Address by Deputy Minister Ntombazana Botha at the launch of the Community Arts Centre Awards

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06 Jul 2007

MEC W Thusi
Councillors from the Ethekwini
Arts Practitioners
Art Centre Managers 
Community at large


Origin of CACs – family units, skills e.g. weaving, passed on from generation to generation.

CACs set up by the British in the 1950s – to teach the natives European arts and craft

CACs during the apartheid era – Centres for political and cultural expression

CACs as space for young people (many displaced since 1976)


After 1994 the purpose of these CACs has been misconstrued or misdirected

With developments that have taken place since 1994 we need to re-focus and direct the work of CACs

CACs should work towards same goals of a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and peaceful country.  

This is not possible if there is hunger, poverty, unemployment and diseases of poverty.

CACs are well located to provide training to equip communities to be able to respond to the challenges.

CACs serve as resource and information centres

The role of the Community

CACs are the responsibility of the community and should be owned by the community

CACs must be located within a community to be accessible to the community

CACs must be community driven/people centered.

Must address the needs of a particular community.

It is not Government that must identify the need, it is the community that must identify its needs  and therefore the need  to establish a CAC

At  IIMBIZO or IZIMBIZO communities raise the very same issue of venue or facilities where they can meet to do craft and other creative work – but Government is not responding appropriately of quickly enough


Many CACs where established with adequate consultation with communities for which they were intended

No proper hand over to communities was done

The facilities are not suitable for the kind of programmes which are to be conducted at CACs (small and inappropriate), e.g. in Mdantsane alone, with a population of approximately 180 000 there is only one CAC

No community-based management structures (governing bodies) were established to run CACs

CACs used as facilities for running projects instead of training programmes

No defined roles for National, Provincial and Local spheres of government

Policies and Programmes

Forum of CACs or Association has met several times to discuss CAC policy

Cannot formulate policy without being guided by the overarching government policy and strategic plans which are based on the needs of the people of this country

Since 1955 we have used the Freedom Charter (an expression of the needs and desires of the people of South Africa) as our guide and developed our indicators against which we measure progress

Appreciate support and guidance received from various countries, especially the Flemish Government who assisted us with policy development, management training for CAC managers and capacity building

The bottom line – CACs need to recognize the rich cultures, creativity and talents in the community and seek to articulate and translate into implementable programmes that will respond to the challenges and needs of the community.

CACs as centres of excellence and awards

Many challenges of a developing nation and a developmental state  viz. building and uniting our previously segregated nation; addressing issues of poverty, unemployment, skills shortage, hunger, diseases, crime, drug and alcohol abuse, degeneration of the social fabric, etc.

To achieve all this CACs need to be properly structured and adequately resourced (not only financially)

Awards are about excellence or striving for excellence

Appropriate timing as we look forward to 2010 Fifa World Cup

More training for projects in Quality Assurance, Pricing, Intellectual Property rights (Copyright, Patents, etc), marketing, entrepreneurship

Role of stakeholders

Primary stakeholder is the community (community to determine programme and governance)

All 3 spheres of government must take responsibility – Local Municipalities for infrastructure; Prov and National for programmes

Municipalities to identify suitable facilities and take responsibility for servicing and maintenance

Ward Councillors , Ward committees and Community Development Workers –  to ensure there is a CAC at least in every ward

All spheres should include CACs in the IDPs and budgets (as part of LED)

CACs awards as incentive

CAC goals (same as government priorities) of halving poverty and unemployment by 2014 through the medium of Arts, Culture and Heritage

ACH is a cross-cutting issue and should be integrated in all our policies and strategies, e.g. reducing crime, healthy lifestyle, correctional and rehabilitation services, etc.

Criteria to be adequately canvassed and understood by all