Briefing by the Department of Arts and Culture on the draft five year Strategic Plan
The Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) gave a presentation on the focus and strategic plans for the Department over the next few years. DAC aimed to develop, protect, preserve and promote the arts, culture and heritage. Part of the aims encompassed ensuring linguistic diversity, human capital development, good governance, accountability and job creation. More efforts would be made to build on the Social Cohesion Summit of 2012, whilst the Arts, Culture and Heritage White Paper would be looking again at the business model for the DAC entities, rationalise and streamline. This might require legislative amendments. Other programmes were explained. The Mzansi Golden Economy (MGE) focused on artist development from a technical and business stance, whilst the Mzansi Golden Market would provide market access to cultural entrepreneurs, to help them be more sustainable and to develop audiences. The Venture Capital Fund provided gap funding and developmental funding to cover the market risk that cultural entrepreneurs faced when they wanted to build sustainable cultural enterprises and this would be done in conjunction with Development Finance Institutions. The DAC Libraries Conditional Grant Programme would follow a standardised approach. The timelines would be much clearer, costing would be streamlined and there would be oversight mechanisms to monitor progress. DAC’s Cultural Diplomacy Programme initiatives were outlined. The Language Programme saw the implementation of the Use of Official Languages Act and DAC would provide assistance with the set-up of the language units within the organs of state, and strengthen regulatory functions. It would also be improving the governance of its entities.
Members of the Committee stressed the importance of making the targets measurable because it promoted accountability. Members focused on the Libraries Conditional Grant Programme and welcomed the DAC’s commitment to have the approach standardised and the costing streamlined. DAC was urged to guide entities in streamlining Annual Performance Plans to the National Development Plan The Committee discussed the importance of entrenched linguistic diversity and the importance of a turnaround strategy for PanSALB.
Ditsong Museums of South Africa briefed the Committee on its 2013/14 Annual Report. It was an amalgamation of three national museums and five historical sites and was established in 1999. Key highlights were the successful institutional re-branding, the achievement of a diversified workforce and the centralisation of the corporate governance function. It had received a qualified audit opinion on two issues which related to the usefulness and reliability of the information on biological assets, for which there was no accounting policy, so they were not included in the annual financial statements. It was noted that there was no accounting policy for the biological assets and that these assets were not accounted for in the annual financial statements. An accounting policy would be drafted to include biological assets, and to re-assess assets that were at zero book value but still being used. Members wanted to know more about the position of the former Chief Executive Officer, as this had been widely covered by the media, and it was explained t hat the Council had believed it was within its rights, but lost when the matter was brought before the Commission on Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration., and decided to settle rather than take the matter further. One Member was critical and said that this amounted to wasteful expenditure,and asked whether Council would repay. Other questions related to the ownership and running of the Apartheid Museum, the overly-Eurocentric depiction of many events, the audit findings and employment equity.
The National Film and Video Foundation [resented its 2013/14 Annual Report. It had received a clean and unqualified audit for the thirteenth year, with no findings on pre-determined objectives or non-compliance and the entity had effective internal control systems. The funding constituted about 20% of budget for the average film, and 50 full time jobs were created for every feature film funded. The Foundation displayed how funding was spent in each section of the value chain. It was noted that the SA film industry contributed R3.5 billion to the Gross Domestic Product and created over 25 175 full time jobs. However, market share at the Box Office was dominated by foreign films, at 89%, and it was suggested that there should be a quota system for cinemas on exhibiting local content. The Committee's questions concentrated on the criteria for overseas film crews shooting on location in South Africa and what advantages there were for the South African industry or for its artists. Members wanted to know how the Foundation was working with the Department of Trade and Industry, questioned how it compared to the Nigerian industry, asked about the bursaries, the funding model and the future of the industry.
Department of Arts and Culture on the draft five year Strategic Plan
Mr Vuyo Jack, Acting Director-General, Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) said that he would provide an overview of the strategic priorities of the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC or the Department) to 2015/16. He said that the DAC’s strategic goals were the development, protection, preservation and promotion of arts, culture and heritage and access to information. Other goals were to achieve entrenched linguistic diversity, human capital development, good governance, accountability and job creation.
The Social Cohesion Summit of 2012, held to promote nation building and social cohesion, endorsed a12-point declaration, which included the hosting of provincial social cohesion summits. There would be a strengthening of the Social Cohesion Advocates Programme, and DAC would coordinate activities with the Departments of Sports and Recreation, Women in the Presidency, Basic Education, Justice and Correctional Services and Brand SA. The key objectives of the Arts, Culture and Heritage White Paper were to rethink the business model of the DAC entities, attend to rationalisation and streamlining of the entities, increased programming and audience development. This might lead to the need for legislative amendments to affect the desired outcomes arising from the White Paper.
The Mzansi Golden Economy (MGE) focused on artist development and it covered both technical and business development. The Mzansi Golden Market would provide market access to cultural entrepreneurs to help them be more sustainable and it would also be utilised an audience development tool. Cultural events would be used to leverage the different platforms for the artists to showcase their talents and products and touring ventures would expose productions to more audiences around the country. The Venture Capital Fund provided gap funding and developmental funding to cover the market risk that cultural entrepreneurs faced when they wanted to build sustainable cultural enterprises. This would be done in conjunction with Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) such as the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), the Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA) and the National Empowerment Fund (NEF).
Heritage promotion and preservation would be promoted through Legacy Projects. The first phase of the Heroes Acre project would commence in 2015/16 where sites would be identified, feasibility studies would be done and governance mechanisms would be identified and adopted. The second phase would be the building phase and the third phase would see the launch of the Heroes Acres. Liberation Heritage Route would go through the pilot phase and would end with the building of the National Heritage Museum. Forty legacy projects had been conceptualised in the past five years, of which 11 had been completed and 29 were still in the pipeline.
The DAC Schools Programme focused on the Unite Schools Clubs Programme. It was inspired by the Nelson Mandela Sports and Culture concept and it allowed for collaborations with the departments of Basic Education, Sports and Recreation, Environment, Health, Water and Sanitation and Justice and Correctional Services. Clubs were to be established across schools in different provinces and each school was provided with a kit that covered flags, national symbols and a simple process on how to initiate and manage projects.
The DAC Libraries Conditional Grant Programme would follow a standardised approach with three types of libraries architectures. The timelines would be much clearer, costing was to be streamlined and there would be oversight mechanisms to monitor progress. The aim was to increase foot traffic to libraries through creative programming and reading campaigns. DAC’s Cultural Diplomacy Programme included Africa Month during May 2015 and the core areas to be covered were heritage, dialogues, performing arts, culinary experiences, fashion, and these celebrations would be geographically spread across provinces.
The Language Programme saw the implementation of the Use of Official Languages Act and DAC actively promoted the adoption of the Act. DAC would provide assistance with the set-up of the language units within the organs of state and the regulatory foundation would be strengthened through the Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB) turnaround, the setting up of the Language Practitioners Council and provincial structures. Governance of DAC entities would be strengthened by the use of governance and policy manuals, streamlined shareholder compacts and shared services. National days would see a move from an events-driven approach to a more meaningful programmatic approach. There would be more engagement in the lead-up to national days and more post-event follow-ups, to assess impact. The guiding principles in measuring impact were nation building, social cohesion and dignity.
The Chairperson said the Committee’s concern was about measuring commitments and the Department should at the appropriate time attach time frames to the commitments.
Mr J Mahlangu (ANC) said he expected more investments in cultural and creative projects, which included film, music, books, publishing, and arts and crafts. He asked if this formed part of the Department’s goals and what direction DAC was taking in the promotion and teaching of South African history and the promotion of social solidarity. South Africa had schools in almost every ward and it made sense then that each should have its own library. Libraries should be designed to support optimal use of the building, the space in which they were being built and resources. Communities needed to find value in visiting the libraries. In two years, South Africa would celebrate the 20 year anniversary of the drafting of the South African Constitution and he believed that the Department had a crucial role to play in that regard. Most of the Annual Performance Plans (APPS) of DAC entities were not informed by the National Development Plan (NDP), and the Department should intervene to guide entities. He referred to the Africa Month in the Cultural Diplomacy Programme and he asked for elaboration on the culinary experiences the Department was planning.
Mr Jack said the there was a focus on investing in the creative industry and the breakdown of the targets would give a clearer breakdown of the extent of DAC’s investment. There had been a much greater focus on mathematics and science than on history. The content of history textbooks was being investigated to see how accurately South African history was being captured. DAC would be collaborating with the Department of Education on this issue and although there was an arts and culture curriculum, the objective was to enrich historical content. It was a priority area to ensure that the arts and culture curriculum covered the heritage context. DAC would be showcasing different foods and flavours unique to South Africa and its provinces as well as foods of the African continent.
The Chairperson said it was important for DAC to plan well in advance so that events like Africa Month could be broadened.
Mr Jack said DAC was working toward having a library in every ward as well as looking into existing structures that could be converted into libraries. The focus was on communities as well as the quality of the content of the libraries.
Mr T Makondo (ANC) said historically there had always been low performance in terms of how the conditional grants for libraries were managed, simply because there had been no standardised approach. He supported the adoption of the standardised approach and the streamlining of costing. Shared services had always been promoted by the Committee and he commended the Department’s commitment to the promotion of shared services between entities. He asked if the departments listed for collaboration on the Unite Schools Club Programme shared the same thinking as DAC on the importance of such a programme. The upliftment of black youth was hampered by the lack of infrastructure in the environment where black children lived and it was important that all departments collaborating on this programme had a clear understanding of the objectives and challenges of the Unite Schools Club Programme.
Mr P Mulder (FF+) emphasised the importance of language diversity and he questioned whether DAC understood the importance of entrenched linguistic diversity.
The Chairperson said at the last meeting the Committee asked that the Acting Director-General engage with the Minister on the language diversity plan and DAC had a grace period of six months to present a breakdown of the plan to the Committee. The Department needed to inform the Committee what was being done on the PanSALB matter and what interventions the DAC was planning. The failure of PanSALB affected other entities, and it had be taken seriously. The DAC would provide a breakdown of the language diversity plan and the interventions planned for PanSALB at the next meeting.
The Chairperson said she was a bit confused by the ‘piloting’ of the Liberation Heritage Route because there were district municipalities in the Eastern Cape that had gone beyond the pilot stage. Any project should be focused on people and that in turn meant that the focus of these projects should be at local government level. The Liberation Heritage Route should be about unsung heroes who were everyday people and DAC needed to connect with local government. The Committee appreciated that DAC made a concerted effort to incorporate the recommendations of the Committee. If the objective of DAC was to have a library in every ward, she asked why DAC was not working with the Department of Education as most schools did not have libraries. She asked that the Committee be sent whatever memoranda of understanding DAC had with other government departments, so that the Committee could get a better understanding of the planned inter-governmental work.
Mr Jack said part of the first phase of the Liberation Heritage Route project was to take lessons from the advanced provinces to fast track phases of those that lagged behind. In some provinces there were more than five Liberation Heritage Routes and as a start, three pilots per province had been initiated. This project involved consultation with communities and during the process unsung heroes would be identified.
Ditsong Museums Briefing on its 2013/14 Annual Report
Ms Neo Malao, Acting CEO, Ditsong Museums, said Ditsong Museums of South Africa was an amalgamation of three national museums and five historical sites, and was established in 1999 through the Cultural Institutions Act, 1998 (No 119 of 1998). It was overseen by a Council of Trustees appointed by the Minister of Arts and Culture. It aimed to be an effective, efficient and sustainable organisation and to exhibit properly preserved, well curated and accessible collections to the general public. Ditsong aimed to increase revenue generation, increase accessibility to the museums and to expand the pool of skills. Key highlights were the successful institutional re-branding, the achievement of a diversified workforce and the centralisation of the corporate governance function. There had been positive performance outputs and enhanced stakeholder relations with collaborations with museums and research institutions in China, Botswana, and France.
Ditsong Museums created direct partnerships with The Biko Foundation, The Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Sobukwe Foundation. Its Council was fairly newly appointed, and the Council's first 12 months’ milestones included the creation of Governance Committees, the hosting of the 49th Wildlife Photographer of the Year and Steve Biko exhibitions. The policy review register was being kept up to date, the strategic plan review was under way and the decentralisation of the museums’ core functions had been adopted. Forthcoming exhibitions included National Orders and Symbols, World War I, Sobukwe and George Hallet.
Mr Nkosinathi Hlophe, Finance Manager, Ditsong Museums, said Ditsong received a qualified audit opinion on two issues which related to the material findings on the annual performance report concerning the usefulness and reliability of the information on biological assets. It was noted that there was no accounting policy for the biological assets and that these assets were not accounted for in the annual financial statements. An accounting policy would now be drafted to include biological assets and this would be included in the annual financial statements. There was no annual assessment of useful lives, residual values and impairment. It was noted that some of the assets carried at zero book values were in a good condition and were still in use by the entity. The assets that were at R0 and still in good use would be re-assessed and correctly recorded.
Ms Malao said the staff complement reflected 194 filled positions, and the vacant positions below senior management level would be filled internally by using the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). Employment Equity processes and interviews for the CEO post had been conducted. Challenges for Ditsong Museums were the inherent Generally Recognised Accounting Practices (GRAP) 103 shortcomings, staff retention, outdated permanent exhibitions and absorption of utility bills of various museums. She gave an overview of the planned interventions and assured the Committee that the Council and management were committed to improving on the strategies to address challenges which tended to lead to audit findings.
Professor Lucky Mathebula, Council Chairperson, Ditsong Museums, commented on the publicised termination of the contract of the former CEO. The Council decided to terminate the contract of the CEO rather than renew it when the contract term ended. The CEO challenged the termination and when the new Council took over, it had decided to extend the notice of termination period to 12 months, to create a time frame to source a new CEO. After the fifth or sixth month of working with the CEO, the Council decided to advertise this post. It wanted to open up the market more broadly, but in addition the Council had discovered, whilst working with that CEO, that there were questionable activities for which he was unable to provide adequate explanations. Rather than starting investigations, the Council terminated the contract of the CEO, believing it was well within its rights to do so, based on the fact the CEO was serving his notice period and also based on a clause in the contract. The CEO then challenged the decision through the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA). The CCMA found that the way the process was handled amounted to suspension of an individual. There was an option to contest the decision in Labour Court, but after assessing the cost of the process, a decision was made to settle. An amount of R825 000 was paid to the CEO, and an additional R50 000 had to be paid for legal costs incurred.
Ms A Matshobeni (EFF) asked what the museums were doing to ensure that South Africa’s resistance history was captured for future generations. It was not enough just to talk about Robert Sobukwe, but access was needed to his banned writings and audios. She also asked what was being done specifically to preserve the resistance history of the Eastern Cape.
Professor Mathebula invited the Committee to come and experience the Steve Biko exhibition that was currently running. It was the first time that a narrative was hosted on what happened in South Africa and it was initiated by the Council who realised that the narrative was incomplete. The late former President, Nelson Mandela, instructed the Nelson Mandela Foundation to budget and plan to keep the legacy of Steve Biko alive. The Steve Biko exhibition would be curated by the Nelson Mandela Foundation. There was a list of struggle heroes, including Robert Sobukwe, that would be covered through exhibitions and a programme would be forwarded to the Committee. There was an ongoing process to link Ditsong Museums to the liberation heritage and the objective was to build synergies between the National Heritage Council (NHC) and Ditsong Museums.
Ms Matshobeni said that the Council was found to have incorrectly terminated the contract of the previous CEO, and the money paid over to him under the settlement was wasteful expenditure. She asked if the Council members involved were prepared to pay the money back.
Mr Makondo said most entries or departments received qualified audit opinions based on the reliability of information provided to the Auditor-General. He asked for a clarification on the qualified audit opinion.
Professor Mathebula said the furniture in a museum needed to be recorded according to a specific standard of museums and Ditsong Museums did not adhere to that specification as the furniture was recorded in the normal manner. This was one of the problems.
Ms Malao added that the second issue that lead to the audit finding status was the concern that Ditsong did not have documentation in place that showed performance indicators' descriptions, and performance indicators were not adequately defined. Moving forward, DAC pledged support to streamline those indicators to the SMART principles. Managers would be taking full responsibly for performance management and forms had been developed according to prescribed guidelines.
Mr G Grootboom (DA) said his perception was that Ms Malao was a bit disingenuous on the set equity targets, seemingly hoping that the Committee would not ask questions. He asked if the vacancies would be filled with a view to meeting some of the equity targets and he also asked what the specific equity targets were. He asked if there was an asset management policy in place and what the set benchmark was for personnel expenditure and how this compared to goods and services, because there was a steady decline in the latter budget.
Mr Hlophe said curators and researchers were mostly paid from external funding. By being able to raise more funds, museums were able to do more. Goods and services also included non-cash items.
Ms Maureen Pudikabekwa, Human Resources Manager, Ditsong Museums, said there were equity targets in place, but these needed to be reviewed to be in line with provincial equity targets. There was an ongoing skills assessment process that looked into filling positions internally, through Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), and to address equity targets before advertising externally.
Mr Grootboom said the Department was basically still formulating a plan and only once that plan was in place would the Committee be able to assess how employment imbalances were being addressed.
Mr Mulder asked what was being done in terms of securing the valuables in museums.
Professor Mathebula said there was awareness of the market for stolen artefacts, and security had been stepped up at Ditsong Museums. Vaults kept valuables safe but there needed to be a balance between being security conscious without losing the ability to properly exhibit artefacts.
Ms Malao said DAC allocated an additional R8 million to strengthen security and to address gaps at various museums.
Ms V Mogostsi (ANC) said the organisational structure was not very clear. She asked for clarification on the equity targets and the vacant positions and casual workers. She said the presentation did not touch on performance management. She asked for clarification on the graph that showed depreciation in goods and services. She asked why the audit committee did not pick up the anomalies before the audit. She asked what was being done to fill the CEO's position.
Ms Pudikabekwa said Ditsong employed casual workers because of the nature of the work, which mostly comprised educational presentations to schools and visitors, and did not require a full-time position.
Professor Mathebula said there was a shift in focus to rectify all the identified challenges. The contract of the internal audit committee would be terminated in March 2015, because that committee did not deliver on its mandate. A new internal audit function would be established, as well as a new risk register. A Chief Executive Officer had been appointed, but the name could not be announced before this person formally accepted the offered remuneration package. The announcement would hopefully be made by 1 January 2015.
Mr Mahlangu asked who named the Ndebele mural ‘Lekkerlag’ and what the meaning of the mural was. He asked that Ditsong Museums’ jurisdiction be clarified. One of the biggest challenges in South Africa was that the country’s history was depicted from a Eurocentric point of view. He said he was angered when he visited a museum in Mpumalanga that depicted the black man as very subservient to whites, and it was an insult to Africans. Museums researched, collected and preserved and if museums only told a history of what happened post 1952, then it was generally told from a perspective of a ‘conquered African’. He asked why the Apartheid Museum was privately owned, because it did not make sense that the struggle history of Africans should be privately owned and managed. He asked what was contained in Ditsong museums and he said basic concepts should be rectified. He referred to the Anglo-Boer War and said the name of that war implied that two sets of European whites fought on African land, when in fact a lot of Africans died in that war. It was wrong to preserve a white man’s history only.
Professor Mathebula said the Ndebele mural was on the door of Ditsong, and it was named by the Ndebele women that painted the mural. On close inspection, it resembled a widely smiling mouth, and was initially referred to as the ‘warm smile’ mural. Ditsong covered national museums that were part of the old Transvaal, which meant it included Mpumalanga and the North West. The relationship between curatorship and history had not been optimally developed in South Africa. It was a challenge to narrate the apartheid holocaust, but there needed to be a balance. Ditsong advocated that museums should not try to remove a particular depiction of South African history, but rather to add to that. It had become increasingly clear that people did not have the correct information, and thus made irresponsible statements in the media about South Africa’s past. If the history was depicted as Eurocentric, that showed that it needed to be enhanced rather than removed. The current narrative at the privately owned Apartheid Museum was by no means a misrepresentation, but it was nuanced in a certain way. The NHC flagged the importance of establishing a State managed museum that told the actual story of what happened in South Africa under apartheid.
The Chairperson said the personnel budget should be analysed, and she asked how long these posts had been vacant, pointing out that the Minister of Finance had said that if a post had been vacant for an extended period of time, it meant that such a post had become redundant. Most people wanted to see things in a museum that spoke to them personally. There was a need for transformation. Detailed information was needed, because the Committee needed to be able to hold entities accountable.
Briefing by the National Film and Video Foundation on its 2013/14 Annual Report
The Chairperson commended the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) for their clean audit report. There was very little time left and she asked that only highlights should be presented, because the Committee Members had had an opportunity to read through the presentation themselves.
Ms Mmabatho Ramagoshi, NFVF Chairperson, said the relevant Act of 1997 had not been substantially amended since 1997. The National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) promoted and developed the film industry and provided opportunities for persons to get involved in the film and video industry. NFVF encouraged the development and distribution of local film and video products, supported the nurturing and development of and access to the film and video industry, and addressed historical imbalances in infrastructure and distribution of skills and resources in the film industry.
Ms Karen Son, Chief Financial Officer, NFVF, said NFVF received an unqualified and clean audit opinion for the thirteenth year running. The financial statements were fairly represented and were free from misstatements. There were no findings on pre-determined objectives, no instances of non-compliance and the entity had effective internal control systems.
Ms Zama Mkosi, Chief Executive Officer, NFVF, gave an overview of the key strategic objectives, which were an increased number of South African films produced, an increased number of people trained in the industry, the local and international promotion of the South Africa Film Industry and an increased audience to South African films. These objectives covered the total number of projects funded that were in development, by province, in production and by film category. The number of bursaries awarded for this financial year was 65, but there was a need for at least 412 bursaries. An average film budget was R6 million, and NFVF funding constituted 20% of budget. 50 full time jobs were created for every feature film funded. NFVF actively tried to influence policy that impacted on the film industry through building strategic relations with Departments of Arts and Culture (DAC), Trade and Industry (dti) and the former Department of Communications (DOC). Partnerships with local and international stakeholders had been leveraged to ensure the organisation met its strategic objectives and delivered on its mandate. There was a key focus on relations with Nigeria and Kenya, the leading film industries in West Africa and East African region, to enable co-productions. The Durban International Film Festival was South Africa’s longest running annual film festival and was recognised as one of the leading film festivals on the African continent and on the international calendar. The Kwa-Mashu Film Festival was held annually at the Kwa-Mashu Ekhaya Centre. This was one of the programmes that reached out to marginalised communities in South Africa. Other key programmes included the Grahamstown Arts Festival, the Annual African and Cultural 10 day event in the Free State, Bojanala Film Week in Rustenburg and the South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTAS).
Ms Mkosi gave an overview of the value chain, which showed the percentage of the funding was spent in each section of the value chain. Pre-production covered the cost of development, funding and shoot preparations (11%), production was the costs incurred to shoot the film (73%), post-production was the costs incurred to transform footage (14%) and distribution was the costs incurred to release and promote the finished film (2%). The South African Film Industry (SAFI) contributed R3.5 billion to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and created over 25 175 full time jobs.
Ms Mkosi finally gave an overview of the state of the industry and said market share at the Box Office was dominated by foreign films (89%). A film industry game changer would be an additional R100 million on NFVF budget allocation, with a 30% operational cap, and there should be an introduction of a quota system for cinemas on exhibiting local content.
Mr Grootboom asked what were the terms and conditions attached to internationally produced films shot on location in South Africa. He asked how the policy could be amended so that South African artists also benefited from such films.
Ms Mkosi said NFVF had before worked on a scorecard, together with industry, to define certain criteria. If a film was shot in South Africa, telling a South African story and using South African money, NFVF believed such producers and directors should also be giving back to the objectives of this country. At this point there was no instrument in place that would ensure that international film makers on location in South Africa complied with certain transformational, developmental and cultural objectives. NFVF had drafted a document and engaged with the Department and Trade and Industry and DAC, who had committed to taking this principle further through the parliamentary process.
Ms Ramagoshi said in the case of a movie like Long Walk to Freedom, which told a South African story, the international film company also qualified for tax rebates from dti, and yet South Africa had no say in terms of content.
Ms Tsoleli asked for clarification on the status of having the Act amended. The proposed name change was very important and should be a top priority.
Ms Tsoleli also asked for clarification on the gender parity on the awarding of bursaries and why some provinces struggled to established Film Commissions.
Ms Ramagoshi said NFVF had done all the amendments to the Act and it was now in the hands of DAC. In most provinces, films competed with other provincial priorities and Film Commissions were still viewed as a ‘nice to have’ rather than essential
Ms Mkosi spoke to the gender balance and said that 91% of bursary recipients were black, 60% were male and 40% were female.
Mr Mulder asked what was the difference between what NFVF and dti were doing, and what the problem with the Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA) was, in terms of the inconsistency in awarding bursaries.
Mr Makondo asked how NFVF was working with dti to increase the number of South African films. He said it seemed that recent South African films were mostly based on the "Hollywood type" films that centred on guns and cars. He asked why South African films could not focus on telling indigenous South African stories.
Ms Ramagoshi said dti, NFVF, NEF and IDC all funded films, yet did not really collaborate in any significant way. Most of South African-made films showed South African content, and those Hollywood type films served a consumer need. A challenge for South African film makers was that they also had to compete with Hollywood, in the sense that the South African Broadcasting Commission (SABC) owed much more international content. This did not happen in any other country, because public broadcasters were supposed to promote the country’s culture and heritage.
Ms Matshobeni said the Nigerian film industry produced about 50 films a week, and employed over 1 million people. It was quite shameful that South Africa, with its much more developed infrastructure, failed to produce even a mere 50 films a year. She asked what mechanisms were in place to grow this industry.
Ms Ramagoshi said South Africa was looking to produce the quality of films that were on par with Hollywood, and she pointed out that Nigerian films were regarded as low quality films. To produce quality films cost more money. NFVF’s biggest challenge was that the Foundation provided 30% of the funding, leaving 70% that needed to be sourced elsewhere. On average it took about five years to secure the rest of the funding, and in many cases film makers could not secure additional funding and the amounts had to be written off. The aim was to fund 100% of the project, but that would also mean that fewer films would be funded. Films could take up to R250 million to produce from start to finish, and it was difficult to invest such large amounts in one film in a growing industry. If that film did not make money at the box office, it would be money lost. The maximum amount of funding provided by NFVF was R6 million. There had been suggestions to have a consolidated film fund.
Mr Mahlangu said he was not completely comfortable with the fact that overseas film makers were allowed to shoot a film in South Africa and depict it as another country. He asked what was being done to ensure artists were being protected and received what they deserved. There needed to be greater awareness of what was put on the screens and how it impacted the audience.
Ms Mkosi said the amendment of copyright laws was a competency that sat with dti and it was up to that department to ensure that artists were protected in terms of their Intellectual Property (IP).
The Chairperson asked what percentage of the study costs the bursaries covered, whether they covered all the years of study and what happened to those students that completed their studies. She asked what was being done to demystify film making, so that young people could see value in pursuing opportunities in the industry.
Ms Mkosi said NFVF’s policy previously prescribed that 100% of study costs were funded for the first year and 80% of the costs were funded for the second and third years. The Council had since made a resolution to fund 100% throughout. About three years ago, NFVF started an internship programme that absorbed some of the students. This year 35 students participated and next year 50 students would do the internship programme with NFVF.
The Chairperson said there still was a lot of discussion needed and DAC needed to engage with the Minister on the different institutions that offered funding and how ideas could be shared. It was unacceptable that South African stories needed to be told by international companies and artists. In some areas, radical changes needed to be made.
The meeting was adjourned.
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