Budget Vote of the Department of Arts and Culture, National Council of Provinces
Ladies and Gentlemen:
We deliver our Budget Vote to you at a time in our history as a country and a nation where we have commemorated 15 years of democracy. We have also participated in our 4th national democratic elections that have ushered in a new administration.
Only last week we also marked 54 years since the Congress of the People met in Kliptown with people from all walks of life gathered together to adopt the Freedom Charter. Today the Freedom Charter is part of our heritage and part of our political culture and in our work we remained guided by the fundamental principles that ‘the People Shall Govern’ and that ‘the Doors of learning and Culture shall be opened.’
The decades have taught us that the advancement of our society depends on our culture remaining rooted in the realities of our people, in our daily lives, in our struggle and in victories.
As part of a common national effort, the Department of Arts and Culture will do its part to create access to a rich and productive cultural life for our youth and all our people.
We have already begun to intensify our work in promoting youth participation in programmes related to the advancement of our culture and heritage and the popularisation of our national symbols.
Fifteen years into our democracy our task remains to ensure the full equality of our people, to ensure equality between men and women, to bridge the divide between rural and urban, between rich and poor.
At the centre of our national effort is a transformation agenda to ensure that there shall be Arts for All and that opportunities exist for every citizen to benefit from the knowledge and power that come out of arts, heritage and culture.
As part of our efforts to bring the arts to all our people, we shall continue to ensure that community libraries are built in all our communities.
The Department of Arts and Culture coordinates the implementation of the community libraries recapitalisation programme in partnership with provinces.
As well as extensions and upgrades in some places, new libraries have been established in Kwaggafontein, Mpumalanga; Hekpoort, Mogale City; Mkhuhlu, Bushbuckridge; Kamaqhekeza, Nkomazi Municipality and at Morgenzon in Gert Sibande Region.
In this financial year, we are planning the construction of libraries in Langa in the Western Cape, Mdantsane and Mount Ayliff in the Eastern Cape, Mbazwana in KwaZulu Natal and Thulamela and Fetakgomo in Limpopo. In the Northern Cape we are rolling out container libraries to remote rural areas.
This year the South African National Library for the Blind is 50 years old and we are extending the provision of Braille literature to community libraries.
A new state-of-the art National Library of South Africa building has been completed and opened.
We shall also support the formation of book clubs at all community libraries to encourage a culture of reading.
Through the National Library of South Africa, we have reprinted 24 titles of classics in African languages that have been distributed to libraries throughout the country.
We are awarding language bursaries to 90 students in this year to help build capacity in the language profession.
The Library Transformation Charter initiated by the National Council for Library and Information Services and the Department will be finalised in 2009.
The Department will introduce a National Community Libraries Bill to set the framework for norms and standards in the provision and regulation of community libraries and information services.
Investing in Culture
Through its ‘Investing in Culture’ programme, the Department provides empowerment opportunities for unemployed people through skills development, training, and job creation.
To date this programme has funded 394 projects which have produced 10 938 job opportunities since 2005, with women, youth and differentially abled people constituting 43%, 37% and 4% of the total number and with 70% of the projects in rural areas.
In the second phase of this Extended Public Works Programme the aim is to produce 4000 job opportunities and to identify projects that can become viable co-operatives and SMMEs.
We are partnering with the Department of Trade and Industry in registering co-operatives and participating in national and international exhibitions including the Mzansi stores.
We are supporting initiatives that could contribute to high impact job creation in the near future including translating and editing job opportunities for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, digitization of local content and the development of tour guides in South African heritage sites.
Women in the Arts
Sustainable arts and culture development also mean sustaining the meaningful participation of women in the arts.
We shall set up a Gender Focal Unit in the Department in order to mainstream gender and women’s empowerment programmes in the Department and guide our Institutions.
In August this year as part of National Women’s Month commemorations, we shall declare the graves of our great women freedom fighters - Lilian Ngoyi and Helen Joseph – a national monument.
In March next year we shall hold the first Dulcie September memorial lecture at the University of the Western Cape dedicated to honouring her role in promoting human rights.
We shall continue to look at more concrete ways of recognizing the important contribution of women in our communities and in the liberation struggle, through awards (Mosadi wa Konokono) women’s museums and women’s monuments.
Sarah Bartmann Centre of Remembrance
In the past year, we launched the Sarah Bartmann Centre of Remembrance Architectural Competition in Hankey, in the Eastern Cape. Adjudication will commence, with the winning design announced in September 2009.
2010 FIFA World Cup Legacy Projects
We are also supporting FIFA 2010 Legacy Projects through initiating and funding cultural and social histories of Host Cities as well as cities in the SADC region.
We are also looking into rural communities benefiting from FIFA 2010 through the establishment of cinemas in rural areas as a legacy of the public viewing areas established during the 2010 event.
The Film Industry
The Department encourages the development of local content and supports the National Film and Video Foundation. Funds have been allocated especially for training and growing the audience base in townships and rural areas. Together with the Foundation we are looking at the best ways of setting up co-operatives in rural areas that focus on bringing cinemas to our people and developing skills in areas related to film production.
The South African Geographical Names Council is currently conducting national public hearings on the policy of changing names that will determine the pace and focus of changes. This is important work to ensure that the names we give to places reflect our national identity.
President Jacob Zuma has stated that we must do all we can to build cohesive, caring and sustainable communities.
We shall hold the first National Conference on Social Cohesion in KwaZulu Natal later this year. The theme of the conference is “Building a Caring Society” and participation will come from civil society, government, academics and community mobilisation.
My predecessor, Dr Pallo Jordan, announced South Africa’s intentions to ratify the 2003 UNESCO Convention on Intangible Cultural Heritage, as well as developing a national policy on living heritage. We have concluded drafting the national policy and will soon embark on public consultation.
Heritage makes a significant yet unacknowledged to economic development and job creation. We are working on a study on heritage and economic development and have completed a Heritage Skills Audit to help us develop this sector.
Robben Island Museum
I reported in my Budget Vote address to the National Assembly that I have accepted the resignations of both the Robben Island council and the interim CEO and that the call for nominations for a new council as well as an advertisement calling for applications for a full time CEO have appeared in national newspapers.
I can report that a total of 59 nominations have been received for the Council and they reflect a good spread and gender balance from a variety of sectors, especially legal, tourism and business.
I have appointed an interim CEO, Professor Henry Bredekamp, supported by an interim committee from the Department that includes Acting DDGs Mr Mzukisi Madlavu and Mr Vusi Ndima, Mr Mike Rennie, our Director of Corporate Governance as well as Ms Sibongile Van Damme, the CEO of SAHRA (South African Heritage Resources Association).
While the interim team addresses current challenges, I am confident that the new council will be in place soon.
On the 1st April 2009 Freedom Park became a declared cultural institution and a council was appointed in terms of the Cultural Institutions Act. On Monday in Pretoria I thanked the former members of the Freedom Park Trust who laid the foundations of this project and I formally inaugurated the new Freedom Park Council. We are working together with the Freedom Park council and the Department of Public Works to complete the construction of this important institution.
In our efforts to strengthen the National Heritage Day celebrations, this year’s Heritage Day focuses on the contribution of the craft sector to our national culture and the main celebration will happen in Limpopo.
Through the National Arts Council, South Africa hosts for the first time the prestigious International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies World Summit on Arts and Culturein Johannesburg in September this year.
The Department of Arts and Culture is continuing its work on national legacy projects, including the Matola Raid Project in Matola, Mozambique and the O.R. Tambo Project in the O.R. Tambo District.
We are collaborating with the Dutch on a project on Afrikaans which includes an international seminar and festival that will take place during Heritage month this year in the Western Cape.
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND JOB CREATION
The South African government in partnership with the private sector has successfully concluded the first NEPAD Cultural Project in January this year, with the launching of the new Library Building for the Ahmed Baba Institute in Timbuktu, Mali.
We are also participating in ongoing work with UNESCO on the Memory of the World project and preserving South African historical and cultural documents for future generations.
We are advancing an African Agenda with more than 100 South African artists taking part in the 2nd Pan African Arts Festival that commences this weekend in Algiers.
I have just returned from the opening of the National Festival of the Arts in Grahamstown where I can report that our artists with great enthusiasm are participating in n annual event that brings immense economic benefit to the Eastern Cape and provides platforms for artists from around the country and the rest of the SADC region.
As part of a national governmental effort, we are also supporting the global initiative of Mandela Day. Let us also contribute our time on this day to help others.
Through all these initiatives and our work in arts, culture and heritage we are building an enabling environment for the arts to flourish and and for all our people to expand their imaginative possibilities and turn these into a living reality of a better life for all.
We are grateful that our work has been made easier by the immense contribution of former Minister Pallo Jordan and his Deputy Ntombazana Botha. We are carrying on from where they have left off.
I also thank Deputy Minister Paul Mashatile, for his solid support.
Finally I thank the Director General, Mr Themba Wakashe, and his team in the Department for the day-to-day running of our operations.
I thank you.