Entertainment-Online.co.za makes a plea for support from Government

- April 2020

Entertainment Online

29th of April 2020

Department of Sports, Arts and Culture.
Via Email: DSAC.covid19@dac.gov.za
Queen Victoria St, Cape Town City Centre,
Cape Town, 8001

Dear Sir / Madam.

I represent an agency that has operated for well over a decade and been responsible for generating a pay-out valued at millions of Rands to South African artists and entertainers. At any given time, www.entertainment-online.co.za promotes around 800 acts & shows too local and international clients. I share this link to encourage you to view the profiles and be reminded of the types of talent our country has produced and for whose sector I operate within.

While I appreciate the initiative associated with the application form with file name ‘ARTS AND CULTURE SECTORS | COVID -19 RELIEF APPLICATION FORM, to be sent to DSAC.covid19@dac.gov.za’ it is unfortunately simply not enough. Not by a long way. The timeline in place as detailed on: https://www.dac.gov.za/content/z-relief-plan-department-sports-arts-and-culture-dsac was not reasonable.

South African artists and entertainers by nature are a giving and cheerful people, and for this reason, even before COVID -19, they have, in general, been taken advantage of by many. While some work has been done over recent years, they still do not have a voice which helps address their rights, needs and interests. They do not protest or point fingers. Their very essence prevents them from engaging in disputes and fights. This does not mean they, and those that work in the sector, do not suffer. The lock down and ban on events because of COVID-19, as per directive of Government, has essentially resulted in damages, loss of all income. I support the Government’s stance and action related to COVID -19, but if a persons’ ability to earn a living is denied or prohibited through a Government directive, Government must not abandon those who now cannot put food on the table, pay bills, or cover their child’s medical needs. Artists and many in the sector work for themselves. They cannot apply for UIF or use any of the other benefits set up. Yet, we pay PAYE, we pay VAT. My company and similar agencies pay tax. We contribute towards government income.

Government must offer immediate and substantial relief to all members of this industry or many will be subjected to destitution. Within this letter is an exact figure on what our office invoiced in the year 2019 directly related to events. I seek financial relief for a percentage of these funds due to the ban on events in our sector and our loss of income.

In addition, our office would like an industry related relief fund for Entertainers, Actors, Entertainment Agencies, NPOS (in the sector) and other related professionals with a Rand Value of not less than 50 000 000 ZAR to start with. This fund needs to be dispersed through a regulated application process that does not prejudice or favour. This fund needs to be replenished and continue to run until the ban on events and level of lock down allows us all to resume operations and again make a living.

Please consider my requests and revert within 7 days. Our sector should have received support without having to grovel, and in many ways, we are absolutely desperate. South Africa has proven it can take the lead in the crisis, now can it show that it is one of the few countries that cares for us as well. Please do not forsake us.

Entertainment Online

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline

www.entertainment-online.co.za, division of SA Online