Closing Remarks by Deputy Minister Rejoice Mabudafhasi at the 2nd Sector Indaba on the White Paper on Arts, Culture and Heritage

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18 Nov 2016

Last year we gathered at this venue to inaugurate the revision of existing White Paper to ensure transformation of arts, culture and heritage sector in order to realize our constitutional mandate of forging a socially cohesive society.

The output of these intense consultations with artists from all arts disciplines, culture and heritage stakeholders led by our esteemed Reference Panel was the 2nd draft of the Revised White Paper on Arts, Culture and Heritage.

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the panel and to everyone participated during consultation process for the sterling work so far. I know it was not an easy road but you travelled it so far, because you are Patriots committed to the development of our sector and the country. 

We really appreciate the robust debates and spirit of openness that took place over the past two days. 

I fully support the proposal for a name change of the Department of Arts, Culture and Heritage.

This integration of our work between DAC, Entities, Provincial Departments and our Sister Departments, is very critical and rather urgent.

Even before we finalise the White Paper we need to work harder towards integration. I have observed duplication of programmes and yet we have a small budget. Integration will enable us to achieve more with the little budget we have for now. The sector strategic planning session held last week is the first step towards integration. 

Distinguished delegates allow me to make few submissions for your consideration during the  White Paper review process which my eyes missed in the draft document:

  • It is important that we place gender at the centre of our Agenda with all the complexities that ‘gender’ implies and all the fluidities of gender – I would expect this to be a dedicated Chapter in the White Paper. My wish is to have explicit reference to look at how Arts, Culture and Heritage should entrench and encourage women’s emancipation and proposed ring-fenced funds for women in the arts projects as well as youth development.
  • People with Disabilities must also be infused into the White Paper as a blueprint. Let an identification of their needs and what should be done not be forgotten.
  • Promotion of a reading culture in our country, this will lead to an upscaled national reading programme that ought to result from building a case ‘for a genuine reading culture’ is a national priority. This must not be reduced to‘one week’ a year but become a full national endeavour.
  • There is a need for further roburst engagement on coordination and institutional arrangements on Libraries Factor Rural development to benefit artists, crafters and other practioners involved arts, culture and heritage sector residing in the rural communities
  • There is also a need to engage on the current proposals for the alignment of the work of our institutions to ensure that we avoid duplication and wastage of resources.

We are few miles away towards finalisation of a  Revised White Paper.

My humble plea to the arts, culture and heritage family including the Reference Panel and Departmental officials Let us not do a ‘rushed job to break the record. Let us allow more time for further consultations to ensure that we produce a credible and acceptable policy framework which will benefit our people. However we need to stick to the time frames set for this project.

We agreed that written submissions should be submitted to the Department by not later than 15 December for capturing by the Reference Panel. The Final Draft will be submitted to Portfolio Committee in January 2017 for further consultations with the sector.

The outstanding work towards finalisation of this project requires us to adopt a Business Unusual Approach

I once more wish to thank the Reference Panel for steering this process and wish to urge them to continue the good work until its finality.

I thank you!