Minister Jordan Budget Debate

Printer-friendly versionSend by emailPDF version
08 Jun 2007

Madam Speaker
Honorable Ministers & Deputy Ministers
Honorable Members
Ladies and Gentlemen

The Ministry of Arts & Culture is directly relevant to understanding who we are as a nation, where we come from and where we are going. The legacy of colonialism and apartheid , have receded but are still an aspect of the daily lives of many, The DAC’s responsibility includes articulating our vision and our agenda for the realization of a democratic, non-racial  society.

The past, the present and the future are a continuum with integral dialectical links. Our present is shaped by our past, as the future we shall bequeath to future generations is being crafted by our actions in the present.

In his inaugural speech as President of the ANC, President Thabo Mbeki proclaimed: “the revolution is as yet incomplete”. The renewal of “our pledge: to build a partnership to create a better life for all,” is rooted in that realization.

Investing In Culture

Investing in Culture is our flagship programme for the eradication of poverty which must also provide the necessary skills that will enable our people to assume greater responsibility for their future. These projects have attracted private sector partnerships while others are being executed with other Government Departments such as Department of Trade & Industry and the Department of Social Development. The European Union has taken an active interest in many. Over 5000 jobs were directly created, with 62% of the beneficiaries women, 53% youth, and 8.5% disabled. 40% of the funds for this programme are invested in nodal municipalities in support of Integrated Sustainable Rural Development and Urban Renewal programmes. R96.3 Million will go towards Investing in Culture in this year’s budget..

 

Cultural Industries

South Africa’s entertainment industry is valued at approximately R7,4 billion According to the “Create South Africa” Report, it employs an estimated 20, 525 people. Film and television, alone, are worth R5, 8 billion and have a strong technical base of skills and infrastructure. More than 100,000 people are employed within music, film and television. A further 1, 2 million people earn their living through crafts and related trade sectors.

Worldwide, the turnover of cultural industries makes them the fifth largest economic sector, comprising design, the performing arts, dance, film, television, multi-media, cultural heritage, cultural tourism, the visual arts, the crafts, music and publishing.

Viewed from that perspective, the cultural industries, what we mistakenly call “entertainment”, have globally emerged as important economic engines. We are consequently paying increasing attention to them in the hope that they can assist transforming the social and economic landscape of the country. This sector is serious business.

This year we are entering into partnership with significant stakeholders to map the Cultural Industries:

  • By March 2008, a comprehensive audit that will provide the nation with quantified cultural data, analysis thereof and a report will be completed.
  • We are working towards the launch of a fully functional National Representative Body (NRB) as a one stop service facility for SA Crafters, which can also provide a networking forum.
  • The renowned “Beautiful Things Craft Supermarket” with our First Lady, Mrs. Zanele Mbeki as Patron, was launched as an annual event last year to showcase South African crafts.
  • Plans are underway for us to establish a Crafts Emporium to increase market access.

 

A nationally recognized award for master crafters and a skills transfer programme by these master crafters will help preserve indigenous knowledge and traditional methods and techniques of production.

 

A Reading, Writing and Thinking Nation

Ours is not a society of readers. Worse yet there is neither enough literature in indigenous languages nor a single bookstore that specializes in the African languages. Afrikaans and English literature are better served. Even German, French, and Portuguese fare better than indigenous languages on the book market. 51% of South Africans have no books in their homes. A mere 14% of the population read books, and only 5% of these read to their children. There is obvious room for improvement.

 

The Department has therefore launched an Indigenous Literature Publishing Project, aimed at producing a series of publications in different languages by writers from different backgrounds, across South Africa. This, hopefully, will stimulate the growth and development of literature in indigenous languages and generate new readerships. The National Library has been tasked with republishing of out-of-print in African language classics so that they are available to the public and  institutions again by exploring the creation of partnerships with private companies.

In 2006 we supported the “Time of the Writer” and  the “Poetry Africa” literary festivals. The Johannesburg leg of “Poetry Africa” proved very popular among the youth, attracting a huge turnout of over 800 people. The Print Industry Cluster Council has been re-launched as the South African Book Development Council. It is now a more representative body pursuing the principles of the Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment. This Council has been entrusted with leading the process of developing a National Book Policy. A first draft was circulated to over 800 stakeholders.

Gross turnover in the publishing sector is approximately R3 Billion per annum. In 2005, R195 million were paid out to authors in royalties. Literature is a significant contributor to the economy and can grow even bigger if we read more and read more widely.

Presence in the Music Sector

We have taken giant steps to profile local talent and indigenous music in the international arena. As a country, we are now a recognizable name brand at international music trade fairs like  MIDEM, POPKOM and WOMEX.

But the bulk of our work is being done here at home through our own Moshito Music Conference and Exhibition which provides networking opportunities, showcases talent and is a platform for the dissemination of information about the music industry skills development programme.

We take this opportunity to salute The Soweto Gospel Choir, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and others who have done South African creative talent proud.

Visual Arts “hot property” in the UK

The very first ever auction devoted exclusively to South African Visual Art held recently at Bonhams, in London, raised approximately R20 million.

It comprised paintings, by Irma Stern, Gerard Sekoto, Alexis Preller and Jacob Hendrik Pierneef, and all were sold well above their reserve prices.
 
At an earlier auction at Bonhams, paintings by Sekoto fetched a record price – among them were nine water-colours depicting scenes inspired by the Sharpville Massacre of 1960, watershed moment in the South African liberation struggle which is now annually commemorated as Human Rights Day.

Madam Speaker, the DAC acquired “Recollections of Sharpville”- a set of 9 watercolours - and “The Round Up” - another watercolour – by Gerard Sekoto on behalf of the nation. They are on permanent loan to the South African National Gallery. To mark this budget vote they are on display in Room V114, opposite the Old Assembly Chamber. Perhaps, in future, know-it-all commentators will exercise greater caution when writing about what government is trying to do about our cultural patrimony.

The Cultural Industries receive R39 Million.

African Film Summit

We hosted the African Film Summit that brought the continent’s film-making pioneers and the cream of Africa’s film-makers to our land. This is an important contribution to NEPAD’s Cultural Industries program, particularly the audio-visual section. A shared vision among the film-makers of the continent can boost this significant sector and help promote the unity we so urgently need at the grass-roots level.

Our NFVF is spreading its influence on the continent resulting in South Africa hosting of Federation of Pan African Film Producers (FEPACI) for the next four years.

We have prioritized a partnership with the Newtown Film and TV School, to work on a very crucial project in Indigenous Language Screen writing, titled “Script to Screen in your Mother Tongue” to fast track skills development in this area of work.

 

Of equal importantance is our collaboration with the Department of Communications to develop and strengthen South African animation. This new SA animation project will create jobs and develop skills in this highly competitive area of work in the audio-visual industries.

  • The National Film and Video Foundation receives R36.6 Million.

 R1-Billion Library Project

In 2006 I announced the provision of R1-Billion to recapitalize our community library system. This will be our largest and most ambitious project till 2009. It demands a partnership to plan, to manage, to monitor and to evaluate at all tiers of government, especially provincial and local.

World Library & Information Congress in Durban

Significantly, this investment is paying off as 2007 will see us host the annual World Library and Information Congress, the WLIC/IFLA Conference, in Durban in August.

This is only the second time that this - the main annual gathering of the world’s librarians - has been held in Africa; and the first time it is being held in South Africa.

It will give us a major opportunity to showcase the new developments, especially the construction of the northern campus of the National Library, which will be completed in early 2008.

Libraries make a qualitative difference by enabling individuals to develop “wings of the mind” and thus transcend their circumstances. The story of Neal Petersen – printed in the OCLC Newsletter - illustrates this point. Petersen became the first black South African yachtsman by learning navigation and boat design from books in the library. He went on to take part in the Around Alone (formerly BOC Challenge) Race, becoming the first black man to race solo around the world.  Neal Petersen was born disabled. He is now a motivational speaker in California, USA.

I want to take this opportunity to salute one brave librarian, Ms. Letta Naudee formerly of the Wynberg Public Library – now the Head of the Sea Point Library, Cape Town - who risked everything to provide Mr Petersen with access to the knowledge he craved. Because the books on sailing were in the “Whites only” section of the library, she would sneak books out the back door for him, bravely defying the laws of that time. Such little acts of defiance of tyranny can make a world of difference. Neal Petersen’s achievements testify to that. They also underscore the importance of libraries in changing people’s lives.

  • We are making an additional R200-million available for Libraries this year.

This amount will go to the DAC and to the nine provinces as conditional grants for upgrading of libraries. The provinces have submitted their business plans and we are already rolling out the project.

  • Library Charter

A Library Transformation Charter will be unveiled this year setting the new directions for our country’s community libraries. This Charter is being developed through a process of wide consultation among stakeholders.

  • R39 Million has been set aside for the upgrading of public entities and the SA Library for the Blind.

The Pretoria Campus of the new National Library is on schedule and is expected to be completed in November 2007. The estimated cost is R374-Million and the National Library will move into the new building in early 2008.

The development of a reading culture depends critically on the availability of literature in indigenous languages. Reading will help promote critical thinking, particularly among the youth.

The records in the National Archives are held safely and will continue to be into the future. I wish to acknowledge the assistance we received from “Die Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns” in our efforts to amicably resolve issues around access restrictions on the papers of Former Prime Minister General JBM Hertzog, held in the National Archives.

Memory of the World Conference

The Department of Arts and Culture will, from next Monday, be hosting the prestigious UNESCO Memory of the World meeting from 11-15 June 2007, in Pretoria.

The Memory of the World Programme assists in looking after and in publicizing historic documentary heritage through the world. The programme’s International Register lists documentary heritage that are correctly preserved by different heritage institutions in the world.

Two South African collections have already been registered in this programme:

  • The Bleek Collection of rare material relating to the history of the Khoisan people; and
  •  The VOC collection of early Dutch material which is a joint registration with the Netherlands, Indonesia and other countries.

Oral History Project

At present plans are underway to establish the Oral History Association of South Africa to make sure that the voices of the unheard are heard or listened to. This body will assist in training oral history practitioners who will then collect oral histories to be made available to the Archives.

The National Archives Advisory Council has also resumed its activities under its new chairperson, Judge Jeremiah Shongwe. They are in the process of finalizing a report on “Archives: National Systems and Public Interest” following a three day conference held in conjunction with the National Archives and the Mandela Foundation at Wits during April.

Poor records management practices plague all three spheres of government and remain a cause of concern. I would like to appeal to the Provincial MECs to allocate sufficient resources to their archives – which are an exclusive provincial competence – so that they can assist with public accountability and good governance in their provinces by promoting efficient records management practices and ultimately to preserving the archival heritage of their provinces.

National Language Services

The National Language Services promote and develop all official languages, especially the previously marginalised official languages. It continues to work on translation/editing/checking of official documents in the official languages and foreign languages as requested by clients, who  include :

  • Parliament
  •  national government departments, including the Presidency,
  • public entities,
  • statutory/constitutional bodies
  • provincial government departments where they lack the capacity, and
  • embassies.

Successful prototypes of spell-checkers for Afrikaans, isiXhosa, isiZulu, Sepedi and Setswana have been developed.

Satisfactory progress on corpus acquisition and annotation has been made for the machine-aided translation system. The development of a multilingual telephone-based information system was signed. Achievements in this project include the establishment of protocols and framework for speech data collection as well as basic linguistic resources. The National Strategy for Human Language Technologies has been completed.

Work planned for 2007-2010 can be read in our Strategic Plan Document and includes the following projects, among many others:

  • Full implementation of the Human Language Technology (HLT) National Strategy.
  • Open-source HLT software for tasks such as speech recognition and speech synthesis in the South African official languages.
  • Trained HLT developers, including fluent speakers of all of the South African official languages.
  • Machine-aided translation system optimized for the 11 official languages.
  • Promulgation of the South African Language Practitioners Council Act
  • Establishment of the South African Language Practitioners Council
  • Establishment of language units within government departments
  • The NLS receives  R50  Million this year

Heritage Institutions

The Primary mission of the Department of Arts & Culture is to “protect, preserve and promote our cultural and natural heritage.”

  • Thus R600-million, which is a large part of our budget, goes as subsidies to 15 heritage institutions which are our delivery and implementation agencies.

Their primary responsibility is to continue to protect and promote our cultural and natural heritage, as well as our tangible and intangible cultural heritage in all its manifestations.

Heritage Audit

The ground-breaking National Audit of heritage resources project in public custodianship is well underway. Collections of heritage resources that have already been audited include those held in Tuynhuys, Parliament, Groote Schuur Estate, Bryntiron Estate and the Union Buildings.  

  • 6000 heritage resources have been identified, described and digitally photographed as part of this first phase. 
  • Many of the items are of exceptional value – including early artworks giving us glimpses into life in South Africa before the advent of photography. 
  • Public access to items on the National Inventory will soon be provided through the SAHRA website.
  • The SAHRA has also carried out a national survey of almost 2000 public offices and bodies that are potential custodians of heritage resources – identifying which are custodians, the nature of their collections, the status of the management of these collections, as well as heritage sector skills currently available.  This has provided critical information on how best to implement the ongoing roll-out of the National Audit into its future phases. 

The survey has identified a need across all three tiers of government and para-statals to ensure that there is proper accountability for the management of heritage resources - to curb loss of and damage to these heritage resources. 

We appeal to all government departments approached by SAHRA to give their fullest cooperation and assistance for this important work.

Theft of Cultural Heritage

Like many other countries, we are faced with the international scourge of art theft and illicit trafficking of cultural property. It is against this background that in 2003, we became one of the signatories to the 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. We are also in the process of becoming signatory to the UNIDROIT Convention on stolen or illegally exported cultural objects. 

These conventions ensure that the cultural property of signatory countries is protected internationally from theft and illicit trafficking.  Signatory countries are also bound to assist when cultural property from another country enters their borders.

Here at home, we have taken the first step towards protection of heritage resources. The SAHRA audit project is to provide agencies and funding bodies with a clearer picture of the size and significance of the country’s heritage.

Launch of the African World Heritage Fund

In 2006 we established the path-breaking initiative: the African World Heritage Fund, to deal with the challenges that face the conservation and protection of World Heritage Sites on the African continent. 

The African World Heritage Fund (AWHF) was officially established in April 2006 and launched in May of the same year. It is registered under the South African Trust Law and administered by the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) and audited by the Auditor General.

It is a representative body consisting of all African Union countries that are signatories to the World Heritage Convention. The Fund has received political endorsement of AU Heads of State Summit held in Khartoum in 2006. The AWHF works under UNESCO mandate and it is responsible for the implementation of the World Heritage Convention.

To date the AWHF has received contributions in the order of US$4 731 524 (about R32million) from the following countries: Netherlands, India, China, Gabon, South Africa, Algeria, Israel and Norway.

Since its inception, The Fund has already invested in the following projects:

  • Preparation of nomination dossiers for the extension of Drakensberg/Ukhahlamba as a world heritage site on the Lesotho side of the border
  • Conservation activities at the Royal palaces of Abomey, an endangered world heritage site in Benin
  • Reinforcement of Training Institutions in Benin and Kenya
  • Fellowship Programmes
  • Support for the World Heritage Earthern Architecture programme;
  • Preparation of Tentative listing in Mozambique.

We therefore encourage you to support this significant project that we believe will help take our Continent to prosperity.

Liliesleaf Farm in Rivonia was bought by the South African Communist Party in 1961 and became the nerve centre and hub from which the leadership of uMkhonto weSizwe operated. The Liliesleaf Trust, launched by President Mbeki, currently owns eight acres of the farm.  The Liliesleaf Project will consist of:

  • A Learning Centre (heritage precinct) – with a Struggle Library, Research and Archive Center
  • A Visitors Center – with an interactive exhibition
  • The Liliesleaf Lekgotla Retreat (commercial precinct), will be developed on this site. 

The main focus of this project is to restore and preserve the historic buildings and structures, preserve the records and documentation, and recount the activities that took place at this site. 

       A research audit has uncovered extensive and significant material pertinent to Liliesleaf.  This material has informed the construction, design and development of the exhibit storyline and guided the restoration of the historic structures.
The Department of Arts and Culture funded the Liliesleaf Project to the amount of R12 million.

  • This year the Department of Arts and Culture will transfer an additional R15 million over the next three financial years towards this important project

Madam Speaker,

Amongst the commemorations that are will feature prominently in the 2007/2008 financial year are:

* The 40th Anniversary of the tragic death of Inkosi Albert Luthuli - to pay tribute to this great South African, the first African to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

 * 90th Anniversary of the Tragedy of the SS Mendi - to commemorate the members of the so-called “South African Native Labour Corps” who tragically died  when the SS Mendi  sank in 1917.

*The 30th Anniversary of the Murder of Steven Bantu Biko - Government has committed R5 million to the Steven Biko Foundation in order for them to undertake a number of projects to commemorate the memory of Steven Bantu Biko and shall also cooperate with other bodies to mark this tragic occasion. The anniversary also marks the banning of a host of organizations, plus the newspaper “The World”. We hope to win the support of our media corporations in observance of this anniversary.

* The theme for this years Heritage Month is : “Celebrating Our Poetry”

This year we aim, among other things, to use the theme to promote the use of indigenous languages while stimulating a new interest in poetry amongst all age groups in South Africa.

Geographical Name-Changes.

The process of affirming this country’s African identity by the resurrection and revival of African language place names is very topical. But it has become unnecessarily charged with great emotion. It is proper to remind ourselves that the South African Geographical Names Council Act of 1998 won the support of virtually all the parties represented in this august assembly. The law laid down specific procedures that have to be followed when a name change is sought. As Minister every such change that I have endorsed has met these requirements. I reiterate, there has not been one name change that has been initiated by the national government or a national minister. Each and every instance has been at the initiative of local authorities, groups of concerned citizens or civic bodies.
Because some have sought to politicise and raise emotions around this issue:

  • I am encouraging local governments to use the Provincial Geographical Names Committees (PGNCs) established in terms of the South African Geographical Names Act. These experts can help them with consultation processes where a name change is being considered.
  • I have also decided to re-open the nominations process for a new South African Geographical Names Council so as to allow the language communities who claim to be aggrieved an opportunity to come forward with nominations.

Freedom Park

  • The construction of the first phase of Freedom Park (the Garden of Remembrance) was completed in March 2004
  • The intermediate phase was completed in 2006. Phase 2, which will make Freedom Park fully operational, is projected to be finalised in 2010.
  • Freedom Park receives R47.7 Million as operational funds and R40.4 Million as capital funds

A critical examination of our laws, unfortunately, reveals that we are “still dressed in apartheid garb.” This has necessitated a policy and legislative review as some of the policies and legislation have become outdated and out of step with the tenets of the Constitution.

The process for the review began in 2005.  It has been a painstakingly slow, legal, consultative and representative, including top level delegations from National Departments - whose work impacts on the Department of Arts and Culture’s mandate - all tiers of government i.e. Provincial and Local governments, civil society, statutory institutions, experts in the field of Arts Culture and Heritage, as well as other relevant stakeholders. 

Research on the review is almost complete and the material will enrich the process for amending both the White Paper on Arts, Culture and Heritage and legislation. It is the position of the department that once completed, this process will lead to efficient management of public resources and institutions. The process is also aimed at enhancing the department’s capacity to deliver its services to the general public.

We have commissioned an audit of skills in the heritage sector to arrive at a Human Resources Development Strategy. The absence of qualified staff is likely to undermine most of the work that the department started. This strategy will present medium and long term practical and implementable strategies for addressing this serious shortcoming in archeology, curatorship, museology and research.

The department is working with tertiary institutions and other relevant stakeholders on this issue. These endeavors will undoubtedly contribute to ASGISA and JIPSA.
 
Treaties

We will, during this financial year, also ratify a number of international treaties, which include the following:

  • The UNESCO convention on Intangible Cultural Heritage – to rehabilitate African heritage practices.
  • The Underwater Cultural Heritage convention.

The ratification of these conventions will enhance the country’s capacity to safeguard and promote our heritage. The Department is convinced that this has potential to contribute to social cohesion and building a South African national identity. The National policy on Intangible Cultural Heritage will ensure that the country’s cultural diversity is well protected and preserved.

In the past year, we supported almost 400 South African artists and cultural practitioners to showcase their talent abroad and forge closer links with counterparts around the world.

It is our mandate to make sure that South African talent takes its rightful place on the global stage and to use artistry as a tool for economic self-liberation. We have signed bilateral agreements with France, United Kingdom, China, Cuba, India, New Zealand and Belarus towards this end.

Significantly, we ratified the Convention on the Promotion and Protection of Cultural Diversity Convention in 2006 and became the 35th member country to do so.

Since 2004, when we became a fully autonomous Ministry, we have taken giant steps towards making the South African cultural presence felt in international affairs. The journey continues with the following conferences and celebrations:

  • South Africa will – through the NAC - host the conference of SADC National Arts Councils 2007
  • South Africa will launch the Commonwealth Foundation  2007

2010 World Cup

  • An amount of R25-Million has been allocated this year towards the preparation for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for the 2010 Fifa World Cup and other related activities.

Concluding Remarks.

The work of the Department cannot be covered in the contextual sweep that I have attempted in this presentation. In many profound ways, it can only be expressed by artists of the highest caliber, whose artistry makes us proud as it expresses the soul of this nation.

It is for this reason that we salute the many – far too many – South African Artists and Performers who left us during the course of this past year. May their perserverance, their commitment and their talent continue to inspire us and future generations as we build a better South Africa in a better world.

Thank you, Madam Speaker!