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Minister Nathi Mthethwa in racism storm – Only whites are getting Covid-19 relief funds

Minister Nathi Mthethwa during the commemoration of Chris Hani at Elspark, Boksburg. Photo: SANDILE NDLOVU

A GROUP of artists has accused Minister Nathi Mthethwa’s Department of Sports, Arts and Culture (DSAC) of racism.

The artists were supposed to work on an international feature film, 'Dreams Of The Moon', but production has been cancelled due to COVID-19.

Nosivuyile Gavini told the SunTeam that they had applied for relief funds on 6 April.

Explained Nosivuyile: “When COVID-19 occurred, we were all cancelled. We were given the same paperwork as proof of cancellation, so we could apply for the relief fund from the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC).

“On 6 April, we applied but I was rejected on the basis of late application. I appealed but got rejected again. I was told my cancellation letter wasn’t signed.

“This surprised me as my white colleagues from the same production house, West Wind, had submitted the same documents and were getting paid.”

She then asked her line producer to sign her cancellation letter.

“I appealed for the second time and was rejected again. This time, they said they couldn’t find the reason to pay me,” Nosivuyile said.

“I’ve continuously written to the DAC but haven’t received any response. I’m aggrieved by this and feel discriminated against on the basis of race.

“I say this because my white colleagues submitted the same paperwork on the same date and were paid.

“But myself and other black colleagues were never paid, despite submitting everything that was needed.”

Another artist, Gift Bilana, who worked for the same production company, said: “I worked as a decorator on this international feature film. We were given the same documents to apply for relief funding. None of the blacks were paid, but all whites were paid.

“There were actually 10 of us in our section and six of us were black and four white. It can’t be a coincident that all the white people are paid and black people aren’t. This is pure racism.”

Gift said their suspicions intensified when they saw the names of their white colleagues on the list of paid people.

“We know the production house did nothing wrong, everything was done transparently and we know we were treated equally, but our own minister, who is black, discriminated against us,” Gift said.

Another artist, Lucy Nkosi, said he also wasn’t paid. Said Lucky: “I didn’t even get a response from the DAC. I also submitted the same documents as my white colleagues.

“We’ve made queries upon queries, but keep getting rejected. We’re beginning to think the money was allocated for a certain race.”

The SunTeam has seen proof of the applications, appeals and queries from the artists.

Also, attempts to get comment from the DAC proved unsuccessful.

This despite acknowledged receipt of the correspondence with the DAC, which failed to honour its promise to reply.

The department had not responded to written questions, which were sent four weeks ago. They also failed to respond to numerous reminders.

– Sun Team

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