The #LightSAred movement has been acknowledged by Nathi Mthethwa, Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture. The movement was established to help the technical production and live events industry, which is in severe financial distress following five months of lockdown and has, to date, received no assistance from the Government.
On 5 August, the industry joined forces and lit more than 500 landmarks and buildings across South Africa red with the aim of eliciting a response from Government, as the industry seems to have escaped the attention of the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture (DSAC) to date.
Sharif Baker of the Technical Production Services Association (TPSA), powered by Southern African Communications Industries Association (SACIA), is the official spokesperson for the #LightSAred campaign and addressed the Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, Minister Nathi Mthethwa on behalf of the #LightSAred movement. ‘We are extremely heartened to have received a response from Honourable Minister Mthethwa, and look forward to immediate engagement with the DSAC to establish a way forward,’ Baker said.
‘We thank you, Honourable Minister, for acknowledging us and sending a representative to our broadcast studio on such short notice. However, let it not be in vain. We deserve your attention. We deserve your service. We look forward to your immediate attention to our plight. Our lives depend on it.’
During a ten-hour live stream of the August 5 event, Baker had the following to say: ‘Honourable Minister, our industry has a long and respected history of world-class stakeholders, leadership and highly-successful and respected events; from business events to media, exhibition, sport and music with cultural diversity. Our industry creates substantial revenues, a great deal of employment and strong cultural and emotional energy for our citizens. However, right now, our industry is on its knees, and if it does not kick-off urgently, many, if not most, of its players will collapse and disappear with traumatic social, financial and economic consequences.’
‘We confirm that the SA Events Council will work closely with Government in the months ahead, but our immediate need is for clarity on the way forward so that we can work hand in hand with authorities to stimulate and get the industry back onto a sound footing. However, Honourable Minister, time is of the essence. As of recent times, we have seen various sectors receive financial support from the Government, and therefore, we would like to request similar assistance.’
The movement requested assistance from Government to realise the following aims:
• Government and financial institutions need to extend financial relief to those who earn a living in the technical production and live events industry until they are permitted to resume work.
• The Government needs to engage with elected leaders within SACIA and the SA Events Council, and provide a platform for their voices to be heard.
• They need immediate relief from the Government by recognising and supporting the Non-Profit Organisations that are trying to sustain destitute members of the technical production and events industry.
• The Solidarity fund has made 10 thousand food or cash vouchers available, and they want to be part of the process of identifying individuals that receive support.