Legacy Projects of State of Nation Address & Libertarian Heritage Route: progress report by Department of Arts & Culture
Arts and Culture
25 April 2012
Chairperson: Ms T Sunduza (ANC)
The Department spoke about the State of the Nation Address Legacy Projects and the Liberation Heritage Route. It outlined the progress achieved for each museum and centre, the various memorial sites to be prioritised and the progress made with the Dube Legacy project. The National Heritage Council explained the concept of the Liberation Heritage Route, mapped its progress since the June 2011 Cabinet resolution approving this network of heritage sites. The progress of the pilot projects in each province, which would form part of the route, were described. The way forward would involve the projects being presented to the International Marketing Council for its consideration. Once the IMC had applied its mind and presented to Cabinet, detailed implementation plans would be developed
Members asked questions about the staffing process for the project based in Mozambique and if the land on which this project was situated, was the property of South Africa. Queries were raised about the naming process of various sites, the economic benefit of heritage sites for neighbouring communities, grave vandalism, heritage representivity for the different cultural groups, political parties and provinces, furthering the visibility of heritage sites, the budget available, and maintenance and infrastructure responsibility.
2012 State of Nation Address (SONA) Legacy Projects
Mr Vusithemba Ndima, DAC Chief Director of Heritage, spoke about the following museums and centres that would be unveiled. These were:
▪ The 1980 Matola Raid museum in Maputo
▪ The Ncome Museum in KwaZulu-Natal, phase 2
▪ Final phase of the Freedom Park museum
▪ The Steve Biko heritage centre in Ginsberg in King Williamstown
▪ Homes and graves of national stalwarts.
Also discussed were the memorial sites to be prioritised, the Dube Legacy Project and the Union buildings centenary preparations.
Mr N van den Berg (DA) asked about the status of the piece of land in Maputo which held a piece of South African heritage. Was it South African or Mozambican? It was important to know how it was being taken care of. It was possible things could change in another country. One needed to know that the heritage site would not be touched.
Mr Irwin Langeveld, DAC Director: Heritage Institutional Development, replied that project in Matola took place within the context of a bilateral agreement between the two countries. What flowed from this agreement was a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two Ministries of Culture. A fact coming out of the MOU negotiating process was all land in Mozambique belonged to the state. The site belonged to Matola municipality and had been made available for purpose of building the interpretive centre and monument. The land was not under the ownership of either country’s Ministry of Culture.
Ms H Van Schalkwk (DA) asked how employees in the museum in Maputo were being appointed.
Mr Langeveld replied that the appointment process was an open process. The Department had been using the recruitment services of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation to recruit both the local and international staff.
Naming of places
Mr van den Berg said that he was not questioning name changes but some name changes were of people he did not know. Although all South Africans had grown up in the same country, they did not all share a history. He in turn wanted to know what was the process to decide who was being honored. What was the criteria and who decided what names were used?
Ms T Sunduza (ANC) said that it had been important to know who had been in the liberation struggle. When the Committee went to the public it was important to be able to give some context. She thus agreed with the question raised by Mr van der berg.
Mr Ndima replied that the process for choosing names in terms of the National Heritage Resources Act, every South African citizen could suggest a name change. Of course it had to go through certain processes and public hearings. If there were no objections, then it passed muster.
Adv Sonwabile Mancotywa, CEO: National Heritage Council, replied that on the issue of narratives those present could not assume all people knew who icons were. In France when they named streets, a summary was given of who the person was
Ms Van Schalkwk asked where in KwaZulu Natal was the Ncome Museum.
Mr Ndima replied that Blood River Heritage site was in Ncome in Northern KZN near Dundee. The area was popular with ‘battlefield tourists’ as there was a constellation of fights there.
Mr Ndima said the Department wanted Ncome to be a resource to the local community and they were setting up multi-purpose centres. It would become a space that could be used by the community for a number of purposes such as weddings. This would stop it becoming a white elephant. It would also generate some income. There was also curio shops which tried to ensure that there was some sort of income going to the community. There had also been encouragement for the museum to sell memorabilia.
Economic benefit of sites
Ms Van Schalkwk said that people often referred to heritage centres and the possible economic benefits and development of the surrounding area. She asked in what way would economic development be addressed by development sites.
Ms Sunduza asked if a study had been commissioned about job creation from heritage projects. At the Samora Machel museum there had been no economic activity. There was a need for integrated development and this applied to all museums.
Mr Ndima replied that a general feasibility study had not been done but a project specific feasibility study had been done per project. He agreed it was necessary to do a general one in order to see what was given to the community in terms of economics.
Mr Ndima agreed that at the Samora Machel Museum was far away from economic activity. This had been why there was a larger plan around the museum. The first part had been the negotiation that it become a national rather than provincial museum. A bigger plan allowed for accommodation facilities to be set up.
Ms T Nwamitwa-Shilubana (ANC) said she wanted to emphasise job creation. During an oversight visit to Freedom Park Museum there had been no one visible selling something that could create revenue for the local community. If the Department created parks and museums it was important to motivate communities to sell things and create income.
Ms Sunduza said that graves were often vandalised for various reasons (either political, racial or criminal) People seemed to have lost that sense of respect of graves. How much work had been done to protect the graves as fixing them was expensive.
Ms Sibongile Van Damme, CEO South African Heritage Resource Agency (SAHRA), replied that there had been workshops with the community and the youth so that when graves were left after restoration, they took ownership. They were educated about the particular people buried in the graveyard. What was significant was that tour guides had also taken up the role of taking tourists to those sites. There had thus become a response from the tourism industry to profile those graves in a manner that also begun to say to the community these graves are of significance. SAHRA did not only deal with graves of a political nature but also dealt with victims of conflict. This meant that they dealt with graves of minors. They had currently exhumed 180 remains of minors who would be reburied and classified as victims of conflict. When they did reburials they invited communities and ran workshops which were also used as healing ceremonies. They tried to make sure they were inclusive of the communities in that area and allowed them to deal with issues of pain and loss. SAHRA also worked closely with municipalities and provincial heritage resource authorities to make sure that graves were looked after. They were thus going out of their way to make sure vandalism was being dealt with.
Occupants of houses to become Museums
Ms Sunduza asked what happened to the occupants of the houses being bought? What had been done not to inconvenience people? Although this was history, no person needed to be left heartbroken.
Ms Nwamitwa-Shilubana likewise asked what happened to the occupants of the house when the Department transformed it or restored it to be a museum?
Mr Ndima replied that the houses was an issue that was discussed with the families. It was not an expropriation mission and it could thus in no way disadvantage the families. Negotiations happened and they were to be given alternative means of accommodation. Although there had been some cases of going back and forth, most families were honoured that their home had been chosen. He wanted to assure the Committee that when these members of the public were dealt with, they were dealt with great circumspection so all involved were satisfied.
Ms Sunduza raised the matter that many people had participated in the liberation struggle from all races. When it was recognised who had been in the struggle, there was a need to recognise all those who played a role across races as well as political entities. There was a need to represent all these people in the different political factions and races. She mentioned that groups such as the PAC as well as certain ethnic groups, such as the Khoi had not been represented.
Ms Van Damme replied that the nomination for graves to be noted was not only the responsibility of SAHRA but also of the public. In terms of the legislation, the public was welcome to submit names of any member of the public who had excelled in any area - not necessarily in the liberation struggle. This included all the broad areas that were in the heritage presentation. When it came to the PAC, there had been discussion with a number of members of the organisation and names would be submitted to SAHRA for representation. On the matter of graves, it was not only party representation but also gender representation that had to be considered. The Department had given SAHRA a large amount of money that would go particularly to honouring the heroines of the liberation struggle. That list was representative in terms of race, gender and political affiliation. SAHRA assured the Committee that they were working hard at representation.
Mr Ndima replied that in the Department there was a special heritage project dedicated to the Khoi and San. It sought to identify all the heritage sites associated with all the communities. He was sure the Committee would at some point call upon the Department to present on this project.
Mr Ndima said that there was already a interdepartmental committee that consisted of both the Department and the Department of Tourism. They were currently working on an MOU so that there were projects that could be implemented jointly. There was already a cultural tourism strategy that was developed jointly between the two departments. The Department hoped through National Tourism they would be able to map their heritage products so they were accessible to local and international people.
Mr Langeveld added that the MOU covered a five-year tourism strategy.
Matola Raid Museum
Mr P Ntshiquela said it was good that 90% of the Matola Raid Museum work was complete but how long had it taken? The Committee needed to know so they would know how long the rest would take.
Mr Langeveld replied that Matola Monument construction was 90% complete as of the site meeting of 29 March. The appointment of the exhibition company and the installation of the exhibition had been planned in such a way that it coincided with the completion of the structure so the exhibition company could move in and install the completed exhibition.
Mr Ntshiquela asked for a clearly outlined sketch of the Matola tour staff structure. His concern was the size of the personnel. He requested that this be indicated in each of these museums.
Mr Langeveld replied that in terms of staff there was an organogram for both the centre and monument which came to between 12 and 15 staff members. However what had been required in the first phase was merely core staff. These staff merely opened the institution and took it through its establishment phase. The core staff were those Mr Ndima had presented. This core staff were set to be in place by the opening of the interpretive centre and the monument. They were responsible for the implementation of the programmes immediately the centre was opened.
Opening dates for museums
Mr Ntshiquela said that for most of the museums, opening dates were being announced, which was good. However, what would actually be happening at these openings. Were it merely to be another party? Was there to be an operational plan that indicated what the activities of the museum were to be henceforth. Were they to be launched with a programme?
The Acting Chairperson said that on the completion and unveiling of graves, the presenter had said that the Independent Development Trust (IDT) was assisting with infrastructure. There had been an agreement between the Department and IDT for this project. Did this agreement stretch to the maintenance of those projects?
Mr Ndima replied that the arrangement between the Department and IDT had been to speed up the process of implementation but the maintenance remained the responsibility of Public Works as IDT was an agency of Public Works. He was sure that the Committee knew there was a great deal of work for the Department of Public Works and at times it had to delegate work to its agency.
Voortrekker and Freedom Park
Ms Moss noted that the Voortrekker Monument was next to Freedom Park. Would the gap between the two be closed? Would the two entities be brought together through some sort of bridge or road?
Mr Ndima replied there had been some good work that happened within the institutions. Many people had thought when Freedom Park started that it would be a competitor to the Voortrekker. However as it was emerging now, there was clearly synergy between Freedom Park and Voortrekker Monument. So much so that on the 16 December 2011 the President and Deputy President had opened Reconciliation Road between the two. This allowed for free movement between the two. This had been done symbolically to mark the connection between past history and current history.
All monuments in KwaZulu Natal
Ms Sunduza asked why everything was in KwaZulu Natal. She argued that there were nine provinces. There were many provinces with many histories but all was in KZN and that was why a lot of people did not participate. Other tribes had played a role in the liberation struggle. They may not be popular but there was a need to be dynamic in what was being done. There had also been the issue that young people had not been honoured.
Mr Ndima replied that the point was taken and acknowledged. There needed to be interaction with the communities and the Committee in order to realise where things were being missed. The input was greatly appreciated.
John Dube Project
Ms Nwamitwa-Shilubana asked why the John Dube project had to go to the King Shaka International Airport. Was there no other place that could honour him independently of the King Shaka statue?
Mr Ndima replied that the concept of Dube TradePort was one that was developed long ago when the President was the MEC in the Department of Economic Development in the province. The tradeport was envisioned as an agri-processing centre that would be used to plant and export fresh fruit and vegetables. They realised there was a need to explain who Dube was if it was to be called the Dube TradePort. Hence there needed to be a means of associating this significant infrastructure with the person it was named after. That was why there were two statues near to each other as the two pieces of infrastructure were almost in the same space.
Ms Nwamitwa-Shilubana said she was not sure that when the feasibility studies had been done, those conducting them had gone out to the rural areas. Had they asked people in the provinces about their people who had possibly not been honoured or who had been omitted? This would have helped in making things equal in all provinces.
Adv Mancotywa replied that research involved communities as it was community collective memory. Some beautiful stories came about from interaction in the communities. There were a large number of stories emerging from the communities.
History of all South Africans
Mr van den Berg said it was a pity that different groups did not know each other’s histories. He wanted to encourage the Department that when the naming of heritage sites was done, they supply information about their history. The ordinary citizen may not have necessarily gone and found out to whom the site referred. The more citizens knew about each other in this country, the better the future could be. In the past, there had been a gap between people in South Africa but that was water under the bridge now. The people of the country now shared a future. When names were changed and added, it was not about language groups or race but about the history of South Africa. Those present today would be judged by later generations for what had been done in Parliament in 2012 so one must use this opportunity. Everything could work in SA but if the heart of the people was not happy then there was not a good future. The challenge of the Committee had been to keep the hearts of South Africans happy. All needed to share the future. He stated that those present could tell he was speaking from the heart. This was an issue that was very important to him.
Ms J Tshbalala (ANC) agreed with Mr van den Berg that the future needed to be shared as did the past. In the next meeting there was a need to give a longer term strategy in terms of profiling and the sites and graves and all aspects. This included projects not budgeted for.
Adv Mancotywa replied that there were sites linked to the various groups. These projects were not just about Africans but all South Africans. It sought to unite the whole nation so that they were able to be a united country that moved forward.
Ms Van Damme replied that projects mentioned here were solely pilot projects. SAHRA was working on the sites and whatever projects were declared, then the National Heritage Council (NHC) took those projects on board. What had been presented here for the Liberation Route was a snapshot of what was being termed the ‘pilot projects’. She wanted to assure the Committee that what had been seen here were not the only projects the NHC and SAHRA would focus on. She added that this work was being done by both, however, they were suffering serious budgetary constraints. They sat currently with R41 million for all the work being done. Thus when the DAC budget vote was considered, she hoped SAHRA was considered prominently. It was not only the National Heritage Council suffering financial constraints.
Ms Tshabalala asked if there were figures available for the budget.
Adv Mancotywa replied that it was important that figures were supplied to the Committee and there were figures available but not approved. With the National Heritage Council, there was a structure in place that had been suffering from a lack of funding. There were provincial liaison officers that were meant to interact with the provinces, but they did not have that as their budget did not allow it. These positions were there but could not be funded at the moment. He asked the Committee for help especially in terms of shortcomings experienced by the Council.
Mr Ndima replied that the issue of budgets had been deliberated on and those presenting had wondered if the Liberation Route presentation should have included a budget that had not yet been approved. They had decided that it was premature to present the document with a budget as there were fears the Committee would hold them accountable at a later point.
Ms Moss said that if there was a business plan or proposal, then the project would have been costed and that gave the Committee an idea of how much the project will cost.
Mr Ndima thanked Ms Moss and said he would correct it in future.
Ms Tshabalala said that there needed to be a bibliography booklet that showed the Committee everything that was happening in terms of the various projects.
Mr Ndima agreed that there was a need to capture all the projects being spoken about in a more systematic and accessible way so that it was easily distributed. A booklet was a good way.
Ms Sunduza said it was important to have a booklet especially for schools. The more the government taught and educated the younger generation about the past and national buildings the better, as they were young and colour blind. All racial groups were interested in history. There were scholars who wrote to the government and wanted to know about their histories. They expected government to know. There was a need to know the history of other race groups and it was important to do this research. She was happy with the work that had been done, despite budget constraints. But SAHRA needed to avoid taking time in accrediting sites. Perhaps it was best for the Committee to perform oversight soon on these various projects. It was important not to leave the various groups out of the history. There was a need for these booklets to be done and sent to schools. Even if an MOU was done with education they needed to be done. There needed to be a popularising of various events such as at Freedom Park and the public needed to know that it was about everyone’s history. There was no nation that had been liberated and had not spoken about it. The work being done was good and important. She was happy with the work done however time should not be wasted declaring the sites. As a Portfolio Committee there would soon be oversight again.
Ms Van Damme invited the Committee to the launch of the Education Centre in Grahamstown on 7 May. This Centre had been developed with the goal of packaging what was happening in the heritage sector for curriculum development. This meant they were going to be working teachers. What Adv Mancotywa had referred to was going to be repackaged in a curriculum review, with particular emphasis on history. They would work closely with the NHC to develop what had been spoken of for curriculum use which could then be channeled into the mainstream. She wanted the Committee to witness the partnership with Rhodes University where they were developing programmes that were going to be accredited.
Intergrated approach with Tourism
Mr van den Berg asked if the Committee could be provided with a list of all the sites spoken about at the meeting so the Committee could visit the various places. They would like to do this not as members of the Committee but in their personal capacity.
Ms Moss said that there was a need for an integrated approach between DAC and the Department of Tourism. She agreed with Mr van den Berg that there was a need to visit these sites.
Adv Mancotywa replied that cultural tourism contributed a great deal to the economy but it was understated. One needed to make the point that heritage was an input factor in the economy and an output factor was tourism. This was what was lacking at the moment. There was a need to work on that.
Oversight of State of the Nation Address Legacy Projects
Ms Tshabalala said that the State of the Nation Address had already shown what DAC and SAHRA would be focusing on. There was however a need to take the Committee’s comments on board so that when they next appeared before the Committee, they could state “this is what we have managed to consider”. That would allow them to do oversight.
Mr D Mavunda (DA) requested more information about the status of State of the Nation Address 2011 projects. How were they prioritising these projects?
Mr Ndima said there was work continuing from what the President had said in 2011, especially in the case of popularisation of symbols. The ‘flag in every school’ project was also continuing. Much as one would have wanted to increase the tempo of implementation, they were still going at a steady pace. Issues concerning cultural industries had been catered for within the new programmes, which had been introduced with the Mzansi Golden Economy.
Mr Mavunda referred to his comments about reconciling the work done with the State of the Nation Address. Much as the Committee understood this was an ongoing process by DAC, what he was trying to caution against was running out of budget for the financial year.
Liberation Heritage Route presentation
Adv Sonwabile Mancotywa, CEO: National Heritage Council, explained this concept of a network of heritage sites, which was approved by a June 2011 Cabinet resolution. He outlined the progress in the implementation of the resolution and the pilot projects for each province. He then explained that the way forward would involve the projects being presented to the International Marketing Council for its consideration. Once the IMC had applied its mind and presented to Cabinet, detailed implementation plans would be developed (see document).
Some additional comments Adv Mancotywa made:
- There was a difference between history and heritage. History was a telling of the past whereas heritage was a celebration of the past. It also presented our values going forward.
- Research was the cornerstone for each project. It needed to be done not only in terms of investment but also through a comprehensive story-telling exercise and community engagement. It needed to contribute to healing of the nation as there were people whose stories were never told. The issue of pain needed to be dealt with as there was nothing more dangerous than leading an angry nation.
- Looking at the pilot projects, Cabinet was mindful that not everything could happen at the same time as one was talking about overhauling South African history.
- Heritage was a shared competence in terms of Schedule 5 of the Constitution and it was something that every sphere of government needed to partake in. That was why one found initiatives at local, provincial and national government.
Mr Nstiquela said many of the acronyms had been left off the list on slide 3. These were needed.
Ms Nwamitwa-Shilubana thanked the department for the briefing. It was a long list of projects and hoped those involved would progress step by step to complete them. It would be good for the Portfolio Committee it perform oversight on what was being done. On a note about the IDT, she said that the Committee had visited the Samora Machel Monument and encountered the work done by IDT there. The building had been almost falling down. The situation was a mess and she hoped that when IDT was given projects that follow up was done by the Department. It was disappointing what had happened to the Samora Machel Monument. Restoration would perhaps prove even more expensive than construction due to the bad work done.
Ms Moss agreed with this notion saying that it was not good to build something and then have to restore it again. There was a need for proper development. The Director General had said on infrastructure spending in this budget, they were going to give that responsibility to the entities. This was to be done because Public Works did not have the capacity to maintain these structures. There was thus no excuse to say that there was not enough funding. There was a need to use this funding constructively.
Mr Ndima said that in terms of maintenance, the Director General had been saying that museums with a full general staff needed to acquire the budget for maintenance themselves. However when one dealt with new infrastructure implementation, that was when IDT had been called in to help. The issue was institutions needed to maintain the infrastructure. IDT was used only when new institutions were built.
Date of Summit
Ms Moss asked when the summit was taking place. The Committee would like the date so they could diarise it. The Committee needed to do oversight on the projects presented today.
Adv Mancotywa answered that the summit was at the end of June and next week a date would be given. It would be good for the Portfolio Committee to participate.
Pondo Revolt site
Mr Ntshiquela asked if technical work was being done at the Pondo Revolt site because when he had visited the site, there had been no evidence of this. Had IDT been informed as it seemed they did not know?
Mr Langeveld replied that the Pondo Revolt site was technical work. When Minister Mashatile visited there during Heritage month last year, the community convened. During that meeting, they shared aspects that they wanted to incorporate into the heritage centre that was being constructed. At that stage there was already a design that the community had approved. This design had to be reworked to incorporate the aspects that had been added as a result of that public meeting. IDT had been in the process of incorporating those elements. These of course had had budgetary implications which had to be resubmitted to the Director General for approval. As soon as the design and budget was approved, the Minister would return to present the progress to the community, including the chief.
Acting Chair Moss suggested that the next quarterly meeting look at legacy projects across political lines. It was important to build the nation and have cohesion. It was also important in the next quarterly report to receive the study on all the icons. She also requested a booklet on the special projects and when they would be taking place in the next financial year. The Committee would see those presented at the summit and on oversight visits.
Meeting was adjourned.
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