Sports minister Nathi Mthethwa has announced that measures are being taken to create a relief fund for athletes negatively affected by the coronavirus restrictions.
According to his statement on the official SA government website, the relief fund of R150 million will go towards assisting artists, athletes, technical personnel and the core ecosystems that support them.
The fund aims to soften the heavy economic impact on the livelihoods of the athletes due to the Covid-19 lockdown and cancellation or postponement of events.
After consulting with the SA Sports Confederation and Olympics Committee (Sascoc) and the Cultural and Creative Industries Federation of South Africa (Ccifsa), they have identified the criteria for those needing to access funds and how it will be managed.
Athletes eligible for relief are those who were confirmed to participate in events that have been cancelled or postponed due to the coronavirus and whose income is solely generated through specific sporting events. They will need to provide proof that their events have been cancelled and their taxes need to be in order as well.
The above conditions are also applicable to athletes on the Operation Excellence Programme (Opex) as they are potential medallists earmarked for international multi-code events like the Olympics, Paralympics and the Commonwealth Games.
Coaches and technical support personnel who want to apply for the fund need to work with athletes whose events have been cancelled or postponed due to the virus, and whose sole income comes from these events. Their taxes also need to be in order.
Sports relief will only be made available after the date on which the cancelled or postponed event would have been held.
The department says it reserves the right to determine the quantum of relief based on the availability of resources.
“The above relief support of the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture is guided by schedule five of the constitution of the Republic of South Africa,” said Mthethwa.
“Therefore, athletes that have not earned the status of being national athletes would have to be catered for by their respective provinces.”