2013/2014 Budget vote speech by the Minister Paul Mashatile at the National Assembly
Deputy Minister, Dr Joe Phaahla
Honourable Speaker, since 2009 our work has been in line with our electoral mandate, guided by the theme; “Working together we can do more”.
Despite the many challenges that still lie ahead, we are satisfied that we have made considerable progress in delivering on our mandate and have laid a solid foundation for the future.
In particular, we have succeeded in placing arts, culture and heritage at the centre of our efforts to heal the wounds of our unhappy past, to build an inclusive society and to support economic growth and the building of sustainable livelihoods.
NATION BUILDING AND SOCIAL COHESION
The 2009 ANC Elections Manifesto, among others, committed this government to building a socially inclusive society.
In line with this commitment, the Department of Arts and Culture has thus far facilitated 110 community conversations throughout the country. More conversations are currently ongoing.
They provide a unique opportunity for us as South Africans to dialogue on the kind of society we seek to build.
In October 2009, we convened a National Social Cohesion Colloquium, where it was reiterated that we are one people, one nation, bound together by a common heritage and a shared destiny.
During the 2010 FIFA World Cup we initiated programmes aimed at using that historic event to build national unity and foster national pride and identity.
These programmes included the Magnificent Fridays campaign, the schools essay competition and our flag in every school campaign.
In order to take forward our work of building an inclusive society, in July 2011, we convened a National Summit on Social Cohesion, in Kliptown the birth place of the Freedom Charter.
Delegates to the Summit recommitted themselves to the goal of building a South Africa that truly belongs to all who live in it; black and white united in their diversity.
They also committed themselves to a plan of action that will, among others, promote social justice, the values of Ubuntu, human rights and equality for all.
They agreed that at the centre of implementing this plan will be our social cohesion advocates, eminent South Africans, drawn from all sectors of our society.
Some of those we appointed are here today in the House, including former Constitutional Court Justice Yvonne Mokgoro; Ms Joan Ramogoshi, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba.
We are confident that our social cohesion advocates will mobilise all sectors of society in consolidating and deepening the progress we have made since 1994 towards building an inclusive society.
20 YEARS OF FREEDOM AND DEMOCRACY
Honourable Members, South Africa will next year complete twenty years as a free and democratic country. This is a milestone that all South Africans should celebrate.
As a build up to that occasion, beginning this year, we will launch a year-long programme that will culminate in the celebrations of twenty years of liberation on the 27th of April in 2014.
Our build up programme will allow us to highlight and celebrate our achievements; to make the point, once more, that South Africa is a better country than it was before our liberation.
Also included in the programme are activities aimed at promoting the National Development Plan; Vision 2030 as our nation’s long term vision; and a basis for collective action and partnerships across society.
Honourable Speaker, we declared 2012 as the Year of Heritage. This we did as an acknowledgement of the centenary of the oldest liberation movement in Africa; the African National Congress.
We identified twenty nine heritage projects, primarily to honour the heroes and heroines of our liberation of struggle.
Most of these projects have been completed or are at an advanced stage of implementation.
These include the opening, last month, of the //hapo museum at Freedom Park, the completion of the iconic Steve Biko Center in Ginsberg and the completion of the first phase of the project to refurbish the homestead of former ANC President O.R Tambo in Mbizana.
We have also built a road linking the Voortrekker Monument and Freedom Park.
The monument commemorating the Matola Raid has now been completed.
A number of graves of our struggle heroes and heroines were upgraded and declared as heritage sites. These include the graves of Robert Sobukwe, Helen Suzman and Steve Biko.
We also renamed the Bloemfontein Airport as Bram Fischer Airport in honour of this struggle icon.
Fellow South Africans one of the biggest achievements in restoring the dignity of our indigenous people, was the return of Troi and Klaas Pienaar, whose bodies were illegally taken to Austria for some scientist research.
We are delighted that these South Africans have now been given a decent burial in the land of their birth.
Equally we are in the process of returning the mortal remains of David Stuurman, a leader of the Khoi people and one of the early freedom fighters who was taken away for imprisonment in Australia, 240 years ago.
Honourable Speaker, we continue to make progress towards the implementation of the Liberation Heritage Route, linking sites and individuals of significance to the South African struggle for liberation, throughout the Continent.
Sites have been identified in Angola, Zambia, Botswana and Lesotho.
Last week we had discussions with the government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, with a view to building a monument at the place where former President Mandela received his military training, in 1962.
We have also made progress in capturing and documenting the correct history of the early wars of resistance as well as our country’s participation in both world wars.
This we have done through the South African Democracy Education Trust (SADET) Project; wherein three volumes documenting this history have already been produced.
We thank the late Professor Bernard Magubane; a great thinker and intellectual, who contributed immensely in ensuring that our history is well documented.
This year also marks hundred years since the Union Building was officially opened.
Despite its history as a symbol of white supremacy, the Union Building is now part of the symbols of our new democratic nation.
In this regard we are proud to announce that we have commissioned the installation of the statue of the founding President of our free and democratic nation; President Nelson Mandela to be placed in front of the Union Building.
NATIVE LAND ACT
Fellow South Africans, as part of marking hundred years of the Native Land Act, the Iziko Museum is hosting an Exhibition, entitled; Umhlaba 1913 to 2013.
We are also working with the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform to document the legacy of the Native Land Act.
THE CREATIVE SECTOR AND CULTURAL INDUSTRIES
The ANC government has always known that the creative and cultural industries are important contributors to the development of our economy and society in general.
It is against this background that working with our stakeholders, we have identified the Arts, Culture and Heritage as the new Mzansi Golden Economy.
We are making progress in the establishment of cultural precincts across the country.
Yesterday we handed over a cheque of R 13 million to kick start the establishment of the Ray Alexander Cultural precinct in Gugulethu.
THE FILM INDUSTRY
Honourable Speaker, last week we unveiled a study on the contribution of film in our economy.
According to this study, the film sector contributes R 3.5 billion annually to our Gross Domestic Product, and provides employment to more than 25 000 people.
We are currently in the process of restructuring the National Film and Video Foundation into a fully-fledged National Film Commission and establishing a Film Fund.
I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all our artists in this sector who have excelled and won awards, on the world stage. Some are here with us today.
They include Ms Florence Masebe who won the best lead role in the film Elelwani at the African Movie Academy (AMA) Awards
We also congratulate the makers of the film Layla Fourie that received the Jury Special Mention Award at the Berlinale International Film Festival.
In the coming months we will unveil plans on how our sector will develop content for television as our country prepares to introduce digital television.
To this end, I have appointed a content task team working with Department of Communications, ICASA, the SABC, CNBC Africa, Multi Choice and the entire television sector to increase local television content.
Honourable Members, music is one of the biggest sectors within the broader creative industries. It is also an important contributor to nation building and social cohesion.
We are disturbed that this important sector continues to face challenges; including piracy, problems with the collection and distribution of royalties, social security for artists and many others.
To respond to some of these challenges I have appointed a task team to address these challenges and report back within three months.
Fellow South Africans, we are proceeding with our plans to establish a National Skills Academy for the Creative Industries, as a centre of excellence.
Detailed plans for the establishment of the academy will be finalized in August this year.
BOOKS AND PUBLISHING SECTOR
We have over the years invested in the growth and development of the Book sector.
We are now in the process of establishing a statutory book council to oversee the sector.
Already the sector is estimated to be worth more than R5 billion and employs an estimated 17 000 people.
We will continue to invest in the development of this sector as part of improving the culture of reading and writing in our society.
We also continue to support young and new writers. This we will do through various platforms and partnerships, including our partnership with the Write Associates, which has now grown to the Continent.
Last year, we passed into law the Use of Official Languages Bill.
This is an important intervention that will go a long way in promoting multilingualism and move us closer to the goal of ensuring parity of esteem for all languages, especially indigenous languages.
Honourable Members, culture is an important ingredient in building relations among people and opening up other opportunities for interaction, especially in areas such as trade, commerce and development support.
Culture has now become the soft power of nations!
In this regard, we have signed cultural agreements with many countries and are currently implementing cultural exchanges.
We are pleased to announce that as per the decision of President Zuma and former French President, Sarkozy, we are now on the second year of implementing the South African French Seasons.
The first year of the Seasons in South Africa was a resounding success.
We are confident that the South African leg in France will also be a success. This will be launched on the 28th of May and will run until December.
We will be taking more than 800 South African artists to participate in events taking place in more than hundred cities in France.
We have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the United Kingdom, and plans are underway to enter into cultural seasons with China, Russia, Angola and Nigeria.
We will also enter into discussions with DIRCO with an intention to appoint cultural attaches in strategic countries where we have diplomatic missions.
FUNDING OF THE ARTS, CULTURE AND HERITAGE SECTOR
To address challenges in our sector, we have decided to align and streamline funding for the sector. This includes working with National Lotteries Board and our funding agencies to ensure maximum funding of our sector.
This proposal will be included in the revised White Paper on Arts and Culture, which we will publish shortly.
Honourable Members, we have made significant progress and laid a firm foundation to bring about a better life for all.
Informed by the National Development Plan, Vision for 2030 we will continue to increase investment in our sector.
I would like to thank Honourable Sunduza and Members of the Portfolio Committee for their rigorous oversight on the work of the Department and its agencies.
I also thank the Director General, Sibusiso Xaba and the entire staff of the Department, the Chairpersons and CEO’s of our institutions and their entire staff.
We also thank all other stakeholders that continue to add value in our work.
It is my honour to present before this House the 2013/2014 Budget Vote of the Department of Arts and Culture.
Ke ya Leboga