National Heritage Council; Amafa Heritage KZN: briefings

NCOP Education and Technology, Sports, Arts and Culture

15 August 2018
Chairperson: Ms L Zwane (ANC, Kwazulu- Natal)
Share this page:

Meeting Summary

The Select Committee met with the National Heritage Council (NHC) and Amafa Heritage KwaZulu-Natal on the preservation and oversight of sites that were of historical importance. The purpose of these organisations was to relay knowledge to the youth and the communities, and to serve as links between history and tourism.

The NHC said its aims were to promote heritage resources for output and impact. This meant that children could gain more knowledge and tourists would be able to learn more about the country. It stressed the importance of transformation in respect of heritage. It used Amafa as an agency to push the agenda of heritage management, also known as the “projectivisation of heritage.”

Amafa focused on sites of conflict which had had a historical influence. A unique approach followed by Amafa in the management of all sites of conflict was a broader policy which dictated that the battlefields, in particular, should be managed in a manner that took cognisance of all participants involved in the conflict in question. While Amafa managed heritage for heritage’s sake, care was also taken that benefits deriving from the management of such sites first accrued to the local community where the resource was embedded. Unlike other provinces, Amafa -- as a provincial heritage resource agency -- had fully committed itself and embraced the need to address the issue of heritage objects. Consequently it had become the custodian of an ever growing and well managed collection of over 7 000 objects representative of the previously marginalised material culture of the eastern seaboard of South Africa. This collection was housed in the KwaZulu Cultural Museum, which had become a centre of excellence in the conservation of Zulu material culture.

The Committee commended both the NHC and Amafa on their informative and much needed presentations, but emphasised that both had to appeal to more than just Parliament, but to the general public and schools alike. It also expressed disappointment at the lack of funding provided to Amafa, and how they promoted themselves in the South African environment. Members asked whether the entities were promoting black culture in their mandates, stressing the importance of educating the youth about their heritage. They called for the inclusion of traditional leaders and authorities, as they were a part of South African heritage. The Committee agreed that there was still much work for the NHC and Amafa to do.

Meeting report

Amafa approach to heritage management

Dr Vikinduku Mnculwane, Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO): Amafa, the provincial heritage conservation agency for KwaZulu-Natal, said that the organisation evinced a nuanced and unique approach to cultural heritage resource management in the sense that unlike other entities of same ilk, it had “projectivised” quite a sizeable amount of key heritage resources in the province. Much of the success that would be reported in the presentation had to do with the project orientation approach, as evidenced in the way heritage resources were managed for better output and impact. In Amafa’s formulation of key strategic documents, the entity made full use of the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Growth and Development Strategy (PGDS), which was a policy document primarily informed by the goals of the National Development Plan (NDP).

Dr Mnculwane said that for a project to be accepted and to form part of the entity’s performance plan, it had to tick the relevant boxes related to the goals of the PGDS, which was in essence a customised version of the NDP. In order to ensure effective and efficient projectivising of the heritage management, the entity used what Amafa called flagship projects, which resided within the Support Services Directorate. Amafa’s intention was to respond adequately to the questions raised within the context of the broader operational mandates of the entity.
Management of sites

Dr Mnculwane said that a unique approach followed by Amafa in the management of all sites of conflict was a broader policy which dictated that the battlefields, in particular, should be managed in a manner that took cognisance of all participants involved in the conflict in question. While Amafa managed heritage for heritage’s sake, care was also taken that benefits deriving from the management of such sites first accrued to the local community where the resource was embedded. This principle was applied in sites such as Rorke’s Drift, Shiyane, Hlobane, Khambule, Gingindlovu, Zulu civil war sites and Spioenkop, as well as sites associated with what had become known over time as the Bhambatha Rebellion of 1906.

This policy was informed by the following interventions that had been made at all major sites of conflict:

  • In pursuance of nation building and social cohesion, a balance had been struck in places or sites where memorialisation was skewed towards colonial forces.
  • By the same token, the interpretation of such sites was skewed, and now interpretation was viewed from the perspective of all participants in the conflict in question.
  • It was also impressive that the footprint of a prominent site of conflict was secured from interventions that could inflict irreparable damage to such treasures. For this reason, Amafa followed the world’s best practice, in that all sites of conflict were kept in as pristine a condition as possible.
  • While heritage was kept and preserved for heritage’s sake, the effective and efficient management of heritage sites unlocked certain benefits to which adjacent communities had access.
  • This, among others, was made possible by the support often given to local economies and enterpreneurs.
  • All interventions in this regard were implemented in such a way that they contributed to the realisation of the goals of the PGDS.
  • Partnerships were often encouraged with a variety of stakeholders where possible.

Isandlwana case study

Dr Mnculwane said that labour used in the management of the battlefield was drawn from the area adjacent to the heritage site in question. 25% of all proceeds generated by entry fees accrued to the Traditional Council (TC) and were used for projects aimed at uplifting the respective communities. All milestones had been achieved over the last 15 years, and an amount of approximately R7 million had been expended in wages for the local people. He added that R1.5 million had been generated through entry fees, while R225 000 had been used in special projects injected directly into the community.

In 2016, some 30 years after the last excavation, Witwatersrand (Wits) University, supported by an international team, had commenced a three-year excavation season and spent one month excavating each year. This was possible thanks to the protective measures imposed on the site. New technologies had enabled the material excavated to be analysed, and this had improved the understanding of the Middle Stone Age or Late Stone Age interface, as well as revealing the earliest ostrich egg shell beads in South Africa, the earliest use of adhesive and poison, and the earliest tusk and bone tools in SA.

In tandem with its site security interventions, Amafa also worked on developing the tourism potential of the site. Amafa was in partnership with Tourism KZN, and had built a small interpretive centre with ablutions, which also served as the reception for the caretaker. This facility was built entirely of local stone quarried by the community and constructed by local workers, thus ensuring almost the entire project grant was spent in the community.

Kwazulu Cultural Museum

Dr Mnculwane said that unlike other provinces, Amafa -- as a provincial heritage resource agency -- had fully committed itself and embraced the need to address the issue of heritage objects. Consequently it had become the custodian of an ever growing and well managed collection of over 7 000 objects representative of the previously marginalised material culture of the eastern seaboard of South Africa. This collection was housed in the KwaZulu Cultural Museum, which has become a centre of excellence in the conservation of Zulu material culture.

Amafa was taking its cue from the 100-year celebration of struggle icon Nelson Mandela, and a travelling exhibition about him was about to be installed. The museum in question was one of the few in the country which had embraced modern technology, thanks to its manager, who also happened to be an information technology (IT) guru of repute. The Kwazulu Cultural Museum employed an extremely dedicated and passionate outreach team and was particularly proud of its mobile museum dubbed the “Museum on the Move”. This outreach initiative took the museum to the schools who could not afford to visit it and derive some benefit.

The museum employed a tour site guide, but also offered a few local scholars to test their affinity for tourism when they were employed as weekend student guides during their Grade 11 year at school. The museum had also offered internship opportunities to university students completing practical work modules in related fields of study. The KwaZulu Cultural Museum was likely to be the first institution offering practical opportunities in a well supervised environment for museum students. During the past July, it had commenced with a training programme dubbed “Train the Trainer”, whose sole reason for existence was to harness the skills of seasoned museum professionals to become mentors and trainers. There was potential for this programme to lead to an accreditation of these trainers by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA).

Emakhosini-Ophathe Heritage Park (EOHP)

Mr James van Vuuren, Deputy Director (DD): Support Services, Amafa, said that it was a bit of a challenge to talk very briefly about this project, as it involved a large number of layers, so he would speak about the fundamentals of the project. The EOHP was essentially a microcosm of Southern African history, as it contained evidence of early human settlement and the stone age, and the continuum of history that led right up till today. What mades the site more significant was that the living and burial place of the early Zulu Kings starting with Nkosinkhulu, then Njama, Nkonga, Ngaba, etc, so they had the graves of seven Zulu kings in a very small geographic area.

The recognition of this very important heritage resource was found in the early part of the 2000s. It had been felt that the the best way to interpret this was to conserve it and establish a heritage landscape. The idea was to manage this area as both a natural landscape in which the Zulu nation emerged, and as a cultural landscape. These two heritage layers were in line with one another and interacted with one another. The best idea was to secure control of the area, which was a 13 000 hectare landscape. A joint steering committee had been established between Amafa and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife so that both the biodiversity and the cultural and heritage resources could be managed. Amafa had set about using a provincial grant to purchase the land in question. To date, a large amount of money had been put into the project to develop infrastructure such as roads, monuments, markings and interpretations of the early Zulu kings’ graves.

Mr Van Vuuren said that more importantly, the province had voted around R35 million for the establishment of a multimedia centre. This centre would showcase the history of the nation. Instead of looking at the Zulu culture from people coming in, it would be rather from the perspective of people looking out, as this was the place that these people had been born. As a result of this, Amafa had a state of the art multimedia centre. He says the designers of the audio visual component had won a Loerie award for its contents, so it was well respected.

He said that he wanted to speak about how this project benefited communities, because people would be aware that there were land issues around the makhosini. Amafa did not dispute that there were people living on the land, as it had always been their intention that any benefits derived from the heritage resources should somehow be integrated into the lives of those people. However, the early attempts had failed. He did not think it was Amafa’s fault, but rather the fault the broader political space, like the ongoing discussion.

Amafa had adopted a new approach. This was a beneficiation model which they were calling a biodiversity economy approach, which essentially meant that Amafa would look at Nguni cattle as a driving economic model for people living in and adjacent to the project. The Nguni model allowed for people to make use of the 13 000 hectares of land, but in a manner that would be complimentary to the vision of this project. The economic biodiversity model also meant that subsidiary industries could be established, such as a butchery and a tannery. There were also secondary industries, which were boutiques, furniture and cushions. There are large secondary benefits that could come out of a single item in the landscape, such as a cow. Amafa was trying to sell this model as a way to address the concerns of people who felt that their interests were not being taken seriously.

Briefing by National Heritage Council (NHC)

The Chairperson said that the NHC’s core focus area should be the funding of displacement and resources mobilisation, policy development and transformation of the sector. She asked what was being put in place in order to ensure that this sector was transforming or contributing to transformation. Social cohesion was part of their core mandate of heritage and education awareness. Did people know about the NHC? Did schools know about what the NHC was doing in terms of heritage? She asked about the agreements between the NHC and other relevant departments, and said that other core mandates were alignment, administering priorities and partnerships with other institutions, like non-governmental organizations (NGOs). 

Adv Sonwabile Mancotywa, Chief Executive Officer (CEO): NHC, said that its vision was to make a nation proud of its heritage. The NHC did this by making sure that people were knowledgeable about their heritage; that they had access to their heritage; that they could benefit from their heritage; that they could utilise heritage in their lives, and also behave in a way that demonstrated their pride and heritage. These were the missions of the National Heritage Counci,l and how they liked to carry out their vision.

There were strategic outcomes in the mandate of the NHC. It should be an internationally recognised institution, which it strived to be, but it should also be mainstreaming the liberation heritage in order to ensure increased knowledge and awareness about South Africa’s heritage by its citizens. The NHC focused on the intangible heritage, being a leading institution focusing on social cohesion and nation building, which was one of its priority areas. As stated in section four of the National Heritage Act, their key objectives were to develop, promote and protect the national heritage for present and future generations, and to coordinate heritage management.

There were ten functions that the Council was supposed to perform. The key points that needed to be undertaken were policy advice -- which was to advise the Minister on national policies on heritage matters, including Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS), living heritage, restitution and other relevant matters, and on any other matters concerning heritage which the Minister may from time to time determine. Core funding advice was also important, to advise the Minister on the allocation of core funding to declared cultural institutions. There was also repatriation policy advice, in order to investigate ways and means of effecting the repatriation of South African heritage objects presently held by foreign governments, public and private institutions and individuals. Funding and grant disbursement was also important in order to make grants to any person, organisation or institution to promote and develop national heritage activities and resources, as well as the coordination functions.

Adv Mancotywa emphasised that transformation was a very important mandate, as well as stakeholder consultation, advocacy, education and fundraising. There were four key strategic pillars of the NHC, which were living heritage; planning, policy and knowledge management; development and assistance; and Liberation Heritage Route.

  • The NHC had narrowed down its strategic focus to:
  • Funding disbursement and resource mobilization;
  • Policy development;
  • Transformation of the sector;
  • Nation building and social cohesion;
  • Heritage education and awareness;
  • Alignment with Ministerial priorities; and
  • Partnerships.                                                  

With regard to alignments, Adv Mancotywa explained how the NHC used heritage for nation-building and national identity.  He started with knowledge production, describing the groundbreaking research on Makhonja mountain, which had been done in Mpumalanga. As a result of this, Mpumalanga was known as the cradle of human life. This was very beneficial for tourism. The Council also focused on education and awareness, especially targeting the youth. They took 50 schools to summer camps to teach them about heritage. He stressed public engagements, which were done through media and radio stations.

Adv Mancotywa said the transformational interventions were focused on the funding of community heritage and partnerships. The NHC’s emphasis was on transformation and new knowledge. He talked about nation building and the different awards in which they recognised excellence, and extended an invitation for Members to attend the “Women of Firsts” award ceremony on 21 September, dedicated for the month of August.  He explained that the award was for women of firsts, such as the first black women to be a pilot, or to be an accountant etc, covering different areas of human endeavour. These were very fascinating awards, as they honoured achievements and inspired generations to come. An example was Charlotte Maxenge, as the first woman to achieve a BSc in South Africa. Ubuntu was one of the key focal points of the NHC, where they responded to the restoration of ubuntu. The NHC also recognised icons, with ubuntu honours such as Nelson Mandela in 2010 and Fidel Castro.

Strategic overview

Adv Mancotywa said the NHC allowed for the decolonisation agenda to be in full swing, which was the lifting of the African voice. This was becoming an urgent imperative. He announced the launch of the African calendar last week on Friday, which reminded black people how their heritage had been received. He wanted show the groundwork that the NHC had done, such as the publications on national heritage, and proceeded to show the Committee different books containing stories of the country’s heritage. These were works that had been funded by the NHC. He was going to ensure that Parliament had copies of these books, as they were important sources of new knowledge.

He spoke about heritage institutions, where they took young people to school in different areas. There had also been a tour where he had taken young people to Tanzania as part of their liberation heritage. This year, the tour would be to Tanzania and Uganda for Madiba’s 100 years, and young people had to write an essay to apply in October

Adv Mancotywa said that the Council was looking at a nomination as South Africa’s eleventh world heritage site, which was being championed through the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

The NHC had responded to the issue of the budget. There were key policies that it had adopted, such as access to heritage of land, and how they could ensure South Africans had access to heritage. He said that the Select Committee had not looked at the expropriation of land in relation to land as part of heritage. He asked what if people wanted to practise their own rituals in areas of land. Why could the state not intervene by saying that they were spaces that were important to the people, and that could not be privatized? He asked why the state could not expropriate the land so that they were a part of the national heritage. The NHC was in discussion with the Department of Education with regard to the curriculum and the history subject. The NHC advocated the war of identity, which breeds leaders.


The Chairperson said that she wished there was more time, but there were time constraints. She hoped that the incoming Committee would take the issues further next year. There were quite interesting points which needed to be followed through, which unfortunately could not be attended to due to the time constraints.

Mr H Groenewald (DA, North West) said that he would not respond to the last speaker’s political agenda. He did not think it was incumbent of him to engage politically with officials in this forum. He wanted to register concern about the Amafa presentation. He had searched through Amafa’s website, and their latest annual report, with its auditor general report, were presumably 2014/2015 results. He asked about the availability of 2015/2016 and 2016/2017 annual reports, and why they were not listed. While the Committee was engaging with Amafa, the reports could be forwarded to it, if possible within two weeks.

He had also looked at the Act and had seen that it referred to the administration of the physical and living and intangible heritage resources of the province in essence, and that there were nine different facets that were included. He had found “ethnomusical lodging” interesting -- it had been the first time that he had seen the term about indigenous music. However, nine facets were in the custody of Amafa by law, but in the presentation he had found heavy emphasis on battle sites, specifically on Anglo-Zulu sites, with only a slight reference to the indigenous wars. There had also been a slide reference to the Mfecane, which was very important. His concern was, apart from Spioenkop, for instance, who the custodian was of the Blood River amaHikwa, which attracted large numbers of local and foreign visitors annually. He asked why there had been no mentions of places like that.

Ms T Mpambo-Sibukhwana (DA, Western Cape) told Adv Mancotywa that she was taken aback hearing about old stories about her political history and where she came from. It was very important that he was speaking from a political perspective, as it specified the cultural background. She expressed her anxiety that the stories he had would get lost, and that those after him would not get the opportunity to hear them. This story should be written in indigenous languages, as in the existing literature it was written in English. She asked how Amafa was preserving knowledge and history. KZN was fortunate to have the Amafa project – how did Amafa plan to extend their tentacles to other provinces? Why had the Select Committee on Recreation and Education never seen this site in the past four and a half years? The Committee had done its oversights but had never seen Amafa, and by the end of the Parliament term they would go.

The issues listed in the document were of interest. These sites often vanished if they were not preserved.  They had to be preserved. She feared that people spent more time on social media, and that the youth would not get this information as they were too busy with social media. Although there was nothing wrong with social media, this kind of history needed to be preserved. In respect of youth programmes, she asked about Amafa’s embarking of social cohesion in respect of indigenous languages. She said there was a scarcity of writers for poems and short stories, and this information should be carried on into these kinds of platforms so they could live forever.

Ms Mpambo-Sibukhwana asked how Amafa nurtured relationships with education sectors, and how they engaged with them. It could get involved with the Department of Arts and Culture, as it was a learning area, or through Basic Education. She felt that they were not doing enough to strive. She said that information that was not written down became extinct. Children should learn about what Amafa had to offer through the basic education curriculum.

Ms L Dlamini (ANC, Mpumalanga) said that there was no way that Amafa could succeed in dealing with heritage and different cultures without involving amaKhosi. Structures such as those offered by Amafa were represented by amaKhosi. For Amafa to be successful they could not rely on read material, and there should be a reservoir from the sources of amaKhosi. The challenge of the involvement of amakhosi should not be underestimated.  It was important for amakhosi to be recognised. She challenged both Amafa presenters by saying  she did not think they had reached their maximum performance.

Ms Dlamini said that the country had lost its children, and asked where the NHC was practically. It was not using social media enough to inform the youth of their own heritage. Why was their own culture not being promoted? She asked if the NHC was successful, because they were projectivising -- which meant they had more than one project, and if one had more than one project, it became a programme. If the NHC projectivised Amafa, how did it happen? From her knowledge, a project should have a beginning and an end. Perhaps there were other projects under the NHC. The Committee had not seen Amafa’s budget, and if it was to succeed, resources had to be allocated, coupled with the 25% of proceeds that were received from the site that went to the NHC. However, one would find that 25% was “peanuts.”  The challenge from the Committee’s side was that if they were serious about their heritage, they needed to allocate resources. She added that she had a challenge about the leasing of land, taking the perspective of a politician with regard to colonialism and imperialism.

Ms Dlamini said they were now discussing accumulation by disposing -- one accumulated wealth through disposition. An example was when 800 hectares of land were being leased, and there were communities who were occupying that land. Amafa had allowed for grazing on their land, but by the time that the land had been leased, it had already been grazed throughout the year. She assumed that the area was for the traditional leadership. She would have preferred that Amafa had rather asked traditional leaders for their land to be transferred, rather than to lease it. This would be an assurance that it belonged to Amafa. Looking at Amafa’s land presentation, it was more imperialism based, and imperliasm should not be encouraged while culture still neededs to be preserved. Ms Dlamini said that with all the availability of land, the ability to graze should be allowed .

Ms Dlamini said the awards offered by the NHC, and Amafa’s women’s awards, interested her. She said the awards should look at politicians as well. In 1995 when the Committee started, that they were a few women mayors, so they should broaden the category and look at the political arena. Those mayors should be recognised, as they were one of the first 100 women in local government.

She complimented the NHC on previous developments, such as the Makhado mountain, which the Committee had visited. She commented on how the NHC wanted the stop of specific developments, but allowed for real estate to be developed on the land, saying it appeared they allowed black people to be blocked from using the land in favour of the development of real estate.

The Chairperson said that the presentations had proved to be quite enlightening and quite threatening, and they needed to be followed through. She regretted that they could not cover everything. She hoped the Committee could find a good time towards the end of the term to visit the important Amafa sites.

The Chairperson told Amafa by saying that hard decisions needed to be taken when it came to dealing with government departments and entities of departments. Looking at the issue of Isandlwana, one had to consider whether the community would benefit more from tourism activity, in which they were generating income, or if they would make more of a living if they were left as they were, and not do anything with the site. This was a very difficult decision to make. She had attended some of Amafa’s sites, and what they were doing was good, but it needed to be developmental, and these sites should not be stuck with the situation of war between the Zulu and the British. One should begin to be developmental by agreeing that the war did exist. What emerged from the entire process was that people were killed. She was thinking along the lines of the development of bed-and breakfast (BnB) facilities in the area, so that people would be able to generate income from the tourists that were visiting the area. There had to be a school, museum and facilities that developed the people and its area to grow it economically, and not only historically.

The Chairperson said that she had been to the beautiful amaKhosini facility, where she had seen the theatre, its artefacts and its museum. As much as the Committee had expressed their concerns, they should put much more effort into ensuring that people actually benefited from the programme. She emphasised the importance of Nguni cattle, as they generated much money through products like bags, shoes and furniture, so it would be of great economic value if Amafa focused attention there. They should open economic hubs around the area so people could say they were deriving benefit from their heritage, in order to broaden it further.

Regarding the discussed world class museum, the Committee acknowledged how they were training curators, and did give credit where it was due. The museum is at a world class level, and that was not easy to achieve. She spoke about the accreditation of the curators, and asked why they were not being accredited. Why were they giving certificates without accreditation, as the Committee no longer wanted to give certificates that did not have value or currency. People should be given certificates that had value and could be used for employment and business opportunities. This should be followed through, as it was very important.

The Chairperson said there should be recognition of other actors, so that all the actors on board would take one far. She was very happy that Amafa was not working in a silo, because working in silos had resulted in departmental losses. All actors should be brought around the table and share wisdom. In that way, the country would be able to be taken forward. It would not be possible to lump the burden of educating the nation on the teacher in classroom. It was also the responsibility of the parents to educate their own children, and they were the primary teachers. Parents should acquaint themselves with knowledge first in order to educate their children about who they were. Regarding the traditional authority areas, black people were at a loss because of their attitude, which played a major role. In traditional areas, one would find that kings would educate the children about who they were, their clans and lineage. Those issues fell squarely within the ambit of the king and his council in the area. Boys and girls were clustered according to their ages and trained and informed about the values of their communities. People did not embrace their culture anymore because of factors such as social media, as mentioned by Ms Mpambo-Sibhukwana.

She asked about the books brought by the NHC, and says that they were fot community libraries, school libraries and university libraries, adding that they were not in the language that communities would understand. These were the issues the NHC needed to sit around the table and discuss. She asked for the books to be left behind so that she could take them -- and jokingly said the bill should follow afterwards! She emphasised that the world of information brought by the NHC should not end in Parliament’s library, and that they should be out in the communities. She asked if these books were in the catalogue for basic education, and if teachers had the opportunity to choose from these books for their set work and catalogues. Was there an option to buy the books? The Minister of Education should prescribe these books because of the value and currency of the information.

The Chairperson said that the NHC had a lot a lot of work to do, and she did not know if they were aware of this. Did the general public know about the NHC? Did the NHC use the media to educate the population in general about the values of African culture and traditions? Did the NHC have radio slots where people could communicate and phone in? All areas in South Africa had community radio stations. These were ways of accessing communities. These were the issues of the Committee, and the NHC should go back and look at themselves in order to take the nation forward.

The Chairperson said that in 1976 there had been political protest and unrest. There had been schools like “Naledi” and Orlando High School, and asked whether they had been profiled as schools that were central. Such schools had changed the landscape of education in the country. She asked to what extent they were celebrated -- where were the statues? She would not go deeper into the discussion as this was quite emotive. The Committee appreciated their work, which was why they worried about the budget that was allocated to such departments. The NHC had a big responsibility in preserving the national heritage, and then they were treated as a “Cinderella” department when it came to the budget. There needed to be a balance for departments not to be so constrained with regard to the delivery of their mission to the communities. The Committee would support all of the NHC’s endeavours. 

In conclusion, with regard to land issues, she said that most black people had been farm workers and that the bones of their fathers and grandfathers were in some parts of certain farms, and they should be allowed access. Remembrance was very important due to some people’s belief systems. The Committee’s Members were firstly humans and not political parties. All love should emanate on the basis that we are all humans.

The last issue was that there were projects that the NHC had funded in 2016, and applications for projects to be funded now. However, last year there were communities that the NHC had not funded. She asked if it was because they had not applied. There had been many applications -- Gauteng had 95, the Eastern Cape had 48, and KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) had 41. She asked if the NHC was going to be funding all of these projects, and what the selection criteria for the NHC to fund them.

Amafa’s response

Dr Mnculwane responded to Mr Hattingh by saying that the reason he did not see some of the things on the website was because Amafa did not have an IT person due to budget limitations, and the little that could be seen was done by Mr Van Vuuren in his own spare time. When it came to the financial reports, except for 2016/2017 and 2017/2018, there were reports and qualified audits. For the five years prior to that, they had received clean audits in succession. It had not been clear in the invitation that they needed to bring their reports, otherwise they would have enjoyed gloating about their successes. The reports would be forwarded.

In regard to their formal council name, Dr Mnculwane said they usually referred to themselves as Amafa/Heritage Kwazulu Natal. Having said that, the provincial department had made a policy decision to merge the current Amafa with the heritage chief directorate that existed in the Office of the Premier, to form what they were going to call the KZN and Amafa Research Institute. He said that the entity remained, but with the added function of research, which would give it a basic and applied research function. Amafa was still going to be a creature of statute. The bill was already with Parliament, and they were in the final stages of that process.

Mr Van Vuuren referred to Hattingh’s first question about why Amafa did not have an IT section, as it spoke to the question about social media. He said that in order to have effective social media, one had to be involved with social media on a regular basis. Amafa did have a Facebook page which had a group that posted regular items of interest, but the organization lacked a person who could act as a webmaster and a social media master. He looked for items pertaining to heritage in the country, which he posted at night. He explained that Amafa had suffered a 40% budget cut in the past three years, and had not appointed anyone in the past four years. It had directorates that were operating with 30% staff.

On the question of battlefields, Mr Van Vuuren said that there was a perception that Amafa focused on battlefields, which is why the questions were received the way they were. He explained how they manage their suite of heritage, starting with their programmes as a whole. There was the research and compliance section, which dealt with the developmental side of heritage and the impact it had on heritage. In the support services section, there were a number of sub-sections that looked at heritage identification in existing projects. For Isandlwana there was a small section, and the sites of conflict portion consisted of Isandlwana and Spioenkop and 43 other sites of conflict, which were largely colonial sites. They would include Majuba and Ngcome .

Mr Van Vuuren said that every single site of conflict was managed in terms of management guidelines that looked at the threats to the site, and the mitigation that was possible in the light of constraints. Each site had a checklist that needed to be followed by the management team. Where possible, Amafa outsourced the responsibility.  He gave the example of how Majuba was owned by another entity, stating that they had taken over the management of the site. Similarly, at Ngcome, the Msunduzi Museum had taken responsibility for the site.

Amafa had secured a small grant from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to bolster funding of the maintenance of certain colonial cemeteries associated with the South African War. Battlefields were not Amafa’s core function. The reason that Amafa focused on battlefields was because they were part of an important component of the tourism product of the province. There was an expectation from the province, which was why they promoted them. 

Mr Van Vuuren responded to the issue of the nine facets of the legislation by saying they had carefully extracted from those legislated mandates a number core objectives which were related to preservation, presentation and education.

Mr Van Vuuren said that Amafa’s education officer interacted with the education department on how heritage could be integrated into the syllabus.

Regarding traditional leaders, one of the functions involving support services was heritage projects. Amafa had a heritage identification programme which largely involved them going into traditional areas, where they dealt directly with amakhosi and extracted information about ancestral progenitors. As a result of this, they had extracted 35 progenitor memorials that spoke to local heritages based on traditional leadership.

Ms Dlamini said that there should be a structure at board level.

Mr Van Vuuren referred to the use of the word “projectivisation,” which was simply semantics to make it possible to get a presentation such as this. He explained that what it meant was taking heritage out of the realm of the theoretical and putting something on the ground that the public could see. He suggested that perhaps “programme” was a better word.

He referred to the lease question by saying that much land was on Ingonyama Trust property, and that was the only mechanism that the organisation had in place in order to allow for another entity to utilise it for a particular purpose. Amafa was tied into things over which it did not have much control. He knew that the Ingonyama Trust was transferring most of their leases to “permission to occupy” (PTO), but the beneficiations associated with the original agreements would still stand.

Mr Van Vuuren answered to the last set of questions by the Chairperson, saying that BnBs and schools were important. He referred to the Isandlwana lodge, which was a result of development, and employed people brought from the community. There was a school funded by Amafa -- a high school at Isaondlwana. Another school on the way to Shehane was funded by the first tranche of funding that had come out of those 25% of gate takings. The gate takings were reliant on how many people visited the battlefield, which ran at around 700 000 or 800 000 a year, but R200 000 would be allocated to the Traditional Council. It was not a lot of money, but it was not “peanuts” either.

The Chairperson said that Amafa could respond to her other questions in writing. 

NHC’s response

Mr V Noma, Deputy Director General (DDG): Department of Arts and Culture (DAC), said that the NHC had noted the Committee’s comments, which provided advice on strengthening the Council’s work. He said that the mandate of the DAC was the institution of social cohesion. Everything that had been said by the NHC responded to the mandate, which was the transformation of heritage. The NHC had conducted a transformation charter throughout the country. He said that heritage was emotive, and the NHC could not have social cohesion if communities did not agree or see heritage as being affirmed. Everything they did was in response to that.

The NHC valued the opportunity to appear before the Committee with the books that they valued, and they would leave all the books they had brought.

He responded to the question of languages by saying that South Africa was not developing in terms of their languages. For English and Afrikaans to be official languages had required policy formulations. He said that African languages were not a priority of the Department of Education, and that that the NHC needed to move more from the preservation of language to the development of language.  He said heritage levies should be imposed. The NHC wanted to maintain heritage sites because of their reservoir of knowledge and their presence as centres of excellence.

The Chairperson asked that the issues of both Amafa and the National Heritage Council that had been left unattended, should be conveyed in writing to the Committee, and that they would be responded to.

The meeting was adjourned.



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: