Press Statement: Minister Mthethwa consult with Sport and Culture Sectors on Coronavirus Pandemic


18 March 2020

Today, 17th March 2020, Minister Mthethwa held urgent consultative meetings with the Cultural and Sports sectors respectively. The purpose of the consultations was to share vital information on the status of the Coronavirus in South Africa, and assess the adverse consequences for both industries, with a view of making proposals to mitigate the impact thereof.

Minister Mthethwa was appreciative of the presence of all Organisations and their interest in being a part of an effort to combat the onslaught of a virus that threatens the future of our nation. Captains of industry and national legends such as Mr Danny Jordaan: President of SAFA, Mr Barry Hendricks: SASCOC Acting President, Dr Irvin Khoza: Chairman of PSL, Ms Cecilia Molokwane:Netball SA President, Ms Joy Mbowena: President of CCIFSA, SA legends Letta Mbulu, Caiphus Semenya and Abigail Kubeka joined the DSAC entities and wider Organisations present.

"Humanity is faced with a disaster of the highest proportion," said Minister Mthethwa as he called on members of the Sports and Creative sectors to be in the frontline as agents of awareness and the necessary changes required at this time.

Both sectors will be severely hit by the COVID-19 national disaster. Sporting federations are projecting losses in the R 100s of millions for some and the livelihood of artists, producers and performers whose incomes are already not regular, will reach unprecedented lows.

Minister Mthethwa said, “We have no choice but to fight this scourge together. We can only defeat this pandemic if we unite our efforts.” The Minister emphasised that it is crucial that all measures announced by The President be taken very seriously. 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.

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

Consultation with Cultural Sector

• Debunk all myths around the Coronavirus pandemic and put in place an accelerated awareness campaign with consistent messaging.

• Tap into the opportunities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and use streaming as a way for artists to continue to work, release music and not give up.

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

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

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

• Communicate urgent messages to all across the sector on hygiene measures (for both sectors).

Consultation with Sports Sector

• Life must come before anything else and should be the first consideration as countries continue to take decisions.

• The sporting sector suggested a coordinated strategy with the DSAC and regular consultations on progress going forward.

• 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 given to how closed sporting events could still take place, whilst still ensuring the safety and health of athletes. (Soccer).

• SAFA, 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. Minister Mthethwa thanked both sectors for their commitment and said. “We need you to be the voices that take the messages to our people.

He further advised that from here on there will be one clear consistent message: #OneMessageManyVoices, “that we are a proud nation and have overcome many challenges in the past. We will not allow this pandemic to defeat us.” …ends//

 

Enquiries:

Ms Masechaba Ndlovu Spokesperson: Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture Mobile: +27761147944 Email: MasechabaN@dac.gov.za

Ms Zimasa Velaphi Chief Director: Department of Arts and Culture Mobile: +27721728925 Email: ZimasaV@dac.go.za