DCAS offers relief options for the cultural, creative and sport sector | Western Cape Government



DCAS offers relief options for the cultural, creative and sport sector

5 May 2020

The regulations related to the national state of disaster and the subsequent lockdown which have limited movement and gatherings of people have had a devastating impact on the arts, culture, heritage and sport sector due to cancellations and postponement of events.

The Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS)has developed relief options for the Cultural, Creative and Sport industries we serve in the province, in addition to the national Department of Sport Arts and Culture (DSAC) options.

Focusing on the Business Continuity and Recovery phases of the fight against the COVID-19 outbreak, the Provincial Relief options also foregrounds two of the three pillars of the national response: Social Relief and Economic Recovery pillars. Aware of the very complex and evolving COVID-19 environment, the relief options target areas of relief which can be achieved quickly focusing on categories where support is most needed and most helpful.

Motivated by Ernesto Ottone, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Culture as he noted, “COVID-19 has brought into stark relief, as crises often do, the necessity of culture for people and communities. At a time when billions of people are physically separated from one another, culture brings us together. It provides comfort, inspiration and hope at a time of enormous anxiety and uncertainty. Yet even as we rely on culture to get us through this crisis, culture is also suffering. Many artists and creators, especially those that work in the informal or gig economy, are now unable to make ends meet, much less produce new works of art. Cultural institutions, both large and small, are losing millions in revenue with each passing day. As the world works to address the immediate danger of COVID-19, we also need to put in place measures to support artists and access to culture, both in the short and long-term”.

Closer to home, the unprecedented actions taken to flatten the curve have resulted in the cancellation or postponement of events, limited opportunities for creatives to make an income especially in the gig and live performance economy and as such a loss of income for creatives along the entire value chain of the Cultural and Creative economy. There is a complete lockdown of museums, galleries, cafes, cinemas and restaurants all of which provide platforms for services in the Arts and Culture sector.

Further to this, reports have informed that the lockdown has resulted in uncertainty among South Africans, particularly when it comes to spending. Even in the recovery phase when the lock down is eased, it is expected that the uncertainty will have an impact on households’ consumption behaviour, particularly willingness to spend on high value goods, events, travel and discretionary spending. Under such conditions consumers will defer major purchase decisions due to the uncertainties for 6-12 months or in a worse case, because of fears of recurrence of the outbreak in the next season, consumers may defer major consumption decisions because of uncertainties for 12- 18 months. Consumption will focus on essential items because of this experience. In response to this, government has come up with a number relief options for various sectors of the economy.

The national government through a statement by the national Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture on 25 March 2020 informed that: 

  • Collecting societies like SAMRO, SAMPRO, IMPRA and CAPASSO have made commitments to pay royalties to members on time.
  • The National  Department of Sports, Arts and Culture (DSAC) has allocated over R150 million to provide the much-needed relief to practitioners in the sector. This will be used to render various forms of support to practitioners during this period, with priority given to artists and practitioners who were already booked by some of the cancelled and postponed events funded by the department, as well as to the legends of the industry.
  • The national department is partnering with the DSAC Playhouses to create live streaming programmes which includes amongst others stand-up comedy, poetry sessions and music.
  • The National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) will offer immediate relief to practitioners in the film industry by prioritising and making payments to beneficiaries that have submitted milestones in the past two weeks on an urgent basis. Beneficiaries who have yet to submit milestones over the next three months will also be paid.
  • As part of the slates programme which benefits young emerging producers, the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) has identified a savings of R5 million from the current fiscal, which will be used as part of the relief programme.
  • The National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) will provide a cash injection of R500,000 to the nine companies currently commissioned by the organisation. This relief will only be contained to the slates currently commissioned by the institution, and would be extended to anyone else in the industry.

Minister Anroux Marais in welcoming the initiative by national government, said, “Granted that the application process and criteria are transparent and managed by an independent body, the bulk of these initiatives announced by the national Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture by their nature cover activities that have a national footprint and not those in provinces which are crucial for the provincial and national GDP. It is therefore important for provinces and in this case the Western Cape Government, to make similar efforts in support of the creative economy given the significant impact that it has on the economy of the province as well as its significance in building a socially inclusive society, a key component to our productivity as a region”.

Our Provincial Relief options are inclusive of the following:

Arts culture and heritage initiatives for which there is a public call for applications:

Event cancellation support

Who Can Apply:

1.      DCAS funded events/project cancellations. The funds in this form of relief can be used for the following:

i.              Towards cancellation fees to artists

ii.             Towards committed funds in relation to production elements of the event – inclusive of artists upfront fees, costume development etc.


2.      Arts Venue* and Production Cancellations:

This also includes (1) Arts Venues and Productions not funded by DCAS and (2) cancelled Western Cape productions scheduled to be presented outside the Western Cape and internationally. The funds in this form of relief can be used for the following:

i.              Towards cancellation fees to artists

ii.             Towards compensation to cover upfront fees to artists

*Examples of arts venues includes theatres, dance venues, live music venues, community art centres, art galleries etc.

2.    Artists/Creatives: The funds in this form of relief are targeted at freelance workers and independent contractors for fees for creatives whose events have been canceled and who have not been paid cancellation fees or have lost income because of the cancellation as a result of the national state of disaster. This is inclusive of session musicians, buskers, visual artists, stage managers and other creatives along the value chain.

3.    Community Arts Education and Training Organisations: The funds in this form of relief could go towards direct costs related to the development and delivery of course/training content.

4.    Humanitarian Relief - Legends Grant: Data from China, where the outbreak began in Wuhan in December, shows that elderly people aged 60 years and above are the most vulnerable to COVID-19. This means that we need to make a special effort to support artists in this age category given that they are disproportionally and negatively impacted by the virus and therefore cannot take risks even after restrictions have been lifted. This also means that they will be the last off the starting blocks and will be kept out of work significantly longer than younger artists after the mandatory lock down period.

Overarching criteria

Applicants must be practicing artists, 18 years of age and older.

Relief Funding is for creatives who do not have a regular salary source and whose sole income source is their creative work.

Relief funding is currently for organisations and individuals based within the boundaries of the Western Cape.

It is specifically for those impacted on for the period March - June 2020.

One application form must be completed per project/event

All relevant documentation requested must be submitted together with application (see checklist)

All applicants will need to be compliant in terms of the legislative requirements.

Further information is available on the Departmental website.

Criteria per category for application

1.    DCAS Funded events/project cancellations

Where a MOA exists and tranche payments have been made or are yet to be made, the following criteria will apply:

a.    Submit documentation that does not deviate from the existing MOA requirements (narrative report, invoices, valid compliance documents etc.).

b.    Supporting documents: e.g. cancellation letters/notices, proof of payments made to artists/participants/service providers etc. involved and proof of contracts and payment due.

c.    If funds were not spent by the time of cancellation, the organisations may apply to repurpose the funds within the project as per the signed MOA.

d.    For approved projects without a signed MOA but with a grant letter, all valid compliance documents and action plan (April – June) should be submitted.

e.    Projects/events that were affected during March (after the State of Disaster Announcement), will also be considered.

2.    Arts Venue* and Production Cancellations (incl. non-DCAS funded venues/ productions):

In order for relief assistance to be considered for cancelled productions/projects, submissions will be evaluated on the following criteria:

Projects/Productions/Arts Training taking place in the Western Cape and using artists based in the Western Cape

Western Cape Productions being presented outside of the Western Cape and using artists based in the Western Cape

Relief will be considered for the period March to June 2020 and for production/training programmes specifically canceled to meet requirements of the national state of disaster;

Proof that the production/training was scheduled during the period of the national state of disaster.

Proof of cancellation.

Artist line-up and contracts or agreements including performance fees.

An Income Statement showing direct costs related to canceled activity.

3.    Artists/Creatives: Freelance workers and independent contractors

Proof of loss of income – should demonstrate that the creative worker was contracted with signed contract; formal letter indicating a standing arrangement with other party, and that the other party will not provide for compensation.

Compliance for organisations: CIPC documents, valid Tax Clearance

Compliance for individuals: Copy of ID, Tax number and tax clearance certificate (if applicable).

Buskers need to have a valid permit from the relevant local authority or a letter of support from the municipality or letter of support establishment where work was undertaken.

Any other information outlined in the application form.

Relief will only apply to the projects/events/productions that have been cancelled.

4.    Humanitarian Relief - Legends Grant

Copy of ID

Must be resident in Western Cape Province.

Must be 60 years or older.

Proof of contractual work impacted between March – June 2020.

Concepts of any new works being produced.

Evidence of training material being developed in specific discipline.

Evidence of collaborative work – if any.

Application forms are attached and can be found here.

Applications should be emailed to:  DCAS.ReliefFunding@westerncape.gov.za

The deadline for applications is 19 May 2020 at 16h00.

The impact of lockdown regulations on the Western Cape sport and recreation sector:

The COVID-19 pandemic has engulfed the world and has not only had a profound effect on public health, society and the economy as a whole, but has also inflicted mayhem on the sport & recreation sector. In an attempt to curb the spread of the virus, professional and amateur leagues across the world have been suspended indefinitely on advice from their respective governments to avoid large numbers of persons gathering in one particular venue.

Economically the sector has suffered with many events having been cancelled. Approximately 30 events across the Province have been cancelled inclusive of conditional grant and federation funded events. Currently no sport & recreation events are taking place across the Province.

The national Department of Sport, Arts & Culture (DSAC) have made available R150 million for allocation to sports, arts and culture bodies affected by the COVID-19 Lockdown. The criteria applicable to sports bodies is strict and limited to applications for National and International athletes who are on the SASCOC OPEX (Operation Excellence) programme, which only caters for athletes who are in the Top 8 ranking in the world.

Provincial major sporting events have been impacted severely, to name only two, the Two Oceans Marathon and the Knysna Oyster Festival were cancelled.  Provincial Trials for the Winter Games, Indigenous Games, Golden Games and leagues & festival support for Club Development have been adversely impacted. Presently, no organised sport & recreation activities of any nature is currently underway in the Western Cape Province.

 Provincial Sport Relief Fund Criteria:

In the same way as the cultural affairs chief directorate has, the Sport and Recreation chief directorate has also made provision for a provincial relief fund. An important aspect of providing financial assistance is ensuring that there are objective criteria in place to evaluate and confirm the following:

  • Confirmation of the financial impact per sport federation, structure, recreation entity;
  • Validation of any loss that is being claimed;
  • Use of previous events to quantify loss of income;
  • Proof that sport federations and recreation entities were earning an income and are now out-of-pocket;
  • All sport federations are to be in good standing with the Western Cape Provincial Sport Confederation.
  • Evidence that athletes who were confirmed to participate at events that have now been cancelled or postponed due to COVID-19, and whose income is generated solely by participation in that event. These events may include major road races and events where the athlete may be eligible for an appearance fee;  
  • Coaches and technical support personnel who work with athletes whose sporting events have been cancelled or postponed due to COVID-19, and make their earnings solely from these events. Evidence of earnings must be provided; 
  • Athletes on the Department’s High Performance Programme and/or who are preparing for the 2021 Olympics & Paralympics and are hopefuls for team South Africa selection for those and other major International Championships and events. These athletes must not be on SASCOC’s OPEX Programme as specific criteria will be set here. 

The application process:

The criteria for accessing this support, the identification of beneficiaries and the mechanism through which the relief fund will be managed and finalised in consultation with the Western Cape Provincial Sport Confederation. Stringent criteria and audit/checking processes will be put in place taking the above factors into consideration. A committee comprising officials from the Department, Western Cape Provincial Sport Confederation and independent entities will be put into place to manage the applications and the allocation of funding from the Western Cape Provincial Relief Fund. 

Application forms are attached and can be found here.

a) Sport federation applications must be submitted to Mrs. Crystal Pather on Crystal.Pather@westerncape.gov.za and Recreation applications to Mr. Philasande Macwili on Philasande.Macwili@westerncape.gov.za

Deadline for applications is 19 May 2020 at 16h00.

The Department will also request the DSAC to provide the Department with a database of the Western Cape athletes, federations and entities that have applied for the National Relief Fund and where these applications may not qualify for funding from national.

Minister Anroux Marais said, “With the above in mind, we have a responsibility to protect the well-being of sport federations and recreation entities and will not hesitate to take a safety-first approach to our operations over the coming months. We will continue monitoring the situation, and we are committed to work with our partners in ensuring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on sport federations, recreation entities, affected events and programmes will be minimized to ensure sustainability of the Sector. We are therefore grateful that R1 million was made available from the National Conditional Grant to minimize the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic”.

Covid-19 related internal DCAS programmes and interventions

The department of Cultural Affairs and Sport has continued to be active during the national state of disaster with staff working from home. In addition to the relief effort focusing on the cancellations in the sector are interventions to support business continuity as well as stimulate the sector in the recovery phase.

Annual Arts Funding Initiative

The annual call for arts funding closed on 6th December 2019. At the time of the lockdown the department was about to commence the adjudication process. The department is mindful of the pressures that organisations are under during this time and to this end has continued to work on the adjudication process under the limiting lockdown conditions. The adjudications were concluded over the last two weeks. DCAS will announce the outcome of the adjudication process as soon as the outcomes are approved and thereafter funds will be transferred to successful organisations.

Commission of new digital works and content

This is a targeted programme focused on artists which have come through DCAS programmes over the last three years in Music, Dance, Drama, Literature and Fine Arts. Content must be COVID-19 related including spreading messaging on combating the spread of COVID-19. Types of projects to be supported:

  • Live streaming content/performances, podcasts, animation, documentaries, Online Viewing Rooms or Exhibitions.
  • Arts Training materials/tutorial on DCAS platforms
  • Development of scripts for Theatre performances
  • Literature and poetry
  • Scheduled for April to June 2020.
  • Radio promotion

Radio Promotion of SA Artists* who have lost work as well as those who have upcoming shows which will benefit from promotion given that it will take time for people to come out in their number post Covid-19. By profiling and keeping arts relevant when the pandemic ends, the arts stand a chance to be heard translating into sales and revenue generation. 

This intervention should also seek to promote the playing of more South African music in general.

*Inclusive of actors, poets, dancers, visual artists, musicians, script writers, song writers etc.

Support for museums

Cultural institutions, both large and small, are losing significant amounts in revenue with each passing day. Museums in the Western Cape have risen to the challenge and entered the virtual space of publicly accessible, timed, online exhibitions which is new territory for many of them. Examples of these are the ‘Ceres’ly Positive’ online initiative by the Togryers Museum in Ceres as well as an online exhibition on YouTube; and a similar one from the Huguenot Memorial Museum to name a few.  While these exhibitions ensure that the public still has access to the museum during the lockdown and position the Museum well for visitors during the recovery phase, it does not take care of the lost opportunities in revenue from people visiting museums (entrance fees) as a result of the lockdown.

A direct call for applications will be made to affiliated museums in the Western Cape museums as well as through SAMA (South African Museums Association) and ICOM South Africa (International Council of Museums) with clear guidelines.


  • Museums must provide proof of average monthly income derived from visitor entrance fees through latest audited annual financial statements.
  • Museum must have existed for the past 12 months prior to the start of the national lockdown. 
  • Museums must be affiliated to the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport in terms of the Museums Ordinance No. 8 of 1975 or subscribe to the ICOM code of conduct.
  • Increasing expenditure on local content of library materials

With the coronavirus steadily spreading around the globe, the first sign of things to come was the postponement of international and national book festivals and with some of those usually in September unsure if they will continue this year. While South African Publications Network (SAPnet) reported an 8,6% decline in sales in week 12 of 2020, some bricks-and-mortar booksellers saw a more significant drop in the first two weeks of March. Bargain Books reported a double-digit decline in sales over this period, with shoppers steering clear from malls (SA Booksellers Association). This will have a huge impact on the writers and the entire literature value chain that rely on these sales for an income. In order to further our support to South African literature, we will increase the DCAS spend on South African content from 60% of the book budget to 65% in the current financial year.

Gig support in the recovery phase

This is a stimulus effort is to reignite the gig economy during the Recovery Phase and feeds into the third pillar of the national response, Economic Recovery. Because many working artists simultaneously work in the ‘gig economy,’ during this time these individuals are struggling to make ends meet and support their families. The effort is therefore artists focused. Support will go towards venue related costs for select venues for artists e.g. sound and venue booking. In instances where venues have infrastructure a contribution will go towards artists fees. This will be implement through an implementing agent. Through a partnership with municipalities where possible, strategically located venues will be targeted to ensure that as many areas in the Western Cape as possible are covered.  


This relief option will prioritise artists that have had their gigs canceled during the period of the national state of disaster with no Cancellation fees.

Artists will be required to submit a proposal (maximum 5 pages) outlining the concept of the gig, the arts discipline/s involved, target audience, venue options with a preferred venue highlighted. 

Other COVID-19 Relief Options in the sector:

To support creatives and creative organisations in the visual art sector and the creative and cultural space outside of government, below is a set of resources which may be of assistance (source - https://vansa.co.za/art-info/artright/coronavirus-covid-19-resources/): 

Artist Relief Project: Initiative run by Artly World Nonprofit offering short term relief and long-term assistance for artists, musicians and performers impacted by event cancellations and venue closures

Business and Arts South Africa Artist Relief Grant: BASA will consider applications from individual artists for once-off, short-term financial aid for COVID-19-related medical care and/or prescription medicines. The aid can also be used to offset the loss of income due to the cancellation of confirmed engagements, because of the nationwide lockdown or other emergency measures.

Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation Emergency Covid-19 Fund: Cultural and artistic sector, emergency support to artists or artistic production entities that have seen their projects cancelled or in areas to which the Foundation commonly attributes support

Field of Vision Documentary Freelancer Relief Fund: International funding opportunity for freelancers involved in documentary filmmaking

Format Photographer Fund: Photographers facing financial difficulties due to Covid-19.

Hear My Voice Poetry Relief Fund: Hear My Voice, is a non-profit poetry organization based in Tshwane (South Africa). The fund is aimed at providing help to South African freelance poets who have unwillingly forfeited income from canceled events and possible bookings due to covid-19. The fund will go towards paying poets a meagre honorarium for partaking in a series of live-streamed readings and performances. It will further provide poets who want to host their own live-streamed shows the resources to do so by providing access to a paid version of Zoom which has no time restrictions and offers streaming capabilities to Facebook and various other social platforms. All events will be streamed on the Hear My Voice and the respective poet's Facebook pages:
The fund will avail R1 000 per poet for their live-streamed performance that is curated by Hear My Voice, alternatively the poet can choose to do their own live streamed event using our platform and charge an access fee or solicit donations.

Patreon Artist Fund: The grant program is open to any creator, anywhere in the world, who is being demonstrably impacted by the COVID-19 situation.

Small Business Relief COVID-19 Fund: financial assistance for small to medium sized business.

South African Banks Repayment Relief: Offering various interventions including loan and debt repayment holidays for qualifying customers.

South African Filmmakers Relief Fund: The main aim of this non-profit organisation is to raise funds to not only help struggling creatives to keep on creating content on a small scale, like music videos and short films for free, but primarily to help pay the salaries of every single person working on a shoot. These smaller projects will not only keep our artists alive, but will continue to support other struggling elements such as casting agents and gear rental companies. Lower budget productions with smaller skeleton crews also pose significantly lower health risks. To further ensure the safety of everyone involved, we will partner with a medical team for every shoot to provide us with not only health and safety guidelines, but also frequent check-ups.

South Africa Future Trust: Oppenheimer Foundation provides financial assistance to employees of South African SMMEs who are at risk of losing their jobs or will suffer a loss of income because of COVID-19 and payroll support to companies with a turnover of less than R25 million.

Sukuma Relief Programme: Rupert Foundation and Remgro fund for businesses affected by Covid-19 (*Note: temporarily closed however still accepting grant proposals to the value of R25 000 for qualifying sole proprietors).

Tourism Relief Fund: adjacent industry to the arts - galleries and organisations can apply as “Attractions”

Youth Business Fund: A relief fund initiative of the Youth Chamber of Commerce and Industry South Africa to assist young people in business who are already affected by Covid-19. The fund assists with labour costs, operational costs etc.

The Vulnerable Artist Fund: The fund is specifically for artists facing situations where they are unable to support themselves and their families during this period in South Africa.

SAFE Relief Application: South Africa fund for entertainers. SAFE is a Non-Profit Organisation galvanising the entertainment industry by creating positive, wide reaching initiatives together and delivering heartfelt support to our most severely affected people.

Media Enquiries: 

Stacy McLean

Spokesperson for the Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Anroux Marais

083 504 1171

Tania Colyn

Head of Communication for the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport


076 093 4913