Address by Minister Paul Mashatile on the occassion of the 16th Annual BASA Awards
The Chairperson of the Business and Arts South Africa Board, Mr. Kwanele Gumbi
The Chief Executive Officer of BASA, Ms Michelle Constant
The Editor of Business Day, Mr. Peter Bruce
Dr. Pranill Ramchander from Anglo American
Business leaders here present
Members of the media
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Thank you for inviting me to this important occasion; the16th Annual Business and Arts South Africa Awards. As always it is a great pleasure for me to be part of this occasion.
Ladies and Gentlemen, once again this evening, we salute all those businesses, large and small, as well as individuals who continue to make a difference in the world of the arts.
This evening is also about celebrating successful and enduring partnerships between government, business and the arts community.
These partnerships continue to enrich the lives of all South Africans and have benefited the companies that supported them.
Working together over the years, we have succeeded in placing the arts, culture and heritage sector at the center of the national effort to promote social cohesion and the economic empowerment of the people of South Africa.
Our sector is no longer seen as a nice-to-have addition to the ongoing work of socio-economic transformation, but is firmly at the very core of this work.
Our efforts in this regard are acknowledged within our Continent and in the world in general.
At the recent United Nation’s General Assembly Debate on Culture and Development, South Africa was mentioned as one of the countries that have placed culture at the center of the human development effort.
Prior to this, our work was also recognized at the Regional Summit on Women and Youth in the Promotion of Cultural Security and Development in Africa, hosted by the Center for Human Security at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library.
Here at home, the Department of Arts and Culture is now a full participant in the economic cluster of Cabinet. This is in addition to the work we continue to do in the social transformation cluster.
Going forward and in order to sustain the momentum we have built, we must strengthen partnerships among ourselves as stakeholders.
One of the critical partnerships that need strengthening is the one between business, government and the arts community; especially in the area of funding for the arts.
As government, we have put proposals, as part of the review of the Arts and Culture White Paper, aimed at streamlining arts funding and locating it in one funding agency.
This we believe will ensure that arts funding is not only up-scaled but also done in an effective and coordinated manner.
We have also committed ourselves to looking at a variety of incentives to encourage businesses to invest in the arts.
We take this opportunity to applaud the work done by BASA in finding innovative ways of funding the arts in our country.
This includes the partnership between BASA and Middel & Partners which saw the launch of an online programme allowing businesses to channel their Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment socio-economic development contributions, towards arts and culture.
We will continue to look at more innovative ways to encourage private and public sector partnerships in arts funding.
Recently when I was in New York I visited Juilliard; one of the world’s leading Arts Academies.
I was encouraged by the level of private funding for the Academy. This funding was not only in the form of sponsorship but also there was philanthropic funding that supported the Academy.
Also during the South Africa French Seasons 2012/2013, the French were able to attract large private sector funding for their participation in the Seasons.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I look forward to a day when in South Africa we will also have the same level of private funding for the arts as in the cases I have referred to.
Indeed I look forward to stronger partnerships between business, government and the arts community.
The BASA Awards are but one intervention aimed at acknowledging and strengthening these partnerships. We trust that existing partnerships will grow and that new ones will emerge.
Congratulations to all the nominees and winners of this year’s Business and Arts South Africa Awards.
I wish you well in all your endeavors.