Sports Minister McKenzie Investigates Covid-19 Relief Fund Misuse

July 11, 2024
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Pretoria, South Africa – Sports Minister Gayton McKenzie announced his ongoing investigation into incorrect payments made to Covid-19 beneficiaries by the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture (DSAC) for the 2020/2021 fiscal year.

On Wednesday, McKenzie released a list of 3,962 beneficiaries, including stakeholders from sports, arts, TV, film, and creative sectors, who collectively received over R72 million. The exact amount disbursed was R72,036,097.14, with payments ranging from R2,000 to R75,000. These one-time payments were intended to support those affected by lockdown measures, which halted events, TV productions, and sports activities.

McKenzie emphasized the transparency of publishing the list, stating it was not meant to shame recipients but to show government support for artists during the pandemic. “This is public money, and the public must know who received it. DSAC must show they supported artists and expose misuse,” McKenzie tweeted on Thursday.

McKenzie revealed some individuals claimed they never applied for or received money despite being listed. Others not associated with the arts or not from South Africa also benefitted.

IOL Entertainment identified eight recipients of the maximum R75,000, mostly from the entertainment and filmmaking sectors, including socialite Mohale Motaung. The criteria for determining payment amounts remain unclear.

Among sports figures, only 11 out of 3,962 beneficiaries received R20,000, including:

Kevin Lerena (boxing)
Jake Roos (golf)
Jaco Ahlers (golf)
Thando Roto (athletics)
Lyle Rowe (golf)
Ruan de Vries (athletics)
Ruswahl Samaai (athletics)
Stacy Lee Bregman (golf)
Merrick Bremner (golf)
Bridgitte Hartley (canoeing)
Ashleigh Buhai (golf)
McKenzie promised further lists would be released to ensure full transparency and accountability in the allocation of public funds.