The Portfolio Committee on Sports, Arts and Culture (the ‘Committee’) convened virtually to be briefed by the Cultural and Creative Industries Federation of South Africa (CCIFSA) on their audited financial statements; progress made to date and how this body, especially at this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, is supporting practitioners in the cultural and creative sector. The Committee was also briefed by the Ministerial Advisory Team (MAT) on its efforts to support practitioners in the cultural and creatives industry. The meeting was attended by Deputy Minister of Sports, Arts, and Culture.
The Federation said that it was established as a non-profit organisation, to be a statutory body for the cultural and creative industries. Its mandate is to unify and transform the industries; to represent their interests at governmental, social, business and economic levels; to unlock the full economic potential of the cultural and creative industries for the benefit of the creative workers whilst taking into consideration the sectors’ contribution to the triple bottom line (inequality, poverty and unemployment).
The Federation outlined some of its key achievements such as hosting of its first National Conference, along with the challenges it presented as well as the Department interventions to alleviate those challenges.
The Federation indicated that the COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on its operations. After the national lockdown announcement by the President on 23 March 2020, the creative industry was badly affected. Numerous arts practitioners were left without an income due to loss of job opportunities. The Federation engaged with the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture through the office of the Minister; the engagement started immediately after the announcement of lockdown by the President of the country, in March. The entity’s engagement with the Department resulted in an announcement of R150 million that was set aside to assist athletes and artists.
The Deputy Minister reported that Minister Nathi Mthethwa had facilitated a dialogue that sought to find means for the Department of Sports, Arts & Culture, and the cultural and creative sector to work together in an effort to alleviate the negative impact of Covid-19. The Ministerial Advisory Team (MAT) was hence set up, whilst numerous relief measures were pursued.
The very first mission of the industry experts on the Advisory Team was to work with the Department to remove bottlenecks, resolve challenges and fast-track the third phase of Relief Funding. The actions included: to provide increased and adapted capacity to assist practitioners to become compliant and resubmit applications; negotiating with Revenue Services to temporarily adjust the criteria of tax compliance and accept all applicants with valid tax numbers; bring in extra resources to fast tract the processing of applications.
In the discussion, the Committee asked questions regarding when the Federation’s next Annual General Meeting was. Members also asked about its audited financial statements and financial breakdowns. What is the status of the Federation’s finances? How many practitioners have benefitted from the COVID-19 relief fund? What is the current membership of the Federation?
They asked why the Federation was not visible on social media or on the internet. How do people reach and contact the Federation? Does the Federation have a national database? They also asked for clarification regarding the entity’s logo.
The Committee directed questions at the Ministerial Advisory Team (MAT). In the discussion, there were questions regarding whether the Advisory Team comprises of volunteers, or if the members do get remunerated. How much do they get paid? What is the budget of Advisory? What has it done to mitigate artists being evicted from their residences due to defaulting on their rental payment, because of the pandemic?
Members also asked if the Advisory Team and the Federation were one body. How many artists or practitioners have successfully been able to claim from the Covid-19 benefit? What is the Team doing to assist practitioners, particularly those who had to resubmit applications?
Introductory Remarks by Chairperson
The Chairperson opened the virtual meeting, welcoming the Members, support staff and all the guests to the meeting. She noted that Minister Nathi Mthethwa, Mr B Madlingozi (EFF), Mr C Sibisi (NFP) forwarded their apologies to the Committee.
The agenda for 31 August 2021 was considered by the Committee.
Mr B Mamabolo (ANC) moved for the adoption of the agenda. Ms R Adams (ANC) seconded.
Deputy Minister’s Remarks
Deputy Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, Ms Nocawe Mafu, acknowledged the Committee and highlighted that the Cultural and Creative Industries Federation of South Africa (CCIFSA) will present to the Committee its audited financial statements; progress made to date and how this body, especially at this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, is supporting practitioners in the cultural and creative sector; and a briefing by the Ministerial Advisory Team on the efforts to support practitioners in the cultural and creatives industry.
DSAC Briefing on Cultural and Creative Industries Federation of South Africa (CCIFSA)
Mr Vusi Mkhize, Director-General, DSAC, took Members through the presentation. The CCI sector continues to be fragmented thus making it difficult to realise its potential as a major economic player, and to realise social cohesion and nation building. CCIFSA was created to provide a conducive environment through which artists could organise themselves. The Department supported the process of establishing the organisation, which would also be a sounding board and platform for consultation in policy development. It has always been the intention of the Department for CCIFSA to be independent, self-reliant, owned and controlled by the sector. Government has always, and continues, to recognise the contribution of the sector in the struggle for liberation and values the sector’s contribution towards the development of a democratic and prosperous South Africa. Covid-19 has had a devastating effect on the sector, hence the need for its unity, for its successful economic recovery and sustainability.
A background summary of CCIFSA was given. In 2009, former President Jacob Zuma met with the cultural and creative practitioners as part of understanding their challenges. It was reported at the meeting that, despite various efforts to unify the cultural and creative industries, the sector continued to be fragmented, thus making it difficult to realise its potential to social cohesion, nation building and contribution to the South African economy. At this historic meeting, an agreement was reached for the establishment of a structure that will act as a unifying voice for the development and governance of the sector. As a follow-up to the above, the Department initiated the formation of an interim task team comprising of key leaders of the sector to develop a draft concept and strategy towards the development and formation of the proposed representative body.
Numerous challenges were experienced by the CCIFSA interim task team leading to the First National Conference emanating from the complexities in the sector such as amongst others; fragmentation, sector politics, lack of unity, varying views on how the organisation of the sector should be approached. Due to these dynamics, the First CCIFSA National Conference was tarnished with a number of tensions and challenges, namely:
-The concept and MOI were rejected by the 1st Conference and as such was not adopted.
-The elections took place under extreme difficulty of various contestations, however eventually a compromise was reached, and a new committee was elected.
-The newly elected CCIFSA committee was mandated to do further and rigorous national consultations with the sector, especially at grassroots level in order to bring on board stakeholders who felt excluded.
Coupled with the latter, the committee was also tasked to engage in interrogation of the concept and MOI as part of the national consultations, and to facilitate a process towards hosting the Second CCIFSA national task team, where the concept and MOI would be finalised and adopted.
In the process of following up on the new mandate, the new CCIFSA committee was confronted with a barrage of further challenges, as they engaged in national consultations with various sector stakeholders for the review of the draft concept and MOI and arrangements for the Second CCIFSA National Elective Conference.
There were two interventions to mitigate the challenges. The first intervention was the Department facilitating several interventions, namely: coordinating a task team comprising of CCIFSA Executive and disgruntled creative industry players who were not happy with the approach that the new elected CCIFSA committee was handling the matters. The disgruntled members were also concerned that, since the conference in Mangaung, the CCIFSA Board never had an Annual General Meeting (AGM) and never accounted to its members, and they wanted the CCIFSA executive to be disbanded by the Ministry. The second intervention was the Department assisting in facilitating the Second CCIFSA National Conference. The Department officials mobilised creatives to attend meetings from local level to national level, starting from Districts Municipalities, leading to Provincial Summits that culminated in a National Elective Conference.
There were allegations reported to the Public Protector. There were dissatisfactions by some members of the CCI, on how the previous CCIFSA leadership conducted its business. There were formal complaints submitted against the previous CCIFSA Board, particularly allegations of maladministration of funds and such were submitted to the Public Protector and the SIU (Special Investigating Unit). The Public Protector declined to investigate this matter on the basis that CCIFSA is not an organ of state, and its conduct does not amount to conduct in state affairs. Upon request by the SIU, the Department appointed a company to review the financial records of CCIFSA with regard to the utilisation of funding allocated, and a report was submitted for further handling
Some of the key achievements of the first committee include establishing and hosting of the Usiba Arts Awards as well as the management and support to Downtown Music Hub.
Following the appointment of the Interim Committee, the Department concluded a three-year funding agreement with the Interim Committee of CCIFSA. The grant allocated was R 15 784 000 as follows:
-R5 784 000 in 2014-15
-R5 000 000 in 2015-16
-R5 000 000 in 2016-17
-R2 500 000 in 2020/21
-R5 000 000 in 2021/22
After a few delays the President of CCIFSA, Ms Joy Mbewana, connected to the meeting. She apologised for arriving late to the meeting due to technical issues. She took Members through the presentation
CCIFSA is a body whose primary focus is to represent all sectors of the cultural and creative industries. Its objective is:
-To unify and transform the industries.
-To represent their interests at governmental, social, business and economic levels.
-To unlock the full economic potential of the cultural and creative industries for the benefit of the creative workers whilst taking into consideration the sectors’ contribution to the triple bottom line (inequality, poverty and unemployment).
CIFSA was established as a non-profit organisation to be a statutory body for the cultural and creative industries. This came after the engagement with President Jacob Zuma in 2009 and the subsequent National Summit in 2011.
The need arose to organise all practitioners in the performing arts, visual arts, technical services and events, design, electronic media, crafts, publishing, cultural tourism, ethno-tourism, cultural groups, cultural heritage and cultural entrepreneurship. In the endeavour to organise these industries, practitioners are in a position to be protected from unscrupulous practices, and have their social and economic conditions improved. It is the belief of the CCIFSA constituency that if in its existence as an Act of Parliament it will have a legal mandate to develop and promote the arts, CCIFSA should be seen from a viewpoint that it is an organisation building blocks for a statutory body. In the final analysis, it has to market itself and the sectors it represents. CCIFSA is located in the creative economy whose members are not beneficiaries of its value chain; those who are beneficiaries contribute to the national GDP very minimally.
A series of events that took place leading to the establishment of the CCIFSA are as follows:
On 24 March 2015, Minister Mthethwa took a great step to establish a formal structure of CCIFSA and said “We are embarking on this approach in order to assist in the formalisation of the cultural and creative industry sector, a role player in the economy and create an enabling environment for the growth of the sector and to make it easier to manage, fund and operate. The approach of organizing the creative sector in this manner is common globally.”
-The first CCIFSA conference took place in Mangaung, in the Free State, on 21-23 March 2015. The conference saw the election of the leadership led by Mr Tony Kgoroge;
-The second national elective conference was held from 23- 25 August 2019 at Ngwenyama Lodge, in the City of Mbombela in Mpumalanga; it elected the current leadership led by Ms Joy Mbewana.
-This National Conference consisted of 343 delegates, comprising of (27 delegates coming from each province, thus making a total of 243; plus 100 members from the National General Council (NGC);
-The NGC was established at the First CCIFSA Conference held in 2015, where there were 90 delegates elected to the (NGC) and an additional 10 delegates elected from existing national bodies, thus making the total number of NGC members to amount to 100 members. The 100 NGC members were automatically moved to participate fully at the Second CCIFSA National Conference.
-The conference agreed that there must be a national policy conference that will guide the federation with all relevant and compliance documents.
-Since the establishment of CCIFSA, there are still a lot of challenges in the SA Creative Economy Sector Industry at large. The entity believes that the federation is the only remedy to cure all the challenges encountered by the creative industry.
-CCIFSA must be visible to the creative workers, and lead to unity of all the creative workers guided by policies adopted in the policy conference that took place in Durban, December 2020, in moving the industry forward to fulfil the practitioners’ mandates.
-CCIFSA is engaging in the process of realigning itself into a Creative Economy Business Entity in terms of operations and management.
-This approach is informed by the need to position SA Creative Economy as a competitive global player.
-Various South African creative workers (Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Nomcebo and Master KG, Dr John Kani, just to mention a few) have demonstrated that SA is endowed with cultural and artistic talents to influence the world to consume SA products and services.
The role of CCIFSA is to organise all sectors under one umbrella body; to enable the environment of the creative industry for creatives; to ensure sectors are growing, sustainable, operational and competitive; to promote skills development in the sector amongst other various roles.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on CCIFSA. After the national lockdown announcement by the President on 23 March 2020, the creative industry was badly affected. Numerous arts practitioners were left without an income due to loss of job opportunities. Most of the arts practitioners’ activities are audience-based; due to the lockdown the loss of audience led to the loss of revenue. Most creative workers found themselves homeless and not able to afford rent. They are independent contractors; it is no-work-no-pay sector. The regulation demands of COVID-19 put a lot of strain to the artists, as they struggled with the basics like masks and sanitisers, etc; This pandemic immediately forced arts practitioners to move into the digital platforms; This is a huge a crisis, as most of rural- and township-based arts practitioners do not have access to online facilities and access means to data or airtime. SA creatives have not been given an opportunity or resources to conceptualise, design and implement their own digital platforms.
CCIFSA engaged with the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture through the office of Minister Nathi Mthethwa; the engagement started immediately after the announcement of lockdown by the President of the country, in March 2020. This came at a time when artists were seriously in need of government assistance and intervention to get through this tough time that our country and the global world is facing. It is evident that the arts and culture sector is the hardest hit by the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. Subsequently, the unavoidable lockdown has had a negative financial impact on artists; CCIFSA engagement with the Department resulted in an announcement of R150 million that was set aside to assist athletes and artists. From that level, there was a committee of 15 external panellists, which was appointed by the Minister, to focus on applicants who need assistance. It was of utmost importance that this committee consists of credible people (panellists) who have an understanding of the needs of the artists as well as the sector. Furthermore, the federation then encouraged the Provincial Task Teams through Sector leaders to engage with Provincial departments in allocating the budget for artists. It was not easy because not all provinces cooperated in working with CCIFSA to assist artists; Also, the Federation saw a need to go outside the scope of engaging one department and also had fruitful talks with Department of Small Business Development in setting aside R11.5 million for visual arts, craft and design. The Department also pledged R11.5 million. This project was successfully implemented.
Key achievements of CCIFSA include:
-After the entity’s 2019 election conference in Mpumalanga, the Department assisted the entity with R2.5 million to deliver the policy conference, which the entity delivered. The entity’s current communication with the Department is for the Department to assist it with the operational budget. CCIFSA really had a progressive policy conference, attended by EThekwini Municipality Mayoral Committee Member, the MEC, the Premier and the Minister (see Policy resolutions in the next slide).
-As the process took nine months to receive organisational documents, the entity did not just fold arms; it continued working for the sector, engaging stakeholders such as NFVF – where partnerships were secured, e.g., leading to workshops around provinces to assist filmmakers.
-The Federation hosted the Women's Wings launch, with the objective to give women in the creative industry a platform to strengthen and empower themselves based on challenges they face in the creative industry.
-The Federation had requested the Department to establish the appeals committee in order to accelerate the release of relief funds to the artists, to which the Department listened, noting the artists were experiencing difficulties with the first-wave relief funds.
-KZN Department of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation has agreed to partner with CCIFSA in running virtual and physical programmes for artists, and also pay them in a process.
The Chairperson acknowledged CCIFSA and the Deputy Minister. She thanked CCIFSA for their presentation to the Committee. She expressed that, when CCIFSA presents to the Committee, information must be shared with colleagues of CCIFSA, as a lot of time was taken for the Committee to receive this information due to delays with CCIFSA members connecting late to the meeting.
Mr T Mhlongo (DA) thanked CCIFSA for its presentation. He pointed out that CCIFSA’s Board of Directors is not diverse. He questioned why the President of CCIFSA did not attend the Committee’s oversight visit. When is CCIFSA’s next Annual General Meeting? Where are the CCIFSA’s audited financial statements and financial breakdowns?
Why was no one from the North West consulted? What does financial management policy six entail? Why was the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) rejected in the first place? What is the status of CCIFSA’s finances? Why did KwaZulu-Natal distance itself from the conference that was held in KZN? Why was CCIFSA’s Secretary-General suspended for three months, and what is the status of the suspension? Can CCIFSA please share its minutes with the Committee?
Regarding the R5 million on policy conference outcome, what is the reason for this? What are CCIFSA’s assets? Is there a database of all creative arts? Why is CCIFSA not visible on social media or on the internet? Does CCIFSA membership allow for its members to sign in? How does CCIFSA employ its members?
Ms V Van Dyk (DA) asked for clarification regarding CCIFSA’s logo. What is the current CCIFSA base membership? Regarding slide three of the presentation, she asked the entity to detail the members of CCIFSA. What do the membership forms of CCIFSA look like? How do people reach CCIFSA? Regarding conferences in Bloemfontein and Mpumalanga, can CCIFSA provide a list of the national sector leaders who did not attend and the reasons as to why they did not attend? Are the South African Guild of Actors, the Theatre of Dance Alliance, etc., part of CCIFSA?
What is meant by six organisations under slide 14, relief fund participation? How were these six organisations selected? Can CCIFSA provide the names of these six organisations?
Ms P Malomane (ANC) had a question regarding slide 16. She first noted that one province did not work with CCIFSA. What is the name of this province, and what is the situation as it stands? Does CCIFSA have a national database? How many practitioners have benefitted from the Covid-19 relief fund? What is the current membership of CCIFSA? Are the financial statements in 2018 a true reflection of affairs, as the statement was not signed?
The Chairperson indicated that she will ask her questions when a follow-up is given.
Mr D Joseph (DA) said that the Department’s mandate is to promote social cohesion and nation building. There is a dark cloud surrounding financial accountability of CCIFSA.
He directed a question to the Department, asking if it supported recommendation by artists who want to be recognised as workers. What is the Department doing about this? Are there any timeframes regarding programmes and projects being publicised by CCIFSA?
Ms M Khawula (EFF) stated that the President of CCIFSA has a duty to ensure the organisation is running smoothly. Communication from CCIFSA is made only in English; rural communities cannot be excluded from this communication. The President must demonstrate that CCIFSA goes to people on the ground, with evidence presented to the communities. Small, rural businesses must be promoted.
The Deputy Minister thanked the Committee for directing questions at CCIFSA.
Ms Mbewana thanked the Committee for its questions and inputs; they help the entity to improve. She first responded to the question of why she did not attend the Committee’s oversight visits in the Free State as well as the NAC. She explained that she had a meeting with the Department, to present the entity’s Digital Monitoring Programme. She had delegated the National Coordinator and one of the advisors of the Office of the President to attend the oversight visit. These officials were not allowed to join the meeting. CCIFSA had representation that was dealing with disputes in the provinces.
Regarding CCIFSA’s finances, she said that they only received R2 500 0000 to deliver a policy conference, which CCIFSA successfully delivered. She said that she does know why the conference was not accepted. Free State Province was the only province to not attend the conference. The Secretary-General (SG) suspension is an internal issue of CCIFSA. She does not deny that the SG was suspended.
The MoU was rejected, as it does not give power to masses on the ground. CCIFSA is not visible on social media, as the entity was more visible on the ground through its structures in provinces and districts. It only uses social media when creating awareness about its programmes. By searching #CCIFSA2020 on social media, more information can be found on the policy conference. Due to limited financial resources, the entity utilises the hierarchy of its structure to relay its interventions to the remote areas.
The Chairperson noted that the president of CCIFSA’s internet connection was acting up. She asked for the Department to chip in.
Ms Khawula asked what kind of president does not have a deputy, who could step in when the president is having connection problems. “We are not playing, here”, she added. She then apologised for speaking out of turn, without being first permitted by the Chairperson.
The Chairperson asked to first give the Department enough time to respond adequately, and thereafter Members could raise their concerns about the entity’s connection problems. Perhaps the other present delegates could also step in and respond on behalf of the CCIFSA President.
The Deputy Minister agreed with the Chairperson that the Committee allow the CCIFSA officials to respond to the questions that have already been asked. She said that the Committee was well within its right to note how the officials were presenting themselves in the meeting.
The Chairperson asked the CCIFSA Treasurer to appraise the Committee about the connection problems that the entity was facing.
Mr Mangaliso Mtshula, Treasurer of CCIFSA, thanked the Committee and the Chairperson. He responded to the questions about financial statements and the money that was transferred to the Federation. He said that the money transferred was earmarked for planning the policy conference. About R1.5 million of the R2.5 million was transferred to the Federation. The conference was then conducted and concluded, and the entity then forwarded the reports.
[poor internet connection]
The Chairperson noted that Mr Mtshula’s internet connection is acting up.
Mr Mhlongo raised a point of order. He asked that all the questions posed by the Committee be answered in writing. It was apparent that the officials are not privy to social media platforms that are commonly used, such as Facebook and WhatsApp. They are not prepared. There are only two members of CCIFSA present in the meeting.
The Chairperson noted Mr Mhlongo’s point of order but said that there are other members of CCIFSA present in the meeting. The Committee must still convene another presentation. The Committee is struggling to hear the members of CCIFSA due to their internet connection. CCIFSA must submit their written responses to the Committee.
Mr Mamabolo (ANC) supported this notion.
Deputy Minister Mafu thanked the Chairperson and apologised on behalf of the Department and CCIFSA. She acknowledged that CCIFSA did not show collectiveness in front of the Committee. Officials from the Department must note this. When presenting in front of a committee, everyone else part of the presentation must chip in if problems are encountered. Written responses must be sent regarding questions raised by the Committee. She noted that the formation of the Cultural Creative Industries Federation of South Africa has not been smooth and has had problems from the beginning. The thinking and reasoning behind this Federation is important for creative industry in South Africa, which is critical to the country’s economy. They can play a big role in economic recovery. The questions posed by the Committee are aimed at how to make the industry stronger, more organised, more effective, and more visible in the communities, etc. CCIFSA must look at ways of becoming more visible and more organised. “We must be critical and honest by asking whether all artists organisation, creative industry in South Africa found home in CCIFSA”, she added. CCIFSA must become organised, just like Sport is organised. When the Minister of the Department put together a Ministerial Advisory Team, this was to bridge the gap to make sure that CCIFSA’s work is being done. Written responses will be sent to the Committee. All the questions raised are meant to make sure that CCIFSA becomes stronger.
The Chairperson thanked the Deputy Minister. She said that the Committee has a role to play regarding oversight. The Chairperson noted that the Committee is not happy with the way CCIFSA convened with the Committee. The Committee also struggled to receive the presentation from CCIFSA. Written responses must be forwarded to the Committee by 01 September 2021. These responses must explain why those small businesses that were part of the conference were not paid. There are small businesses that were part of that conference, who were not paid. The questions posed by the Committee were relevant because CCIFSA must be organised.
Briefing by the Ministerial Advisory Team (MAT)
Relief Measures and Ministerial Advisory Team (MAT) Update Report
Mr Sharief Baker, from the MAT, reported that Minister Nathi Mthethwa had facilitated a dialogue that sought to find means for the Department of Sports, Arts & Culture, and the cultural and creative sector to work together in an effort to alleviate the negative impact of Covid-19. The solutions had to ensure immediate-, medium- to long-term outcomes. The immediate-to-medium was to alleviate Covid-19 impact, whilst the medium-to-long term was to look at resuscitating the sector in the context of the country’s overall Economic Recovery and Reconstruction Plan (ERRP). Consequently, the Ministerial Advisory Team (MAT) was set up whilst numerous relief measures were pursued.
The MAT was set up to:
-Focus on practical solutions for the industry.
-Resolve challenges faced in the implementation of relief mechanisms.
-Provide advice and negotiate with third parties in the public and private sector for various forms of assistance.
-To provide advice as sector practitioners and associations to the Minister on sector challenges.
Members of MAT were selected from names put forward by the cultural and creative sector during a sectoral engagement held at Freedom Park.
The Creation and Role of MAT
The very first mission of the industry experts on the MAT was to work with the Department to remove bottlenecks, resolve challenges and fast track the third phase of relief funding. The actions included: providing increased and adapted capacity to assist practitioners to become compliant and resubmit applications; negotiating with the South African Revenue Services (SARS) to temporarily adjust the criteria of tax compliance and accept all applicants with valid tax numbers; bringing in extra resources to fast-track the processing of applications.
The MAT is divided into five strategic workstreams that work closely with the Department. These are:
Work Stream One: Banking and Landlords Portfolio
The work stream is for engaging SARS, Treasury, and the financial sector to propose interventions on matters such as payment holidays, preventing repossession of assets, as well as engaging the Department of Employment and Labour with regards to Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases (COIDA) Act and TERS. An achievement has been to provide relief for artists, after discussions with COGTA and the Department of Human Settlements, under the Disaster Management Act (regulation 73 & 74, which protects against eviction during the Covid-19 pandemic). TERS was extended and allocated for artists because of SIC codes.
Work Stream Two: Wellness Portfolio
This work stream attends to mental health issues faced by practitioners in these difficult times, as well as their general wellness. A key achievement - The SILAPHA Wellness Programme has been launched and is currently being rolled out across the country, offering various interventions for sector practitioners.
Work Stream Three: School Fees Portfolio
This stream is aimed at ensuring that sector practitioners’ children are not affected and excluded from attending school due to non-payment of fees during the COVID-19 period. A key achievement so far: after engaging with the Department of Basic Education, it has been agreed that, provided that the sector has completed and submitted all financial relief documentation, as well as sector practitioners submitting the Portfolio of Evidence (POE) that proves that they are from the sector, then all school fees for 2020 and 2021 are exempt.
Work Stream Four: Retail and Transport Portfolio
[See presentation document for more details]
Work Stream Five: Private and Corporate Sector Portfolios
These two teams have been set up to engage the private sector and solicit favourable conditions, sustainable stimulus, and sponsorships, to help practitioners continue to sustain their livelihoods during the COVID-19 period. Achievement - Consultation with stakeholders is underway, and progress and will be reported on at a later stage.
The Chairperson thanked MAT and their team for their presentation to the Committee. She opened the floor to Committee Members for questions.
Mr Mhlongo welcomed the presentation without financial accountability. Are the MAT team volunteers or do they get paid? How much is the budget? Do they get allowances or payments? Is MAT is really working? Is MAT assisting artists with landlord issues? What has MAT done to mitigate this? What advice can MAT give the Minister? Is \Trade Union for Musicians of South Africa (TUMSA) happy with the work being done by CCIFSA? CCIFSA and MAT are one body. Three members serve on both CCIFSA and MAT. It is a duplication of work. Since MAT was established in May, what has MAT contributed to the creative industry? Please list MAT’s successes. Is it sustainable for the Department to appoint advisors for each project that MAT is doing? Is TUMSA happy with the progress made to date?
Ms Van Dyk asked for clarity regarding MAT’s financial side. How much are members of MAT paid? Regarding slide 26, referring to school fees: how was this advertised to the public? How many schools made use of this initiative? Regarding the wellness portfolio, when was this portfolio rolled out, where was it rolled out and how many people benefitted from it? Is MAT advertised via a website? How can people contact MAT? How many practitioners have successfully managed to claim from the Covid-19 benefit?
Mr Joseph commented that MAT is a strong intervention. He noted that there is unhappiness within the industry. What are MAT doing to assist practitioners, particularly those who had to resubmit applications? How many organisations approached MAT for support and how many people could MAT support due to the pandemic?
The Chairperson noted that the Committee were keen to hear about MAT’s achievements. The Committee had taken an oversight trip, and it occurred immediately after the pandemic started. MAT must assist the Department with interventions.
Mr Mkhize explained that MAT is appointed such as any other Advisory Board in line with National Treasury. They are paid on a meeting basis. Their work is not necessarily volunteer work. The members being appointed was the prerogative of the Minister, in light of what the sector says. Mr Gabi Le Roux did not appoint himself on the basis of TUMSA. He will represent MAT in this meeting; It would be unfair for him to answer as an individual. There is engagement with sectors to indicate the cultural creative sector’s needs. The engagement is intended to deal with what constitutes a sector and what could be a dispensation.
Mr Baker said that he explained who the members of the MAT team. He clarified that MAT is not part of CCIFSA, nor is CCIFSA part of MAT. MAT does not represent any federation or association whatsoever. For the past 15 months leading up to MAT, there was no recognition or understanding by the Government of South Africa’s creative sector. The Minister heard the plea of the creative sector, as for the past year the sector has been slowly dying. Thus, the MAT was created. MAT is guided via payment from the National Treasury. The members are only paid on a meeting basis. MAT is more concerned about the health of the sector. MAT is working well. By virtue of engagement with the Department of Labour, millions of Rands have been saved, together with school fees through the work that MAT has done. The communication follows down through the creative sector and associations.
Regarding MAT relief funding, he explained that this is an initiative by government. When requested to assist, MAT welcomed the opportunity to help creatives. Unfortunately, the fund does not contain a lot of money. The creative assistance has totalled R650 million invested in the creatives in some form of relief. MAT understood the policy and procedures in how the third phase was issued. There was a big gap regarding the sector not understanding the language administratively, of what the sector needed to supply. MAT went out of their way to help the sector. Deadlines were extended to assist individuals in the sector. MAT are advisors from the creative industry. A political advisor does not come from the creative industry and does not understand its operations. Therefore, MAT provides advice specifically from the creative industry.
Regarding school fees communication, he clarified that all the communication went through the Department. Not all MAT members are a member of CCISFA. MAT has a long way to go to communicate to all corners of South Africa, especially the rural areas. More work must be done to realise this goal to communicate to all corners of South Africa.
Concerning contact to the centre, people can contact MAT through the Department and through MAT’s constituents. MAT is rectifying this issue, so that there is more contact and engagement. Currently, communication is done through social media, but this is not enough. Engagements with various stakeholders are long ongoing. Unity is lacking in the creative sector, but through the work done with other stakeholders, unity will be formed. At the next Committee meeting, MAT will be able to share exactly how many people they have assisted. MAT would like to continue to engage with the Department’s approval.
Mr Gabi Le Roux, member of MAT, acknowledged the Committee. He thanked the Committee Members for summoning MAT. MAT is not the same as CCIFSA. TUMSA is not a member organisation of CCIFSA. MAT is in talks with various Departments, and this forms the basis of a successful intervention.
He said that publicity of school fees was widely publicised and all-over social media. He is happy to share the document with the Committee. The document was publicised through all of the structures of the creative industries, and it was well-received.
Regarding TUMSA, he said that he was not here to report to the Committee regarding TUMSA; it is a trade union and/or labour organisation that functions in its own right.
Dr Cynthia Khumalo, DDG: Arts and Culture Promotion and Development, DSAC, expanded on the payment issue. She said that the members of MAT are paid against subcategory A2 for the meetings they attend. The Department covers the travel and accommodation where applicable. MAT participated in activities in Mpumalanga, where MAT could engage with the industry in that province. A total of 36 meetings have been paid for, but a number of meetings held by MAT have not been paid for.
Mr Mhlongo asked MAT if they think that CCIFSA is working in a sense that there is no collectiveness in the creative industries. Which organisation was MAT a part of? He maintained that he has a right to ask a question in the Committee. Is the Minister happy with CCISFA? What is the total cost of the 36 meetings held by MAT? If one opens a relief fund for only a few days, how do artists find out about this relief fund?
The Chairperson noted Mr Mhlongo’s questions. Due to the time limit, those questions that cannot be answered in this meeting must be forwarded to the Committee in writing.
Ms Khawula noted that the DM had been deployed to the province of KwaZulu-Natal, and she asked when the DM would visit the province to see those conducting cultural activities, who are looking for support so that they can develop. Local artists need to be given relief funds, and helped to progress.
Deputy Minister Closing Remarks
The Deputy Minister said that since the pandemic began, the Department has been criticised a lot about how they have responded to the creative sector. The creative industries spoke to the Minister about their challenges. The Committee also reckoned that the Department was not doing enough. MAT was a response to all the points raised, including those related to the creative sector. MAT will be able to bridge the gap between the things that the Committee has raised. The Department has listened to the criticism raised and thought that MAT will be able to address the criticism raised. MAT dealt with the level of care for the creative industries. The Committee spoke, and the Department listened.
She appreciated the Committee for raising the disconnect between the artists and the Department. MAT is only six-months old and was meant to bridge that gap. When the Committee criticises, it must remember that MAT is only six-months old. MAT will be able to come back to the Committee. For now, MAT must be given some time because, so far, they have been dealing with issues raised by the creative industries. It is important that the Committee be respected.
The Chairperson thanked the Deputy Minister, the Department, and Members of MAT on behalf of the Committee.
The meeting was adjourned.
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