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ARTS, CULTURE, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
11 November 2003
STATUTES ON INTERNATIONAL CENTRE FOR GENETIC ENGINEERING AND BIOTECHNOLOGY; SADC PROTOCOL ON CULTURE, INFORMATION AND SPORT; FREEDOM PARK REPORTS: ADOPTION
Chairperson: Ms M Njobe
Documents handed out:
ARTS, CULTURE, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
SADC Protocol on Culture, Information and Sport
SA membership of the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology
Freedom Park Report (Appendix1)
Committee Minutes for 9, 16, and 23 September 2003
The adoption of reports was a mere formality as the Portfolio Committee had previously agreed on the reports. However, the Democratic Alliance chose to abstain on the Protocol Report and the Report on the Membership to Statutes on International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnololgy, but agreed on adopting the Freedom Park report. The failure to release minutes to Members timeously by the Committee secretaries was raised as a concern. All reports and minutes were adopted. The alleged suspension of a Senior Management official was discussed.
Membership to Statutes on International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology report (ICGEB).The Chairperson referred to a briefing on this issue by the department. Please see attached document. Its reappearance for consideration was explained as procedural as there needed to be an official sitting of Parliament to adopt the report. Mr Opperman (DA) abstained as the committee adopted the report.
SADC Protocol on Culture, Information and Sport report.
The Committee now needed to confirm the report and officially adopt it. Mr Opperman on behalf of the DA abstained but the Committee adopted the report.
DiscussionMr S L Dithebe (ANC) felt that the Department needed to adhere to set procedures when any policy instrument needed to be tabled.
Mr M Cassim (PJC) clarified that it was actually not the Department's fault but rather the fault of the passage of procedure in parliament.
Mr S Opperman (DA) requested that it be noted that he abstained from taking any decision related to the adoption of both reports.
Mr Dithebe felt that the Committee had agreed to adopt the respective reports and no issues related to the issue had been raised then. Mr Opperman was well within his democratic rights, however his decision would not change the Committee's decision to adopt both reports.
Freedom Park Study Tour
Mr Cassim moved for the adoption of the report; Mr Opperman seconded the proposal. The Chairperson emphasised that this did not in any way close the chapter on Freedom Park discussion as in 2004 would be the 10th anniversary, Freedom Park would be at the cornerstone of these celebrations.
Ms H Mpaka (ANC) asked whether any follow up had been made by the Portfolio Committee on the recommendations sent to SAHRA.
The Chairperson explained that they had attempted to do so when speaking to them telephonically, but SAHRA had not responded. A further follow up to find out what they had done on the recommendations would be pursued.
Ms Mpaka proposed that the minutes be adopted; Mr Dithebe seconded the proposal.
16 September 2003 Minutes
The Chairperson pointed out that the minutes contained the content of the briefing, questions and comments made, but no recommendations.
Ms Mdlalose (IFP) pointed out that her presence at the meetings of both the 9th and the 16th September was not reflected whereas she had attended these meetings.
Mr Dithebe felt that in the light of the adoption of the first protocol (ICGEB), the Committee needed to keep a constant check on compliance with respect to these instruments. The Portfolio Committee needed to regard themselves as custodians entrusted by the public.
The Chairperson asked how the Committee could ensure that there was continual follow up in practice.
Mr Cassim suggested the secretaries could make use of a register, and made reference to a Parliament in India was used to follow up on issues once decisions had taken place.
Mr Dithebe highlighted that computers had adequate programmes to ensure competence in this regard; and that the Committee had agreed on a format to track down decisions.
The Chairperson explained that the was a vast amount of follow up work, hence it was an ongoing exercise which included the Committee's oversight work. She also appealed to the secretaries that needed to be written and submitted on time to the Committee. Subcommittees could also assist in making sure that the following up was done. The minutes were adopted.
23 September 2003 Minutes
Mr Cassim was concerned that the Department had not sent the Committee follow up reports as per their undertaking. He proposed that the minutes be adopted and that a reminder be sent to the department.
Ms Mpaka seconded the proposal after highlighting a grammatical error.
Arts Council Suspension of Senior Management
Mr Cassim brought to the Portfolio Committee attention that a very reliable source had informed him that an official in the senior management of the Arts Council had been suspended. If the board had indeed taken this decision, it should have informed Portfolio Committee. Mr Cassim made an appeal through the Chairperson to make an intervention by getting information to find out what had happened.
Mr Opperman expressed his reluctance at having the Committee engaged in discussing this issue based on information from an unknown so called reliable source.he felt that it was premature.
Mr Dithebe suggested that the office of the Chairperson ought to establish the authenticity of this information by contacting the office of the Director General. The Director-General's office would investigate and then brief the Portfolio Committee accordingly.
Ms A Van Wyk (NNP) requested the Committee to support her efforts in getting the SABC Director-General to put Africa opera on the map by recording and broadcasting it on their programming. She also extended an invitation to the Committee members to take time to listen to the opera in Cape Town.
The Chairperson thanked Ms Van Wyk for the awareness, assured her the Committee would respond positively to the invitation and requested that she kept on driving this project as a lot still needed to be done to get people to appreciate South Africa's diverse culture.
Ms T Tshivase (ANC) and Ms Mdlalose (IFP) volunteered to join Ms Van Wyk to form a subcommittee.
The meeting was adjourned.
Report of the Portfolio Committee on Arts, Culture, Science and Technology delegation's Visit to Freedom Park., Gauteng, 11 April 2003.
The Delegation, under the leadership of Mrs. T J Tshivhase (ANC) included Mr. V C
Gore (DP), Ms X C Makasi (ANC), Dr Rabinowitz (IFP) and Cornmittee Secretary' Mr.
The purpose of the visit was to meet with members of the Freedom Park Board and to monitor the structural progress that has been made with the building of the park.
The Freedom Park project is a national Government project, approved by Cabinet in June 1989.The project entails the development of commemorative structures at the Salvokop site in Pretoria. The object of the Freedom Park project is to establish visible cultural structures that celebrate and commemorate the rich tapestry of events that have taken place on South African soil, from the Cradle of Humanity" through pre-history to colonization to the struggle for democracy and stretching beyond to a vision for the future.
The delegation met with the Executive Chairperson of the Freedom Park Trust, Dr Waly Serote, officials and other members of staff.
Dr Serote gave the delegation a brief on the progress that has been made regarding the project and mentioned some of the potential problems that the Trust is faced with. In particular, the present housing complex~ which is still under occupation. Attempts to try and relocate the people staying in those houses have failed, but there are ongoing discussions between the Trust and Transnet who are the owners of the complex , to try and resolve the problem.
Another concern for the Trust is the possible impact of the Gautrain on the building of the monument. The train will ostensibly travel right through the middle of the park. An ad-hoc committee, consisting of eight Ministries the Presidency and the Trust, have been tasked to try and resolve this problem.
Freedom Park consist of three major elements:
1. The Memorial, which is centered around the anti-apartheid struggle, the anti -colonial struggle and historical events. The structure is expected to be completed by 2006,
2. The Museum, which emphasizes the acknowledgement, preservation and presentation of South Africa's history for present and future generations and
3. The Garden of Remembrance, which focuses on people's or communities positive contribution to the development of the country.
The delegation was also addressed by two Traditional Healers, Ms Matshilo Motsei and Ms Koena Tsebe, who served as consultants for the Trust. The two were also tasked to conduct research on the spiritual significance of the rock, water and circle in African life to healing. They mentioned that it is envisaged that the Garden of Remembrance will become a sacred space designed For individual and group spiritual uplifting. Constituted by boulders and water, the Garden will represent a home founded on and as solid as a rock, whilst its spirit flows and cleanses like water. One of the pre-requisite activities that needs to be done before the construction can begin is the Provincial and National cleansing and healing process. This (process) has started already in the Provinces. Boulders (to immortalize the departed), soil and provincial heritage plants, to be used as symbols oF unity and healing, will be collected from all the nine provinces. The President has already planted a Few indigenous trees at the park. It is through the boulders that the departed will be immortalized. There will also be a boulder representing National Government. Boulders from foreign countries, where our people Fell, will be brought in by Ambassadors of those countries, to the hill.
The delegation was taken to the site at Salvokop and shown the different construction level points. It became clear that there still remains a lot to be done, including security .~t the site, but the delegation was pleased with what they observed and the progress made to the construction of the park. There is no doubt that all South AFricans will be proud of the park which is scheduled For completion around 2010.
The delegation wishes to commend Dr Serote and the Freedom Park Board, including staff, for the inspirational work that they are doing.
The Portfolio Committee on Arts, Culture , Science and Technology is committed to ensuring that the representation of historical truth is as inclusive as possible, reflecting the parts played by a wide range of role-players. To this end, future interaction and feedback between those writing the history and the Committee should be ongoing. This will feed into the objective of healing and reconciliation.
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