72 million to 3 962 artists during 2020-2021.

This was revealed in an updated list of beneficiaries shared by the department on Wednesday morning. Due to the overwhelming response to the release of the report, the department’s system allegedly experienced a crash while trying to release the names of beneficiaries as promised by Minister Gayton McKenzie.

“The Department is aware of the technical glitches and the technicians are working on resolving the problem. We apologise for the inconvenience,” said the ministry.

The first list was released in May 2020.

The money used was to support the artists during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic when the country was under lockdown.

Beneficiaries on the list

Some of the beneficiaries include the Rebecca Malope Foundation, Busiswa Qqulu, Dumisani Mbebe, Arthur Mafokate and his son, and Bethusile Mcinga.

Legends including Letta Mbulu and Abigail Kubeka also made the list, with Arno Carstens and the Drakensberg Boys Choir.

More lists expected

The department said more lists are expected to be released soon.

“Department of Sport, Arts and Culture has always cared for the creative sector. Below is the link to the Covid-19 Relief Beneficiaries 2020-2021 list. More lists are coming to cover other categories of funding since 2020 to date Beneficiaries,” noted the DSAC in a tweet on X.

ALSO READ: Gayton McKenzie ‘hy baiza nie

R150m relief fund

In April 2020, sports, arts and culture minister Nathi Mthethwa announced a R150 million relief fund to be shared by artists and athletes, with criteria for applications announced later that month.

“The department has therefore reprioritised its budget allocation from quarter one to avail over R150 million to provide the much-needed relief to practitioners in the sector,” said Nathi Mthethwain 2020.

Money capped

The submission deadline was initially set for 4 April 2020 but was extended to 6 April 2020 due to most not being able to obtain the necessary documents in time.

The money disbursed was capped at a maximum of R20,000 per artist or company.

During a parliamentary portfolio committee meeting Members of Parliament grilled officials about who was on the 42-page list of beneficiaries.

According to the department, 4,773 applications were received for relief and 2,320 payments were made totalling to R39.26m.

The R150 million set aside by the department as a ‘relief fund’ was also widely criticised because the money came out of the existing budget for productions and events that were cancelled due to the lockdown, rather than being additional emergency relief funding.

ALSO READ: Gayton McKenzie halts all trips for superfans

For more news your way

Download our app and read this and other great stories on the move. Available for Android and iOS.

For more news your way

Download our app and read this and other great stories on the move. Available for Android and iOS.