CALL TO APPLY: Presidential Employment Stimulus Programme (PESP)

The creative, cultural and heritage sectors are invited to apply for a share of new Presidential Employment Stimulus Programme

The Presidency has made a special employment stimulus programme available to the sector to be disbursed via the National Arts Council and the National Film and Video Foundation. The Presidential Employment Stimulus Programme (PESP) is geared towards employment creation initiatives for artists, creatives, heritage sector workers and cultural workers. This includes (but is not limited to) support to innovation in digitisation efforts for content creation and the dissemination and development of e-commerce systems.

The funding opportunity will take the form of a competitive open call for ambitious, innovative, and creative projects. This stimulus allocation, a portion of which will be managed and disbursed by the NAC and NFVF, will aim to fund projects that will create the necessary infrastructure to have as a spinoff of work opportunities for artists, creatives, heritage and cultural workers across the country – in a sector that has been hard hit by job and income losses during the national lockdown. In particular, says NAC CEO Rosemary Mangope, the programme seeks to encourage innovation in creating and disseminating digital content and using e-commerce in the arts ecosystem.

“With the advent of Covid-19, the NAC has already been funding arts projects that show creativity in responding to the shifts in audience needs and behaviour brought about by the pandemic. This stimulus programme presents another exciting opportunity for the NAC to play a central role in the renewal and reimagination of the creative industries,” she says.

“We are eager to see our sector thrive, and hope this programme will help reignite South Africans’ creative flames to produce excellent work and create jobs, particularly at local level.”

Those in the creative and cultural industries who are eligible to apply for the economic stimulus package include but are not limited to:

  • Cultural practitioners, creatives and heritage workers producing new work in all disciplines
  • Community art workers who facilitate community involvement
  • Art educators working in the formal and informal education sectors
  • Researchers, art historians, librarians, archivists and ethnomusicologists who are working to document new and historical creative output
  • Arts administrators who are tasked with ensuring good governance and those working in sales, marketing and distribution in the industry

Mangope says that while the sector as a whole has been battered by the pandemic and needs support, a special effort will be made to support historically marginalised groups.

The NAC’s portion of the Presidential Employment Stimulus Programme will be managed through two streams:

Stream 1:

Many institutions and organisations in the sector are facing the prospect of job cuts as a result of loss of revenue. Organisations, institutions, SMMES and individuals/sole traders find themselves in a positions where they are struggling to retain their staff compliment. In this call the sector will apply for a wage subsidy to retain employees that they already have on their payroll or on contract.

Closing date of Stream 1: 20 Nov 2020

Announcements STREAM 1: 1 Dec 2020


Stream 2:

This OPEN CALL is aimed at soliciting proposals from the sector that demonstrate opportunities to create WORK in order to get the sector moving and income flowing. The PESP acts here a catalytic injection of income into the economy that enables ambitious proposals that create multiple opportunities for employment and collaboration. These kinds of projects energise the entire value chain and have a multiplier effect. It is essential that the sector dictates what kinds of projects are necessary at this time and so we welcome ideas from the sector. The NAC has taken direction from Treasury and DSAC to assess the proposals and funding requests based on the ambition and merit of the project. As such no threshold to the funding amount applies

Closing date of Stream 2: 27 November 2020

Announcement of Stream 2: Stream 2 will be announced in two sessions, if you apply before 14 November 2020 your project outcome will be known by 1 December 2020. If you apply after 14 November your project outcome will be known by 21 December 2021.

For more information about the arts, culture and heritage disciplines that will be covered, and to apply for the PESP, visit, and

Download this helpful PDF outlining the process: