Deputy Minister & Department of Arts and Culture: Education & Recreation Programmes 2011

NCOP Education and Technology, Sports, Arts and Culture

07 June 2011
Chairperson: Ms M Makgate (North West, ANC)
Share this page:

Meeting Summary

The Deputy Minister and Department of Arts and Culture (the DAC) gave a presentation on the Departmental programmes and budget for 2011. The DAC outlined its six programmes, ranging from preservation of heritage, to nation building, to language services, and indicated that it would contribute to employment through support to small business and cooperatives, and expand on any opportunities under the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP). It would also concentrate on improving rural services. The DAC maintained that the process for geographic name changes had been important and it had tried to find common ground. It was also important to promote national days, to become more all-inclusive, and to encourage all South Africans to attend festivals. Local festivals were also important as they boosted local economy. The DAC was attempting to find a unique “South African” identity, and emphasised the importance of interventions to promote dialogue, and build performing arts and community arts centres. Skills development was a very important part of the preservation and promotion process, but also allowed all, including the previously marginalised, to showcase their talents, and then to promote them inside and outside the country, particularly by engaging in creative industry festivals and events. Another vital element of the DAC’s work was the preservation of information for access by current and future generations, and promotion of local indigenous languages, not only through oral and performing traditions, but also in books. The DAC stated that its main challenge was the high vacancy rate, but stressed that under-funding contributed to the problem of filling posts, as well as hindering the full and effective provision of services. The DAC’s allocation for 2011 was R2.4 billion, the bulk of which would go to heritage promotion and National Archives and Library Services. Although Gauteng and Western Cape were listed as receiving the bulk of the funding, the DAC stressed that this was because transfers were made to head offices in those provinces and it was likely that the money would actually be spent in other provinces.

Members questioned the provincial allocations, particularly in Northern Cape, and also asked how the funding decisions for various museums were taken and what was planned for those that had not received funding. Members would have liked to have heard also about donor funding, and why some festivals were funded entirely through private donation and they asked, but did not receive an answer on, the criteria for bursaries. The Committee was particularly concerned to hear the plans for filling the vacancies, and asked where the funding for new staff would be found. Members enquired about the tracking and monitoring of graduates from the script writers’ programme, and what the DAC was doing to contribute to teaching of arts in elementary schools. Further questions related to the monitoring of conditional grants in libraries, where new libraries would be built and the difficulties of access to rural libraries, the language policy and what was done to promote recognition of sign language as an official language. Members made various suggestions as to how to make the festivals more inclusive and promote attendance, asked what was done to finance and support the recording of oral history, and whether misuse of the South African flag would be penalised.

Meeting report

Chairperson’s opening remarks
The Chairperson recorded the Committee’s dissatisfaction at the late arrival of the Departmental team.

The Chairperson introduced the Deputy Minister for Arts and Culture, Dr Joe Phaahla, who apologised to the Committee for the delay.

Department of Arts and Culture Programmes for 2011: Departmental briefing
Mr Sibusiso Xaba, Director General, Department of Arts and Culture, stated that the vision of the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC or the Department) was to develop and preserve South African culture to ensure social cohesion and nation building.  He indicated that the Department ran six programmes. Programme 1 dealt with administration. Programme 2 promoted the performing arts. Programme 3: National Language Service, developed and promoted the official languages of South Africa, and enhanced the linguistic diversity of the country. Programme 4 promoted and developed South African Arts and Culture. Programme 5: Heritage Promotion provided the policy, legislation and strategic direction for identifying, conserving and promoting cultural heritage. Programme 6 covered the National Archives and library services and facilitated full and open access to the archival and information resources of South Africa. This Department was particularly concerned also with nation building and national identity, participation of citizens and social cohesion. Specifically in relation to contributing to employment, it would improve its support to small business and cooperatives, and expand on any opportunities under the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP). It would also concentrate on improving rural services.

Mr Xaba then expanded on the Department’s efforts towards social cohesion and nation building. He maintained that the process for geographic name changes had been highly important. The Department had tried to promote dialogue so that some common ground could be achieved. He said it was also important to promote national days so that they would become more inclusive and all South Africans would attend and celebrate the festivals. He added that the promotion of local festivals was also important, and the DAC, together with the Department of Tourism, had been promoting local festivals as they had the potential to boost local economy.

There was also interest in understanding and defining what it would mean to be “South African”. The Department aimed to find features that transcended culture and ethnicity, and promote a unified South African identity. He also explained the importance of interventions that promoted dialogue, the building up of Community Arts centres and the performing arts institutions.

Mr Xaba also spoke to skills development, which was an important part of promoting and preserving South African heritage. He claimed that the National Skills Academy in the Arts, Culture and Heritage would become a centre of excellence and provide a platform for artists to enhance and develop their skills.

He then outlined the Special Skills development programmes that the DAC would fund, including support for a bursaries programme, the National Film and Video Foundation, and international cooperation. Skills development was an important part of preserving South African heritage and culture, as it would allow people from all communities now to be given the opportunity to develop their own skills and showcase all South African cultures, both inside and outside the country.

Mr Xaba noted that the creative industries could be used to promote economic development for South Africa. The Durban International Film Festival was a prime vehicle for South Africa to showcase its talents, whilst attracting foreign investors and tourists. The creative industry as a whole, including films, crafts, design, performing arts, books and others, could all create jobs, as well as promote South African culture and traditions. He added that when South Africans worked with other countries or individuals, this would allow South Africa to showcase its own culture. He highlighted the South Africa / India week as an example of a programme that would allow both countries to promote their culture to each other.

Mr Xaba, in explaining the heritage development and promotion, set out details of the National Liberation Heritage Route and the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) (see attached presentation for details).

Mr Xaba then moved on to discuss preservation, and access to information. He stressed the importance of protecting local indigenous languages. The DAC would invest and assist in the translation of books and official documents in all local indigenous languages, and especially the official languages of the country.

He also outlined details on the management of the National Archives, Libraries and the Digitisation policy, and provided some examples of the DAC’s key campaigns and initiatives in the past years (see attached presentation for full details).

Mr Xaba said that the main challenge facing the Department was the need to fill senior positions, and to try to drop its currently high vacancy rate to below 10%. He noted, however, that the DAC was under-funded, and this not only hindered attracting the right talent, but also hindered the Department from delivering as effective and efficient a service as it would wish.

Mr Xaba outlined the structure of the Department and set out the Medium Term Expenditure Framework allocations for 2011/12 to 2013/14. He noted that the budget for the 2011/12 financial year was R2.4 billion. The majority of this would be spent on heritage promotion and National Archives / Library Service, which would, respectively, receive R763 million and R694 million. He emphasised that most of the budget was spent on the running of programmes and very little was used for administration. The funds would experience a modest growth over the outer MTEF years.

He noted that Gauteng and Western Cape receive the largest portion of the funds. However, this was not to say that the money would necessarily be spent in those provinces as many of the agencies who received transfers, although having their head office based in these two provinces, were actually working in other provinces. He asked Members not to misconstrue the allocations as meaning that the funding was actually spent in the provinces, or total money received by the smaller provinces.

Mr Xaba then tabled the budget allocation by programme, and a budget summary for each of the sic programmes. He further noted additional funding received and the funding that was ringfenced for specific projects (see attached presentation for further details).

Mr W Faber (DA, Northern Cape) asked for the Department’s explanation as to why it did not provide adequate funding for the Northern Cape. He believed that an allocation of only 7% was not sufficient, and wondered why the larger provinces should necessarily receive more funding.

Ms B Mncube (ANC, Gauteng) asked if the provincial funding schemes could be altered so that it would represent the population size of the province. If so, then Gauteng should get more funds than had been allocated.

Mr Xaba reiterated that the slides in his presentation showing the amount of funds disbursed to each province did not accurately reflect the amount that may have finally been spent in the province, and repeated that in many cases the agency receiving the funding might have its headquarters in one province, but work in another. Thus, funding given to an agency who was working in Northern Cape but had its offices in Gauteng would show, from an accounting point of view, as money granted to Gauteng, although the spending was done in Northern Cape. He added that the Department could never expect to find itself in the situation where everyone would be entirely happy with the distribution of the funds.

Mr Faber asked how the decisions for funding of the various museums were taken. He noted that programmes such as the Rock Art project had provided support for the San people, but had ignored the Bush-people.

Mr Xaba responded that the Department had limited success with the Rock Art Projects and outreach it out to the San people. However, the Department was aware of the limitations and would be looking into the matter in the near future.

Mr Faber asked why some museums had not received funding, and asked what was being done to compensate these museums.

Mr Faber asked why some cultural festivals were being funded by the DAC and others were funded entirely through private donors.

Mr M De Villiers (DA, Western Cape) asked whether the Department had a monitoring system in place to track the progress of the students graduating out of the script writers programme. In particular, he wanted to know whether the students, once they had graduated, stayed in their own provinces or moved elsewhere to find employment.

Mr Xaba responded that the DAC worked closely with training institutions to ensure that the script writers were staying in their respective provinces, and their talents were being used to generate future offerings such as TV adverts and short plays.

Mr de Villiers enquired about the Department’s recruitment plans for filling all the vacancies in 2011.

Ms Mncube challenged the Department over its high vacancy rate and demanded an explanation of what the Department was doing to fill the vacancies, and how it would fund the hiring of the new staff.

Mr Xaba acknowledged that, despite substantial advertising, the Department was unable to fill some of the positions. Some positions also were not yet able to be filled because previous incumbents had filed grievance procedures, and these disputed positions could not be filled until the matters had been finalised.

Mr de Villiers asked about this Department’s responsibilities in the area of basic education.

Mr Xaba said that the DAC had funded art teachers in elementary schools. The Department of Basic Education would actually place the art teacher but the DAC provided the funding. This was an important means of promoting arts to young children, so that they could contribute to the development of the art industry in the future.

Mr de Villiers asked how the Department would monitor the conditional grants given to libraries, and what criteria were being used to determine who gets the funds.

Mr Faber was also concerned that the schooling system was not yet adequate, and the children of the Bush-people were being schooled in Afrikaans and not in their own indigenous languages.

Mr Xaba said that provinces were working closely with the DAC to create their provincial language initiative.

Ms M Moshodi (ANC, Free State) also asked about language services, and asked whether the Department was doing anything to support the inclusion of sign language as an official language.

Ms Moshidi asked how the DAC could promote nation building when certain communities celebrated festivals and holidays that excluded others.

Ms Mncube wanted to know how far the Department was going to go in ensuring that the campaigns related to social cohesion and national building would be successful.

The Chairperson suggested that the Department should consider reducing the number of festivals and amalgamating them into each other, so that the festivals could become more inclusive. The Chairperson felt that many festivals that were celebrated did target a specific group and thereby excluded others, which could in the long run be harmful to the idea of nation building.

Mr Xaba responded that some provinces had shown support to moving the celebration of national days around the provinces, to areas where they might otherwise not necessarily be celebrated. In this way, the popularity of the national days would be increased and they would also become more inclusive.

Ms Moshidi asked whether there was sufficient money in the bursary programme and asked about the criteria for disbursing the bursaries.

Ms Moshidi asked for a provincial breakdown of where the new libraries were going to be built.

Mr Xaba stated that the community libraries were located and built at the discretion of the provinces and the municipalities. Furthermore, each library would provide a breakdown of funds used, which the Department then used to determine the amount of funds to be released in the future. Some libraries had initiated projects to encourage young people to come and join the library system.

Ms Mncube wanted to know what was being done to finance and support the recording of oral history.

Ms Mncube wanted to know whether there would be any penalties for misusing the South African flag.

Mr Xaba said that although misusing the flag was a punishable offence the Department was in fact more concerned with creating a national identity that would encourage people to be proud of the South African heritage, and find unity with other South Africans.

The Chairperson wanted to know what the DAC was doing to make libraries more accessible. She pointed out that in the rural areas, libraries were not easily accessible to poorer people.

The meeting was adjourned.


  • We don't have attendance info for this committee meeting

Download as PDF

You can download this page as a PDF using your browser's print functionality. Click on the "Print" button below and select the "PDF" option under destinations/printers.

See detailed instructions for your browser here.

Share this page: