Budget vote by Minister Pallo Jordan at National Assembly

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18 May 2005

Madam Speaker
Ministers and Deputy Ministers
Honourable Members
Ladies and Gentlemen

Patrice Lumumba, in his last letter before his execution in 1961, said: “Africa will write its own history, and it will be, to the north and to the south of the Sahara , a history of glory and dignity”.

These are powerful words, written by a man who believed absolutely in the freedom, prosperity and dignity of the African continent. His words, and those of many who followed, challenge us. We are a continent grappling with a colonial past, but spurred on by a bright future. Here, South Africa is fortunate to have had more than a decade of peace and prosperity and, as the custodian of the collective memory of South Africans, the Department of Arts and Culture takes Lumumba's challenge literally.

In September last year and April this year I went on an imbizo campaign. The message that came across from the people of this country was that although we face many challenges, government policies are on course.

Our task as a Department is to enhance the development of the arts community through the development of physical and social infrastructure, organisations and people, and the preservation and promotion of culture and heritage.

It is important to note that this year our total allocation is less than the budget for 2004/2005, but that it will increase again over the remaining Medium Term Expenditure Framework years . The capital transfers for the Freedom Park project have been revised, and we therefore have a more accurate projected expenditure on the project. The first phase of the project, the provision of basic infrastructure and the development of a garden of remembrance, was completed in March 2004. The second phase will begin in October 2005, with the building of a museum and interpretative centre.

A large proportion of the Department's budget is dedicated to supporting and developing institutional infrastructure in order to showcase, restore and preserve our heritage for future generations.

The Department funds six playhouses tasked with the responsibility of transforming and becoming accessible to all communities. In the past year the Department contributed an amount of R89,140 million so that these institutions could achieve their objectives.

Altogether, the performing arts institutions will receive a budget of just over R97,685 million, and the combined budget of the declared cultural institutions will be more than R237 million. The National Arts Council budget will be just over R47,9 million this year. PanSALB will receive R26,2 million, the National Film and Video Foundation R24,609 million, and the National Heritage Council R17,4 million.

Creating a shared vision between these associations and ourselves is one of our broader policy objectives. Improving governance at these institutions is a major priority area this year. We have appointed new representative boards at the playhouses to ensure more effective management and overall good governance.

We have registered our intent with the National Treasury to conduct a feasibility study into the infrastructure requirements for the archiving of electronic documentation. Given the rapidity of technological advancement, it is important that where we invest we do so wisely. We will be refurbishing core infrastructure at the National Archives to ensure alignment with international standards and our own security and archival requirements.

Fundamental components of this very large portfolio are the development agencies, statutory bodies established over the past 10 years. These organizations, some hardly a year old, were established to transform and redress the injustices of the past. In their hands we have placed the responsibility of developing arts, culture and heritage by providing financial resources, research, policy and training opportunities to cultural practitioners across the entire spectrum of the arts. The past 10 years have seen steep increases in the budgets for these institutions and the trend continues this year.

Institutions are beginning to play a prominent and relevant role in the communities in which they are situated by addressing both local and national issues. They are becoming places where local communities meet on various social matters.

In interacting with our institutions, we are ensuring that their work takes cognisance of national strategic priorities such as nation building, national reconciliation, social cohesion and the development of a new South African identity. The Department is encouraging institutions to embark on creative strategies for a sustainable audience base in the black community. The Nelson Mandela museum is a good example in this regard. Visitors to the museum are a healthy mixture between locals, South Africans and foreigners, with South Africans and learners making up the majority. We would like to see this pattern reproduced at all our museums.

As a World Heritage Site, the Robben Island Museum has received an additional once-off allocation of R35,5 million. The funds will be used primarily to assist with the management and maintenance of such an important national asset. Robben Island Museum , as one of the defining symbols of our democracy, is one of the premier World Heritage Sites in South Africa . With the recent appointment of a new CEO we are confident that a proper management plan will be implemented to assure its status.

South Africa has submitted a proposal that Makapan's Valley in Limpopo be considered and included on the World Heritage List. The site provides evidence of fire-making tools by ancient inhabitants, and human fossils have been discovered. If the proposal is accepted, this will bring the number of South African sites on the List to seven.

I have just approved a process of establishing a panel to assist in the development of a national strategy for the collection, preservation and promotion of living heritage in South Africa . The panel will consist of practitioners and people who deal with indigenous knowledge systems and other forms of living heritage.

In addition, a national consultative forum is planned for September, Heritage Month, at which legislators, managers, practitioners and experts in various aspects of living heritage will discuss a national framework for the collection, preservation and promotion of living heritage. The national strategy will culminate in the development of a living heritage policy, which will provide a regulatory framework for these matters.

We are provincialising archival functions and creating provincial heritage resource agencies to capacitate this level of government. Provincial heritage resource agencies, in particular, will assist in clearing the backlog relating to the allocation of heritage permits and thereby enhance service delivery.

Government's policy on naming places is based on the South African Constitution, which recognizes and affirms the heritage, cultures and languages of all South Africans and emphasizes the promotion and protection of the previously marginalized indigenous languages of South Africa .

The standardization, changing and correcting of place names should be seen within the broader context of the transformation of the heritage sector of South Africa , so that the names of places where we live reflect the demographics of such areas and the heritage and languages of the majority of the residents of those cities, towns and villages. The process of place names standardization must be seen in the context of the Truth and Reconciliation Recommendations as symbolic reparations.

The language research and development centres are implementation agencies for the National Language Policy. Last year we spent R9 million establishing nine centres to develop our indigenous languages. The centres are hosted primarily at tertiary education institutions, and this year will see us expanding the capacity of these centres with the appointment of additional personnel and the implementation of various projects.

In the 2004/5 financial year, the Department has spent over R10 million in rolling out the Telephone Interpreting Service for South Africa , commonly known as TISSA. The project currently employs about 60 full-time staff, and this number is set to increase in the middle of 2005. The people employed by the project include interpreters, project managers and call centre operators. TISSA will make South Africa a truly, functionally multilingual country, because it focuses on oral communication, the most common form of communication in all spheres of human interaction.

One of the most exciting projects is a pilot aimed at developing literature in our indigenous African languages. R2 million has been dedicated to this project, which will work with associations of writers across the country to identify new writers and nurture their talent.

About R1 million will be used to stage a national literature exhibition. Lifetime achievers are being identified and will be awarded prizes in recognition of their efforts to promote literature in all 11 official languages. The collected works of literature will be taken to the language museum sections of the language research and development centres, where researchers will continue collecting materials and documenting oral literature. The centres will facilitate the publishing of new material and the translation of existing literature into other languages. Each centre has budgeted R250 000 for this project.

The process of reconstituting the board for the National Library of South Africa for the period 2006 to 2009 will commence in this financial year. Blindlib received a special grant of R500 000 from the Department to initiate a library management system and invest in an online catalogue for blind people to access the library holdings. An additional amount of R400 000 was granted to Blindlib to effect multilingualism and cultural transformation.

The Department of Arts and Culture has established book clubs to promote the culture of reading and writing in all languages among youth through the appointment of local coordinators and the establishment of youth book clubs in 13 community arts centres, two in nodal areas, Mdantsane and OR Tambo.

The Department is utilizing community arts centres as focal points for arts and culture to make an impact at the local level and ensure effective service delivery to our communities. There are about eight centres in the Integrated Sustainable Rural Development Programme nodes and four in the Urban Renewal Programme nodes.

Successful local projects took place in many community arts centres. For example, the Department of Arts and Culture funded the Mdantsane music school equipment as a contribution to the local urban renewal programme at an amount of R163 000. The Department has contributed R500 000 for the establishment of a community arts centre in Jagersfontein; R78 000 for the purchase of industrial sewing machines for a women's group at the Queenstown centre; R78 000 for a women's sewing project in Sekhukhuneland; R168 000 for a women's weaving project at Ingwe; R100 000 for the Mtubatuba craft project; and R168 000 for silkscreen industrial equipment at Mdantsane.

The Department facilitated the establishment of the National Federation of Community Arts Centres in 2003 in order to promote access to service delivery. The centres now have a single, representative umbrella organisation, which gives voice to the centres' needs at national and provincial level.

A lack of organizational density and broad representation in the cultural sector continues to hamper consultation, planning and implementation. Starting this year with priority sectors, we will be establishing national consultative forums in the craft, visual arts, technical production services, music and books and publishing subsectors.

The past five years have seen fundamentally important developments in the education and training environment. Through the National Skills Development Strategy, learners are being provided with skills critical to sustaining arts and culture, and we will continue to be a part of this process.

In keeping with the focus on developing people, the Department has allocated just over R3 million towards its Language Bursary Scheme. In 2004, 26 graduates received funding to complete their postgraduate programmes. Through the Scheme we hope to improve the pool of indigenous language professionals and encourage South Africans to become involved in language as a career.

2005 will see the Mali archivists, who are part of the project to preserve the Timbuktu Manuscripts, back in South Africa for the final training session. This project has created close ties between professionals and the governments of South Africa and Mali . There is a government-wide programme engaging the two countries, including the Department of Trade and Industry.

The Investing in Culture Programme has strategically supported community development and empowerment projects in the following sub-sectors: Craft, Film and Video, Design, Archives, Research and Development (Archival Paper), Heritage and Arts in Society. The funding allocation per province is as follows:

Gauteng R3m; Eastern Cape R12.4m; Western Cape R5.3m; Northern Cape R3m; Limpopo R4m; Mpumalanga RR3.4m; Free State R800 000; North West R3.7m; Kwa Zulu Natal RR8.1m. The allocations total R8.1m.

These projects are the first steps towards the Department's delivery on Government initiatives, that is, to create sustainable jobs, empower and train people, transfer skills and eradicate poverty.

To ensure the continued development of the domestic and international markets for local cultural products, we will continue to support industry-based initiatives such as the South African Music Week, the Moshito Conference, Sithengi, the Design Indaba, Fashion Week and the National Craft Imbizo. We are planning to relocate the Beautiful Things Craft Exhibition, which was first staged at the World Summit in 2002 to Soweto . Among other things, this move is aimed at maximizing marketing opportunities provided by the Soweto tourism market. The National Craft Imbizo will be presented in the North West Province as part of the Provincial Expo whilst SA Music Week will now have a provincial focus as opposed to being staged in Gauteng .

It is our objective to be innovative in bridging the gaps between the First and Second Economies, so as to realize the full potential of arts and culture to contribute to the economy of South Africa . Fundamental to this will be an exercise to map the activities in both economies for a fuller understanding of the implications for implementation. This is a collaboration between South Africa and the United Kingdom , where a similar project was implemented successfully.

The value of culture is not only in employment creation or income generation. The arts have an unlimited potential to improve lives, change behaviours and shape the future of a new South Africa . In these efforts, our activities focus on youth development, gender empowerment and reasonable accommodation for people with disabilities. Our programme is a broad one, covering everything from moral regeneration to offender rehabilitation. In partnership with the Department of Correctional Services, we are currently running a pilot programme with four prisons. We are expanding this initiative and will have a public launch later this year. On 3 December 2005, International Disability Day, we will celebrate the abilities of artists with disabilities.

This coming financial year will see programmes to encourage the youth to nurture our unique heritage and identity. For example, in partnership with the Department of Education, we will be implementing a project called “A Flag in Every School” which aims to promote and provide education guidelines and protocol in respect of this national symbol.

The year started on an excellent note with the hosting of a Children's Art Festival that provided a space for young artists to express their talents. It also included the historic unveiling of arts repatriated through our homecoming project.

South Africa is taking its rightful place on the world stage.

We will continue to be an important role player in the development of the Draft Convention on Cultural Diversity. This year Professor Kader Asmal will lead a negotiating team in discussions with various experts as part of the UN negotiating processes. It is envisaged that a revised draft of the Convention will be tabled at the UN General Assembly in October this year.

During the first quarter of 2006, the DAC, in partnership with UNESCO Commission of South Africa will be hosting the Africa and the Diaspora Conference on Cultural Diversity and the protection of Social Cohesion for Sustainable Development.

Our international relations portfolio maintains numerous cultural agreements that facilitate the exchange of dialogue, creative works and ideas between creators. This year we will welcome Ghana , Mali , Gabon , Ethopia , Burkina Faso , Benin , Greece , Norway and Peru into the fold.

Memory of the World is a UNESCO programme that calls on all of us to record and preserve our archival and documentary heritage. I have endorsed the establishment of the Memory of the World National Committee, which will be assisting me in approving all historical and rare collections that exist in our country. These collections will be enlisted in a national database and then placed on the UNESCO's Memory of the World Register.

We are participating in the AICHI World Expo in Japan from April to September, using the opportunity to promote tourism and investment through culture. The second India-Brazil-South Africa Ministerial Trilateral Commission will start with a music and dance festival in November in Brazil , followed by a conference on audio-visual art forms in India . South Africa will host a conference on indigenous knowledge systems at the beginning of 2006. In addition, we will continue to foster ties with Cuba to learn all we can from that country's experience in the development and training of cultural practitioners.

The arts, culture and heritage sector is adding to an already formidable list of prestigious international events hosted in South Africa . We will be hosting the 29th session of the World Heritage Committee in Durban in July this year. As host, South Africa will be expected to articulate the strategic issues pertaining to heritage development in Africa and take a central role in the development of a global strategy that will, among other things, maximize the potential of heritage to contribute to sustainable development. The Department has received an additional allocation of R5 million for the organization of this event.

As a follow-up to implementing the SADC Pretoria statement, DAC, in partnership with Namibia will be hosting the SADC Ministers of culture Colloquium in October this year in Windhoek .

We have also agreed to host a summit of African filmmakers as part of our efforts to support the Nepad process. The aim of the summit will be to create opportunities for dialogue between film and policy makers in Africa , evaluate our alignment with international conventions and other development frameworks, and begin the process of drafting an African Convention on Audio-Visual Collaboration which will be tabled at the African Union.

Film is seldom regarded as part of our heritage, but when our generation is gone, our films will continue to tell our stories and show our children how we saw the world. 2004 was a wonderful year for the South African film industry. Our films and filmmakers received Oscar nominations and numerous gold and silver awards from festivals all over the world. Through the National Film and Video Foundation the Department supported many of these films, and we can be justifiably proud of our achievements. In fact, we have much to be proud of, and I would like to invite all of you to visit our Sound and Video Archives, part of the National Archives in Pretoria , to take an historical tour of South African film.

In her novel The Temple of my Familiar , Alice Walker has one character caution another with the following words:

“Keep in mind always the present you are constructing. It should be the future that you want.”

The budget presented today is a budget for the development of the arts, culture and heritage sector, both for today and for the future. We are writing our own history, in our own languages and in our own way. This budget speaks to our wish to preserve, foster and develop culture and to create an arts and culture sector that is open to all.

Thank you.