Relief Fund Provided to South African Athletes

The Department of Sports, Arts & Culture for South Africa confirmed that they’d created a Relief Fund to ensure the livelihood of those impacted by COVID-19. This will apply to individuals in the athletic or artistic community. Those individuals will need a connection to the Department to receive their relief funds. Eligible athletes will receive finances from a 150 Million Rand Fund, which is the equivalent of $8.54 Million. The South Africa Sports Confederation & Olympic Committee agreed that this relief aid best suited these communities. First payments will be released by April 15th.

Athletes generate their revenue entirely from weekly sporting events. Having those weekly venues cancelled for a prolonged period has put an immediate stop to their paycheques. Without this relief fund, they’d eventually become homeless for being unable to pay their monthly bills. The Department is requiring that proof be provided, ensuring that those applying online have the necessary tax information and personal identification to receive funding. Those unable to provide this proof won’t be liable for the relief aid.

Compensation is also being provided to organizers within the Department. They’ll be permitted to offer spreadsheets to online proof, showing which products or services were purchased for their selected sports association. Cross checks will be maintained for proof requirements, with spreadsheets continually being required every month. The DSAC didn’t make specific which percentage of the relief fund is viable to organizers. It’ll be dependent on the resource’s availability, which could be minimal after paying out numerous athletes and coaching staff.

The Backlash

It should be noted that this relief fund applies exclusively to National Athletes, Coaches and Organizers. Those that haven’t received national status are applicable for this program and could face significant fines if applications are submitted. These applications are maintained through automated systems, which can make mistakes and unnecessary prompt approval. Those that don’t have national status and receive unexpected support will either have to pay back that amount or receive criminal charges. The DSAC was forced to implement this protocol after an influx of South African citizens applied for the Government’s relief aid, without them having any prior working experience.