The Department of Arts and Culture briefed the Committee on name changes. It reported on progress made, statistics on names approved, statistics as per province, statistics per language, challenges related to standardisation and transformation, interventions to support Provincial Geographical Names Councils, national hearings, and an envisaged consultative summit.
The Department gave a background to the South African Geographical Names Council Act 1998. Most of the geographical names in the country did not reflect the demographic background in terms of race, gender and language, of South Africa. This applied especially to the urban areas, rather than to the villages. The mandate of Government was to transform the heritage landscape to reflect the people of South Africa in their totality. However, the Department observed that anyone from a community that had been conquered would object to the name of the conqueror. The Minister would almost always approve the names proposed, unless unacceptable. Limpopo had by far the largest number of names approved. It was the first province to establish a Provincial Geographical Names Council. The Northern Cape had to date the least number of names approved. The Eastern Cape had accelerated its progress.
The Department noted a trend that English was gaining ground rather than the indigenous languages, especially for names for such developments as golf estates and town house complexes. Afrikaans names were also gaining ground. However, there was conflict and contestation; perceptions that the heritage of certain cultural groups was being destroyed; and perceptions that the renaming was a reverse form of discrimination. There were disputes and court cases. Also there was lack of financial and human capital for the effective functioning of the Provincial Geographical Names Councils. There was disagreement on what constituted sufficient consultation. There were legislative challenges.
The Department would seek the Cabinet's approval for a national reporting summit lasting two days in 2010. Once approval was granted, information would be made available to the Committee. The Department suggested that Members might be able to assist the Department with the Act and its insufficient provision for consultation. There was a problem when those absent from consultative meetings thereafter raised objections. The Department noted that not everything could be put in an act. this legislation was part of the batch of Departmental legislation that the Department wished to review. The Department would report subsequently to Cabinet and to Parliament on how to establish consensus “on the sensitive area of name standardisation”. The Department used this term because it was not correct to think of the process as being concerned only with name changes. There were places that did not have names, for example, new complexes of town houses. The process also included correction of incorrectly spelled names. Of the list of names previously alluded to, less than a quarter were name changes: most were new names.
The Department also briefed Members on the commemoration of National Days, which were currently managed by different areas of Government. This gave rise to problems of focus as there was no standard approach. It had been obvious since the first democratic elections, that there had been a failure to unite South Africans in terms of race, gender, and cultural persuasion. The Presidency had asked that the Department of Arts and Culture become the lead department in organising national days. The Department noted that although the older generation was not a lost cause, it was very easy to mobilise schools and the younger generation was used to mixing between races. The Department had written to the Cabinet to suggest new ways and means of changing the situation. All political party leaders in Parliament would speak at celebrations of national days. The Department had suggested to Cabinet a move away from the rally type of event to different formats, with perhaps an education-oriented approach. There was perhaps a need to localise commemorations. The Department noted that the braai was part of South Africa's heritage, but deplored any tendency to rename Heritage Day “Braai Day”. The Department reported that all the social development cluster departments offered their services to members of the public at national day rallies. Thus one could apply for an identity document, register to vote, apply for a social grant, or be tested for HIV status at the stadium. These facilities had been very successful. The Department said that the World Cup of 2010 had proved an attraction that could attract all races to an event. The challenge was to sustain this momentum without the attraction of a sport.
Members of the Democratic Alliance commended the Department for investigating why many people were reluctant to attend these commemorations; it was important to diversify and localise the celebration of national days - such an approach might be more successful; the standardisation of names, including the name changes, was an important and very necessary principle. The Democratic Alliance asked further about possible conflicts of interest in the name change process, and how the Department reconciled its statement that all colonial names had to be replaced with its intent to preserve; names should reflect a history, even if it was a long unhappy history such as South Africa's. The Democratic Alliance also thought that proper regulations should be established in order to achieve a cohesive approach involving all citizens, and said that putting the commemoration of national days under one department would probably ensure a better functioning and organization. A Congress of the People Member said that the process of name changes should be shortened, asked what really informed the final decision as to the final name, said that it was important to avoid being delayed by the courts and that the Act should be amended so that it was clear, said that the rally concept showed our country to the world as united, noted that people from informal settlements often felt that they were not part of the national days commemorations, and commended the involvement of political party leaders - a bold step, but people must attend the events, not merely have braais at home. The Acting Chairperson observed that many took for granted the celebrations of national days and that instead of uniting, somehow people had been separating themselves; it was important to celebrate together. Other African National Congress Members agreed with the Acting Chairperson that some of the existing geographical names, in particular, the colonial names, were very offensive, but said that it was not possible to ignore what had happened in the past; Members would await with keen interest the referring of legislative proposals to the Committee and the opportunities to consider what could be done to amend the regulations to improve the processes for name changes, and asked if the proposals for name changes were discussed only at the level of municipalities, before being referred to provincial offices; they asked about the R200 000 that the Department had reported that it gave to provinces for name changes, why Limpopo was so active compared to other provinces, how the Department promoted indigenous languages, urged that planning be done much further in advance, called for a review of all heritage sites and institutions, such as the museums, with a view to transforming them, advocated public awareness campaigns by way of television, local radio, and parliamentary constituency offices to ensure that people knew about forthcoming events and attended them, and said that a vast amount of indigenous knowledge was possessed by ordinary people who did not have degrees, and were therefore overlooked as custodians of such knowledge - it was important to make them part of the process. The Acting Chairperson said that the Khoisan people were being ignored, as if they had never lived, and called on the Department to do more for them.
Apologies for absence were received from the Rev T Farisani (ANC) , Chairperson, who was ill. Ms J Tshivhase (ANC) was elected Acting Chairperson.
The Acting Chairperson asked Members, delegates, and members of the media to introduce themselves.
Ms Veliswa Baduza, Acting Director-General, Department of Arts and Culture (DAC), introduced Mr Phakamani Mthembu, Director: Living Heritage, DAC, Mr Sipiwo Matshoba, Parliamentary Liaison Officer, Ministry of Arts and Culture, and Mr Lordwick Ralebipi, Deputy Director: Parliamentary Liaison, DAC.
Ms Baduza acknowledged that she was accompanied only by male members of the Department and assured the Acting Chairperson that she would endeavour to improve representation of women in the Department's staff complement.
The Acting Chairperson observed that without proper geographical names a wrong message was sent out; some names were “insulting”. Names should reflect or honour people who had made a contribution to the country. She hoped that the delegation would demonstrate that they knew what was expected of us as South Africans.
Department of Arts and Culture. Geographical names. Presentation
Ms Baduza reported that the Minister of Arts and Culture would, on Thursday, 14 October 2010, sign a delivery agreement for Outcome 12B. Forming part of the output of those outcomes that were part of the delivery agreement were these very areas on which the Department had been asked to brief the Committee.
Ms Baduza said that when one spoke about geographical names, the objective was to transform the landscape of South African heritage through standardisation of geographical names. The Department would present progress to date on ensuring that the Minister delivered on that mandate. Also forming part of the mandate of the Minister in terms of the delivery agreement towards the celebration of cultural diversity was the issue of the commemoration and celebration of national days. Thus these two areas of presentation were the centre of the Minister's delivery agreement. She hoped that Members had been invited to witness the signing of the delivery agreement. Outcome 12 was shared between the Minister of Public Service and Administration and the Minister of Arts and Culture.
Mr Mthembu said that the Department had circulated to Members a booklet Handbook on geographical names. This summarised the process followed in terms of naming and the terms of the South African Geographical Names Council Act 1998 (No. 118 of 1998) Also the Department had distributed to Members a digital versatile disc (DVD) video South African Geographical Names Council to explain the whole process and rationale of naming. It was subtitled in all the official languages for ease of reference for all South Africans. The Department hoped that Members of Parliament would be able to share it with members of the community. The Department would endeavour to print more copies. Already about 2 500 copies per provincial departments of arts and culture had been distributed. Copies had also been distributed to municipalities.
The briefing would inform Members of progress made seven main areas: names approved and standardisation, statistics as per province, statistics per language, challenges related to standardisation and challenges to transformation of the heritage landscape, interventions to support Provincial Geographical Names Councils (PGNCs), public hearings which had been conducted in the provinces, and what the Department proposed as the way forward. Amongst these proposals, the Department envisaged a consultative summit.
There was a link on the Department's website, , to a list of all the names that had been approved by the Minister. However, this link was temporarily closed because it had been hacked. There was also an application form on the website.
Mr Mthembu, by way of introduction, gave a background to the South African Geographical Names Council Act 1998 (Act No. 118 of 1998). Most of the geographical names in the country did not reflect the demographic background in terms of race, gender and language, of South Africa. This applied especially to the urban areas, rather than to the villages. The mandate of Government was to transform the heritage landscape to reflect the people of South Africa in their totality.
Mr Mthembu observed that anyone from a community that had been conquered would object to the name of the conquerer.
H owever, another consideration was that this process of “decolonisation” of the heritage landscape should take place within the spirit of building a socially cohesive nation instead of dividing the people of South Africa. In order to accelerate this transformation the Department had established Provincial Geographical Names Committees (PGNCs) to complement the role of the SAGNC.
The Minister was precluded by the Act from from suggesting names.
Mr Mthembu reported on progress achieved by way of the SAGNC's having, since its establishment, compiled a set of regulations; published the Handbook and information leaflet containing policy guidelines and procedures; and established a computerised database.
On the application form those who proposed name changes must demonstrate by proof of some research their authority for their proposal. He noted the linguistic origin of a name.
The Department's biggest “customer” was the Post Office. New developments needed to apply for a name.
The Minister would almost always approve the names proposed, unless unacceptable.
Mr Mthembu reported that PGNCs existed in all nine provinces, but there were challenges with their functioning which had resulted in a slow pace of standardisation and transformation of geographical names.
Mr Mthembu indicated statistics on names approved and statistics as per province.
Limpopo had by far the largest number of names approved. It was the first province to establish a PGNC. The Northern Cape had to date had the least number of names approved. The Eastern Cape had accelerated its progress.
There was a trend that English was gaining ground rather than the indigenous languages, especially for names for such developments as golf estates.
Mr Mthembu invited Members to visit the Department's website to analyze names for themselves.
Mr Mthembu thought that there was a balance, and noted that language was dynamic. Afrikaans names were gaining ground.
There were various challenges related to standardisation and transformation. These were conflict and contestation; perceptions that the heritage of certain cultural groups was being destroyed; perceptions that the renaming was a reverse form of discrimination; there were disputes and court cases; and some people had constantly argued that the Government should use this money to build houses and create employment opportunities. There were claims, moreover, that the process was working against nation building and social cohesion. Also there was lack of financial and human capital for the effective functioning of PGNCs. There was disagreement on what constituted sufficient consultation. There were legislative challenges, for example, provincial legislation, provincial representatives, and jurisdiction.
There was a perception that there was reverse discrimination. There were also court cases. In most cases the Department was taken to court on account of the decisions of the Minister.
Mr Mthembu said that Members would be familiar with argument that public money should not be used for name changes but should be used instead for housing.
There was a perception that the Department was working against nation building.
Mr Mthembu reported on interventions to support the PGNCs. On 29 November 2002 the Department had approved that provinces should be given financial assistance to the extent of R200 000 for each province. This was to facilitate establishment and formation of PGNCs in all provinces to deal with transformation of geographical names; and to empower the provincial departments through the PGNCs to expedite the cleaning of the database and standardisation of geographical names.
The Department had taken upon itself to drive capacity building and mount a comprehensive awareness campaign – the Mabitso Campaign - in all provinces in order to address the issues of transformation of geographical names.
On 23 and 24 May 2005 the Department had organised a workshop attended by senior administrative officials and legal advisors for all provinces. On 18 April 2007 the Cabinet Secretary had reported to the Department on the outcome of a meeting with the President and the Deputy President. Amongst other things the Department was tasked with implementing special social cohesion campaigns, which included national symbols and country-wide public hearings on geographical names.
Mr Mthembu reported on national hearings. On 30 May 2008 in Cape Town the Minister of Arts and Culture and the SAGNC had launched the implementation of special cohesion campaigns focusing on geographical names, and a plan to conduct national hearings on geographical names in all nine provinces was presented to the public and the media. Public hearings had taken place in all the nine provinces. The core message that was delivered during hearings was to encourage municipalities and other stakeholders to consult. Consultation was taking place in terms of Promotion of Administrative Justice Act 2000. All district municipalities were represented and they were able to present their reports on standardisation of geographical names.
Mr Mthembu explained the national consultative process envisaged by the Department. The issues that were emerging from the hearings were similar to those that were identified during the Mabitso Campaign and Kempton Park Workshop on 23 and 24 May 2005. The Department felt that this had necessitated the staging of a national consultative workshop that would look into matters of consultation; policy; and the relationship between SAGNCs and PGNCs, the Department, and provincial departments responsible for arts and culture.
Mr Mthembu concluded by saying that the Department would seek the Cabinet's approval for a national reporting summit lasting two days in 2010. Once approval was granted, information would be made available to Members of the Committee.
Mr Mthembu suggested that Members might be able to assist the Department with the Act and its insufficient provision for consultation. There was a problem when those absent from consultative meetings thereafter raised objections. He noted that not everything could be put in an act.
The applicable legislation was part of the batch of Departmental legislation that the Department wished to review.
Mr Mthembu said that the Department would report subsequently to Cabinet and to Parliament on how to establish consensus “on the sensitive area of name standardisation”. He used this term because it was not correct to think of the process as being concerned only with name changes. There were places that did not have names, for example, new complexes of town houses. The process also included correction of incorrectly spelled names. Of the list of names previously alluded to, less than a quarter were name changes: most were new names.
Department of Arts and Culture. [Presentation on the commemoration of national days]
Mr Mthembu said that national days were not confined to national holidays. There were also days which commemorated particular events, for example, the forthcoming commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the arrival of indentured Indian labourers.
National days were currently managed by different areas of Government. The 16th June has historically been managed from the Presidency. The Department of Arts and Culture had been responsible for Heritage Day, Freedom Day, and the Day of Reconciliation.
This gave rise to problems of focus as there was no standard approach.
It had been obvious since the first democratic elections, that there had been a failure to unite South Africans in terms of race, gender, and cultural persuasion. Members would be aware that in the celebration of national days, the complexion of the participants was mostly the same. Members of the white and Indian communities were very few. Even if buses were provided to all the urban areas to bring people to these events, the buses carried few passengers. The stadium would be full, but full of people from the same area.
The Presidency had asked that the Department of Arts and Culture become the lead department in organising national days, so the Department must examine this challenge. It had to be asked why so many South Africans decided that on Heritage Day they should go and have a braai. In other countries, people celebrated together. The Department had not yet been able to answer these questions.
Mr Mthembu acknowledged that in the past South Africans had been taught not to socialise with each other. They were accustomed to work together but then go their separate ways. It was thus difficult to mobilise the adult population.
On the other hand, it was very easy to mobilise schools. The younger generation was used to mixing between races.
Mr Mthembu said that the Department had written to the Cabinet to suggest new ways and means of changing the situation.
Mr Mthembu reported that the Minister of Arts and Culture had said that she would come to Parliament to speak to leaders of all political parties as an instruction from Cabinet to say that in all national days as a matter of principle all political party leaders would speak at celebrations of national days. Leaders of all political parties in Parliament were now involved in such programmes. The aim was that such events should not be associated with one political party to the exclusion of others. He observed that such leaders did indeed now speak at such celebrations and gave messages of support to the public.
The Department had been less successful with the followers of the political leaders who were speaking at commemorations of national days.
At small events it was easier to find all races participating. In urban centres the challenge of gathering together members of all races was greater.
The Department had conducted studies and research. It had encouraged musical performers from all race groups to participate in national celebrations.
Mr Mthembu said that the Department had suggested to Cabinet a move away from the rally type of event to different kinds of events. There was a need for different formats, with perhaps an education-oriented approach. There was perhaps a need to localise commemorations so that people could mark national days wherever they were.
The Department had been discussing with its entities, such as the museums, galleries, archives and libraries, also theatres and playhouses, how they could be brought into the process of commemorating national days, since hitherto these entities had not been utilised in that regard.
Mr Mthembu noted that the braai was part of South Africa's heritage, but deplored any tendency to rename Heritage Day “Braai Day”.
The World Cup of 2010 had proved an attraction that could attract all races to an event. The challenge was to sustain this momentum without the attraction of a sport.
Mr Mthembu said that there had been a suggestion that the Department should partner with the Departments of Basic Education and Higher Education and Training. It was easier to start with young people who had no prejudices.
On the other hand the older generation was not a lost cause.
The Department was collecting recordings of the stories of South Africans and their culture and religion. This was part of the work of the branch of Living Heritage, so that South Africans could learn more about each other. More people from Europe knew about South African dances, than South Africans themselves.
Mr Mthembu spoke of the language barrier. Most of our compatriots spoke only one or two languages, and English was regarded as the language of work. It was important for young people to be part of this renaissance.
All the social development cluster departments offered their services to members of the public at national day rallies. Thus one could apply for an identity document, register to vote, apply for a social grant, or be tested for HIV status at the stadium. These facilities had been very successful.
The Department had proposed to Cabinet that national days should be centralised in terms of leadership in order to improve focus. Also some suggestions had been implemented without waiting for Cabinet's formal approval, such as service delivery. The Department hoped that Cabinet would not disapprove. Once approval had been granted, the Minister or the Director-General would brief Members with definite information on what had been approved. What the Department had presented was to a considerable extent recommendations for which it hoped to receive official approval.
Ms N Khunou (ANC) asked for copies of the full version of the first presentation.
The Acting Chairperson concurred. What Members had been given by way of documentation was insufficient. She observed that the presentations, as elaborated by Ms Baduza and Mr Mthembu, had given Members new insight into the subject matter.
The Acting Chairperson said that many people took for granted the celebrations of national days without realising how important these days were. Instead of uniting, somehow people had been separating themselves. We all had our own histories, but we must not forget that we were South Africans. It was important to celebrate together.
Dr A Lotriet (DA) acknowledged that the Department's new approach to celebrating national days was very important. She commended the Department for investigating why many people were reluctant to attend these commemorations, and hoped that the Department would be successful in obtaining approval of its recommendations. It was important to diversify and localise the commemorations of these national days, and such an approach would, she thought, be more successful.
Dr Lotriet said that the standardisation of names, including the name changes, was an important and very necessary principle.
Dr Lotriet referred to paragraph 1.2 of the geographical names presentation, and asked how the Department reconciled that paragraph with what was written on page 6 of the Handbook under the heading 'Can existing names be changed?' How did the Department reconcile its statement that all colonial names had to be replaced with its intent to preserve as opposed to destroy? She said that history was a time line; it did not happen suddenly. Names should reflect a history, even if it was a long unhappy history such as South Africa's.
Mr Mthembu replied that the tension between transformation of the heritage landscape and at the same time preserving the diversity of culture was part of the problem that the Department was grappling with every day. One of the main aims of the Act was transformation. However, obviously, Government had to balance that with avoiding the polarisation of society. The Department had the unenviable task of doing both at the same time. He asked for the assistance of Members in navigating this challenge.
Mr Mthembu told Dr Lotriet that there had been delegations to the Minister from concerned groups. The history that was being transformed was still the history of South Africa and should not be tampered with.
Dr Lotriet asked about the legislation, regulations, and due processes that applied when the hearings mentioned by the Department were held. It had been brought to my attention that in the Free State where hearings had been held the proposals for the names to be changed originated in fact from the PGNC members. This situation was surely a conflict of interest. One could not propose a name and then decide upon it.
Dr Lotriet said that it was very important, if one was to achieve the buy-in of all members of the public, that the naming process was open, transparent, and free of any suspicion of conflict of interest.
Dr Lotriet said that very serious attention must be paid to regulations in discussing the nature and method of these hearings.
Ms Baduza noted Dr Lotriet's point about the possibility of a conflict of interest if members of PGNCs themselves proposed names.
Mr Mthembu said that the Department did not have a say on the names which came to it. All the Department did was interact with the application form once it was received at the Department. The Department merely sorted forms according to whether the applications were correct in terms of race and gender, and whether there had been any duplicate application.
Mr Mthembu said that the matter should perhaps be discussed by Members at the political level. As an official, Mr Mthembu said that he was possibly not the best person to deliberate on the matter.
Mr Mthembu said that it was not allowed for the proposer of a name to sit in the same committee that would adjudicate the proposed name. If that had happened, he asked for information to be communicated to the Acting Director-General. Every South African had the right to propose a name change, but once a person had exercised that right, he or she must recuse him or herself when a decision on that name was being taken by the adjudicating committee. Such recusal was a common law practice.
Mr J Smalle (DA) said that sufficient consultation meant exhausting “all other venues”. He agreed that proper regulations should be established, if one was to achieve a cohesive approach involving all citizens.
Ms Baduza noted that the Act should be amended so as to be clear as to the process of consultation.
Mr Smalle said that putting the commemoration of national days under one department would probably ensure a better functioning and organising of the celebrations, and would probably ensure that the Department achieved its desired outcome.
Mr Smalle asked if, when name changes were being referred back on account of a process that was not followed correctly, and if the court had ruled that the process had not been followed correctly, and if the process had to be carried out again, it was correct to assume that the same persons who were responsible for these name changes would be part of the whole process again. If so, it was necessary to review the way in which the PGNCs operated. He asked how the Department envisaged that process.
Ms Baduza noted Mr Smalle's question as to whether the same individuals who had been part of a name change process that had been rejected by a court of law, could be part of the repeat process.
Mr Mthembu replied that the Pretoria High Court had decided that the process regarding the name change of Louis Trichardt had been correct. Then the aggrieved party had appealed to the Supreme Court of Appeals in Bloemfontein and the decision of the Pretoria High Court was reversed, on the basis that it was clear that the communities concerned had not been consulted properly. The date of the meeting was brought forward by one day, so that if the consultation was going to be on Sunday it would be moved to Saturday; the applicants used that as proof that it might have been done so that they would miss the consultation. The outcome was that the decision should be reversed and that the people who had made the mistake should correct the mistake themselves by conducting the process over again. The judges knew that those people were in the municipality and that there was no other structure that could have conducted the process over again. The council concerned was not supposed to do the process by itself but to adjudicate. So the person who had conducted the original consultation could repeat the consultation. It was however a different matter when one was talking about the council. If there was a feeling that the members of the council were not going to be fair in the process of adjudicating a name, then the applicant or objector could ask any individual to recuse themselves but they must give a good reason for doing so.
Ms Khunou agreed wholeheartedly with the Acting Chairperson that some of the existing geographical names, in particular, the colonial names, were very offensive.
Ms Khunou said that, as much as one wanted to bring history together and not forget what had happened, it was very important that African culture was also preserved. It was not possible to ignore what had happened in the past. We could not go forward without saying that we should be proud of ourselves for being Africans and part of this country.
Ms Khunou agreed that Members would await with keen interest the referring of legislative proposals to the Committee and the opportunities to consider what could be done to amend the regulations to improve the processes for name changes.
Ms Khunou asked if the proposals for name changes were discussed only at the level of municipalities, before being referred to provincial offices.
Mr Mthembu said that the process of name change and standardisation began with local municipalities. If you were an individual you could not apply for a name change without proving the necessary authority on the application form. It was necessary to demonstrate why you wanted the name to be changed. In most cases it would be municipalities that would take a decision collectively on the bases of reasons known to that area. Alternatively, in the case of a post office, the reason could be very clear. Then the process moved to the PGNC, which would then check whether the applicant had indeed consulted those concerned. The process ended with the SANGNC, which also did its own checking. This involved the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform in regard to mapping and surveys. The longitude and latitude of the place was checked. Also the Pan South African Languages Board (PanSALB) checked the language aspects of the name, such as spelling. The only occasion when the Minister could reject a name was when it was offensive in terms of race, gender or ethnicity. The law provided for this. The law also provided for a period of 30 days in which people could object even to the Minister's decision. Cases came to court because people did not use this period of 30 days. The High Court could receive an objection even after 10 years. But this slowed the process considerably.
Ms Khunou asked about the R200 000 that the Department had reported that it gave to provinces for name changes. She asked herself why Limpopo was so active compared to other provinces and said that more should be done, since this helped us to understand and accept ourselves as South Africans.
Mr Mthembu said that the National Treasury had told the Department to stop funding the provinces for name changes, because the Division of Revenue Act (DORA) did not allow one sphere of Government to fund another. Fortunately the provinces were now getting more than R200 000; the figure was now more than R1 million, which was, he thought, sufficient, because the members of the PGNCs were not full-time. There was, however, a problem because the PGNCs did not have dedicated officials to carry out research and assist. Thus there were challenges to capacity. At the national level there were officials.
Ms Khunou asked how the Department promoted indigenous languages. She felt that the process of transformation would be assisted by gathering knowledge of traditions, including religious traditions, and language: progress was really slow 16 years after the first democratic elections.
Ms Khunou agreed with Dr Lotriet that localisation of commemorations would be appropriate, since much effort was required to organise the big events. She added that such local events would encourage and promote local leadership. However, it had to be asked how this would be managed.
Ms Khunou urged that planning be done much further in advance.
Ms Baduza took note of Ms Khunou's advice to plan events well in advance. However, there were other processes that were beyond the Department's administrative control. There was need for direction from the Presidency as to where the event was going to be held and as to the theme. It was for the Department to handle the administrative processes. Sometimes the Department experienced delays in obtaining those directives. However, that was not an excuse.
Ms Khunou called for a review of all heritage sites and institutions, such as the museums, with a view to transforming them. If personnel had been in place for 15 or more years without achieving anything, they should be replaced. “It should not be a white thing; we are in South Africa – it should be both black and white.”
Mr Mthembu said that the transformation area was problematic. The Department had correctly been accused that the management staffs of its museums were “pale, male and aging”. University training had not been relevant. There was no arts and culture degree. There was now a postgraduate diploma at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in museum and heritage studies. However, the Department had conducted an audit of all the skills in the heritage sector. The chief executive officers (CEOs) has been transformed, but not yet the curators.
Ms Baduza recalled her conversation the previous day with the Minister who told her that in Vietnam there was a university of heritage that focused on heritage studies up to the level of the doctor of philosophy degree (Ph D). said that she needed to engage with Prof Mary Metcalfe, Director-General, Department of Higher Education and Training (DoHET) on how that Department could assist in providing professional education and training for heritage staff.
Ms Baduza said there had been an amalgamation of museums in Cape Town – the Iziko Museums. Putting museums under one management was one way of transforming them. The same had been done in Pretoria, and there was talk of doing the same in Bloemfontein.
Ms Khunou advocated public awareness campaigns by way of television, local radio, and parliamentary constituency offices to ensure that people knew about forthcoming events and attended them.
Ms M Morutoa (ANC) asked about the Department's utilisation of media. It was important to achieve universal access and reach even the areas beyond the reach of television and other media. She suggested that the form of media used should include radio stations with regard to awareness campaigns about name changes, in order to further the aims of social cohesion and nation building.
Ms Baduza acknowledged the fact that we should be using mainly radio, in particular, community radio, to reach rural areas. Television was very expensive as a means of promotion.
Mr P Ntshiqela (COPE) observed that the process of name changes was very slow. He was puzzled as to the reason. The process should be shortened. Some of the informally settled areas were being named by the people themselves, where the leaders resided in those areas; however, having been relocated, these people were not able to use the names of their choice. He asked what really informed the final decision as to the final name.
Mr Ntshiqela agreed that the process of consultation was not sufficient; however the consultation process should be very easy. It was important to avoid being delayed by the courts. The country should not be run by the courts. The Act was silent and should be amended so that it was clear. In this regard the Portfolio Committee had a role.
Mr Ntshiqela said that the rally concept was very good. On these days we showed ourselves and our country to the world that we could be together and speak with one voice.
Mr Ntshiqela said that, with regard to the preoccupation on national days with braai activities, it was partly a matter of complete ignorance.
Mr Ntshiqela said also that people from informal settlements often felt that they were not part of the national day’s commemorations.
Mr Ntshiqela commended the involvement of political party leaders. It was a bold step. But it was not enough. However, this must be accompanied by enough members from all political parties. It was not enough just to watch the political leader on television as happened now. People must attend the events, not merely have braais at home.
Ms Baduza agreed that people should accompany their leaders to events.
Mr Ntshiqela asked about the approach to offensive names.
Ms Baduza replied that the process of getting rid of offensive names was difficult because sometimes a name could be acceptable in one language but be an offensive word in another language.
The Acting Chairperson said that our grandchildren and great-grandchildren would acknowledge the role of all those concerned with arts and culture in striving to bring all members of the community together. Our descendants would say “we love one another because of arts and culture”.
The Acting Chairperson asked about the Khoisan people who were the residents of this country and had made history. However, somehow, they were being ignored, as if they had never lived. Moreover, the Khoisan people also had their chiefs and kings, but these too were ignored. She asked the Department to take care of them.
Ms Baduza replied to the Acting Chairperson that the Department had a programme to take care of the needs of the Khoisan people.
Mr Mthembu added that the Department had always since 1994 had a Khoisan legacy project in the Department. This project had always been fully funded. The dynamics of the community, however, accounted for the delay in apparent results. There had been contestations as to traditional authority.
Mr Mthembu conceded that as regards naming the Department should do more. There were names in terms of the Khoisan. Moreover, the Government recognised the status of the Khoisan by way of the Coat of Arms, which really put the Khoisan at the heart of being South African.
Mr Mthembu said that the dilemma was that the Act did not allow the Minister to suggest names. It was perhaps up to people in the community to suggest Khoisan names so that the Minister could approve them. However, there was perhaps the need for extra measures, rather than “business as usual” for the Khoisan people.
Ms Morutoa thanked the Department for its elaborate presentation and the second document. It showed that the Department was serious about transformation. However, “it can only be done by women, of course.”
Ms Morutoa said that she had grown up in Stutterheim and referred to Ms Khunou's remarks: the indigenous people, Ms Morutoa said, believed that there was a God, not because of the religion that they were taught in school.
Ms Morutoa proposed that the Department should “tap into” such areas – the indigenous beliefs. She was not sure if religion was the right word. However, the indigenous people had a way of doing things, which we had lost. One could see that even the concept of justice was there, and, moreover, life was going on, and this happened across our country.
Ms Baduza replied to Ms Morutoa on the subject of indigenous knowledge systems (IKS). The Minister had closed Heritage Month on 30 September 2010 by holding a seminar on national living treasure. We were looking at people who were still living who transferred indigenous knowledge to the young people. It was important to find ways of conserving that indigenous knowledge and living treasure.
Mr Mthembu replied to Ms Morutoa that as officials the staff members of the Department did not really have answers. One of the benefits of having the opportunity to interact with the Members of the Committee was the benefit of Members' experience.
Ms Morutoa was happy that the Department suggested that the format of commemorations of national days should not all be the same. However, she wondered if we were not dividing society, and asked how we could arrange such events if not by means of a rally. Rallies showed that we were united as South Africans. If we commemorated national days in other ways, might it not divide us more?
Mr Mthembu said that the Department's view was that a one-size-fits-all approach was insufficient. There was a need for rallies, for example for Freedom Day. However, not every national day should be the same. Woman's Day should be different. He was glad that there had been experimentation with the re-enactment of a march. Where it was possible to allow people to take charge of commemorations, this should be allowed. It was, however, not something that could be done overnight. The Department needed advice from Members, and from Cabinet.
Ms Baduza said that it was necessary to consider was bound us together as South Africans. This required further discussion. The Department would conduct some consultations on mobilising communities and hold discussions on social cohesion.
Ms Baduza referred to the preamble to the Constitution, which said that South Africa belonged to all who lived in it united in diversity. The challenge was to bring together unity and diversity.
Ms Baduza said that the Minister had accompanied the Deputy President on the trip to Vietnam and she had marvelled at how the Vietnamese, with their 54 tribes, had recognised the status of each tribe, and how they had invested funds in promoting their culture. So it could be done, but it was necessary to find a way of doing so. She asked Members to assist in ensuring funding to the Department to further its efforts in bringing South Africans together.
Ms Morutoa said “don't forget the Xhoisan”.
Ms Khunou said that a vast amount of indigenous knowledge was possessed by ordinary people who did not have degrees, and were therefore overlooked as custodians of such knowledge. It was important to make them part of the process. Such indigenous knowledge should be brought into the curriculum.
Ms Khunou suggested that the “pale, male and aging” curators of museums should, after their retirement, be brought back in the role of consultants or mentors in the training and professional development of younger staff who were already working in museums to enable them to fill management positions. There would never be transformation unless we took steps such as the above.
The Acting Chairperson thanked the Department, and noted that knowledge was empowerment for everybody. Nation building was not a one-man show: it required working together. “Together we can do more”.
Adoption of minutes
The minutes of the previous meeting were adopted.
The meeting was adjourned.
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