Update on White Paper on Arts, Culture and Heritage & Sports and Recreation Amendment Bill; with Minister

Sports, Arts and Culture

03 December 2021
Chairperson: Ms B Dlulane (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

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The Department of Sports, Arts and Culture updated the Committee on the progress with implementing the revised White Paper on Arts, Culture and Heritage, and on progress of the Sports and Recreation Amendment Bill.

The Department noted progress in establishing a theatre and dance policy; the establishment of task teams for both the National Arts Council (NAC) and the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF); the amalgamation of NAC and NVFV into one entity; finalising a Cultural and Creative Industries Master Plan (CCIMP); the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the NAC and the Department on the allocation of funds to the National Orchestra; and the establishment of a South African Book Development Council as a statutory body to conceptualise, draft, and implement a National Book Development Plan. Other interventions were around the National Events, Technical and Productions Skills Academy as a focused institution of skills and human resource development for the sector; and the identification for development of historically marginalised and under-resourced provinces, which did not have theatre facilities. The Department also spoke on the funding and support of performing arts companies, which had developed reputable education and training programmes in the arts; the conduct of audits of municipal theatres across the country; and the development of an implementation strategy for the effective administration and management of these theatres. On Heritage Preservation and Promotion Interventions, the Department spoke to the appointment of a service provider to conduct consultations on the proposed amendments for new policies for arts, culture and heritage.

Members asked what the main stumbling blocks to the passing of the White Paper were; how many drafts the White Paper went through since 1996; when the White Paper was going to be implemented; what the time frames for the revised White Paper were; how long indigenous languages would be compromised because of a lack of interest in them in the country; what the Department was saying about cultural practitioners, like artists, regarding artists inability to access Unemployment Insurance Funds (UIF) funds, and the absence of social security for artists; if the partnership with the Minister of Basic Education would be included in the MoU with the Department; and when the Department intended to conclude the MoU.

Members noted concern about the possibility of a duplication of mandates and responsibilities. Members asked if the Committee could get a document detailing the remaining issues and the proposed remedies to see what specifically was changed in the old document, more easily. On the amendment of the Libraries Act and the budget challenges, Members asked if this spoke to unfunded mandates.

Members said government had decided to review and amalgamate entities, and asked if the White Paper included government’s plan of amalgamation of entities. Members were concerned about all the work coming to R 18 billion, which was twice the amount of the departmental budget. Members asked for more clarification on the challenges facing the Sarah Baartman Centre; and commended the Department on the 65 heritage bursary awards, saying it should increase the number of bursaries. Members said the Minister needed to review what the oversight role of the Committee was.

On the Sports and Recreation Amendment Bill, the Department said the Bill was submitted to the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) for Socio Economic Impact Assessment System (SEIAS) on 27 July 2021. The Department received feedback from the DPME on the SEIAS, and the process was now at the stage where the Bill has been submitted to the Office of the Chief State Law Advisor for certification on 23 September 2021. The State Law Advisors were busy with assessments. Once both these processes were finalised, it would be taken through the Cabinet cluster process, then taken to Cabinet, and afterwards to Parliament.

Members asked if the National Sport and Recreation Amendment Bill was the thing needed to stop the arrogance of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) leadership; if the federations supported the proposed Bill; when the Bill would be introduced to the National Assembly; and if there were any court challenges to the Bill. Members asked if all points by stakeholders other than the SLA had been dealt with. Members wanted to know what it meant for the Bill’s existence considering two departments now merged into one. Members also asked if the Department was confident in the timelines set for the Bill to be finalised. 

Meeting report

The Chairperson said Cricket SA indicated it was not ready to meet with the Committee the following week, and asked to be scheduled for next year. The leadership of Swimming SA wanted its meeting to be a closed meeting. The Chairperson made a written request to the House Chair, but this was rejected. It was reported to Swimming SA, who had not yet responded.

Progress report on the White Paper on Arts, Culture and Heritage
Mr Vusumuzi Mkhize, Director-General (DG), Department of Sport, Arts and Culture (DSAC), updated the Committee on arts, culture, and development interventions. He said eight provinces confirmed and endorsed the members of the recommended task team, establishing a theatre and dance policy. A virtual briefing on the task team was held in August 2021. Bid Specification met on 22 September 2021, to move the process of appointing a service provider forward. A preferred service provider was chosen. The process to finalise the terms of reference for appointment was at an advanced stage.

The submissions for the establishment of a task team for the National Arts Council (NAC), a task team for the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF), and five performing entities were approved. Legal was exploring avenues to address legislation dealing with the amalgamation of NAC and NVFV into one entity.

The Department was in the process of finalising a Cultural and Creative Industries Master Plan (CCIMP), in which the music sector was included as one of the focus areas. In consultation with various stakeholders, and to avoid policy conflict, it was recommended the White Paper Action Plan (WPAP) be implemented once the Master Plan was completed. The Music Sector Action Plan (MSAP) was developed as part of the CCIMP, with input from the Industry Reference Group (IRG).

He said the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the NAC and the Department on the allocation of funds to the National Orchestra was drafted and approved. Further administrative issues were being dealt with and being finalised with the NAC, the Board of the NPO, and the Department. There were other interventions which were related to the establishment of institutions. These interventions took place around the establishment of a South African Book Development Council (SABDC), as a statutory body to conceptualise, draft, and implement a National Book Development Plan (NBDP). It also took place around the establishment of National Events, and Technical and Productions Skills Academy, as a focused institution of skills and human resource development for the sector. This was also a focused institution for identification, and development of historically marginalised and under-resourced provinces which did not have theatre facilities.

Through the programmes for growth and sustainability, there was funding and support for performing arts companies which developed reputable education and training programmes in the arts; funding and support for the conduct of audits of municipal theatres across the country; and for the development of an implementation strategy for the effective administration and management of these theatres. This was done through a subsidy system supported by the Department, the Province, and the local metro councils; collaboration with relevant departments on the funding policy; and the proposed adoption of a Conditional Grant for community arts centres in a similar vein to community libraries.

(See attachment for full presentation)

Regarding Heritage Preservation and Promotion Interventions, he said a service provider would be appointed to conduct consultations on the proposed amendments for new policies for arts, culture and heritage.

(See attachment for full presentation)

Minister’s input
Minister Nathi Mthethwa, Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, said he was happy with the progress made on the Sports Act Amendment Bill. The Bill was now with the Chief State Law Advisor. Implementation of the White Paper began, and there was also work done on the Heritage Promotion and Preservation branch, as well as the Arts, Culture Promotion and Development branch.

The approach to the culture and creative sector was a scientific one, directed by research work. Academies were very important. The Department wanted to professionalise the industry, and wanted the industry to develop products which were easy to sell. The technical and productive sector was unfolding and this area also needed a lot of transformation. He said the Department would be looking at areas like libraries, in the process of promulgating the Libraries Act, but the challenge was budgets, as operationalising this would cost a lot of money.

He commended the Committee and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) on promulgating and processing the Copyright Act amendments to enable workers to benefit from having intellectual property. Regarding heritage promotion, he said international bodies like UNESCO noted appreciation for the work the Department did in South Africa in relation to people in the sector, and recognition and encouragement, especially in the preservation of heritage sites. The Department was currently assisting the African Union (AU) in the process of digitising heritage archives. He said the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) had to start with the Department.

There was acknowledgement by another United Nations agency United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) which saw value in the Department’s SA Cultural Observatory and acknowledged the innovative ways of approaching this sector and becoming a point of reference regarding the reliability of data. The Department had been bridging the gap in the import and export of cultural goods and services. He said the Department worked hard to ensure it sent artists out to other countries to showcase the country’s own talent. South Africa was part of the Dubai Expo 2020. The President had gone on a state visit to West Africa, to the Ivory Coast and Ghana and sent practitioners with to expose and showcase the country’s capacity. These agreements with many countries helped to create a platform for artists to share with the world.

He said the integration of the continent through art, culture and heritage was paying dividends. The AU adopted South Africa’s brainchild of an Africa market, which was now the flagship programme of the AU. The Department would always take opportunities to crisscross the world, to share what South Africa had, and to open opportunities for artists globally, like what was being done in Nigeria and Senegal currently. The Department was now in the in process of recovery and reconstruction of the sector and would grab any opportunity which came its way.

Speaking on his absences from Committee meetings, he said he always apologised for this and continued to respect the Committee. Both Houses of Parliament had agreed if a Minister was not available, then the Deputy Minister would take over. He acknowledged the right of members of the DA and EFF not to accept his apologies, and said he would endeavour to be present when there were no Cabinet meetings. There had never been an instance where he had not accounted for any question asked of him, but questions should be posed in the procedurally correct way.

Discussion
Mr B Madlingozi (EFF) said the presentation was not the same as the summarised one which was sent to Members. He said it had been six years since the Minister selected a panel to revise the 1996 White Paper, and asked if the delay in adopting the White Paper was reciprocal to the Minister’s absence in committee meetings. He wanted to know what the main stumbling blocks to passing the White Paper were. On the fourth draft of the White Paper the Department prided itself on the principles of accountability, and he asked if this was a true reflection of the Department; he asked how long indigenous languages must be compromised, because of a lack of interest in it in the country. The White Paper speaks of the introduction of arts education at all levels of education. He wanted to know why, after 27 years, it was found lots of black communities still did not have these initiatives in place. The South African Roadies Association (Sara) recently received assistance, yet the 1996 White Paper spoke of assisting with technical and production skills. He asked how many drafts there were, and how many times the White Paper has been revised since 1996; and asked what the Department was saying about cultural practitioners, like an artist’s inability to access Unemployment Insurance Funds (UIF), and the absence of social security for artists.

Mr T Mhlongo (DA) commented on the Minister only responding to formal questions, and said the Minister needed to review what the oversight role of the Committee was. He said even the Minister’s office did not respond to his emails. He only acknowledged receipt of the emails not a response. His attendance was important because the NAC was not performing. At some meetings, the Deputy Minister was also absent. If necessary, the meetings could be changed to Wednesdays, to accommodate the Cabinet meeting days. He said the Minister had claimed he had an ‘open door’ policy, and asked when the White Paper going to be implemented.

Ms R Adams (ANC) thanked the Minister for his input. She wanted to know if the partnership with the Minister of Basic Education would be included in the MoA with the Department, because the MoA was not yet finalised. She expressed concern about the possibility of a duplication of mandates and responsibilities. On the inputs to draft the MoA, she asked when the Department intended to conclude a MoA; and asked if the Department could explain why the notice of time frames were not applicable. She said she was excited by the update on the opening of a theatre in the Northern Cape.

Mr D Joseph (DA) asked what the time frames were for the revised White Paper. He asked if the amendment of the Libraries Act and the budget challenges spoke to unfunded mandates. Government decided to review and amalgamate entities. He wanted to know if the White Paper included government’s plan of amalgamation of entities.

On the partnership with the Department of Basic Education, he said the future of what the Department dealt with lay in the curriculum of schools, which would influence future generations to come and affect transformation, for example. He was concerned all the work came to R18 billion, which was twice the Department’s budget.

Mr M Zondi (ANC) asked for more clarification on the challenges which faced the Sarah Baartman Centre. He said the progress made so far was appreciated, especially in the hope it would enhance international relations with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries. The White Paper would assist South Africa going forward. 

Ms V van Dyk (DA) asked if all consultations had been done and if it would now go to legal, or if input could still be given. She asked if the Committee could get a document detailing the remaining issues and the proposed remedies to see more easily what specifically was changed in the old document.

Ms G Marekwa (ANC) commended the Department on the 65 heritage bursary awards, and said the Department should increase the number of bursaries.
Regarding attendance, she said the Deputy Minister represented the Office of the Minister if the Minister was absent.

Responses
Mr Mkhize said there appeared to be an assumption the revised White Paper was not approved or being implemented. He said Cabinet approved the White Paper in October 2018 and Parliament approved it in November 2019, so there were no more consultation processes, it was being implemented now.

The Department presented on the differences between the old and the new White Paper. The policy development process had taken place. The implementation of the White Paper was broken down into short, medium, and long-term phases.
The Department already started doing work on legislation because the amalgamation of the two entities would need to bring the two pieces of legislation together. He said the policy was endorsed by Parliament in 2019 and the Department was now implementing it.

On the issue of languages he said it was not used as it should be, and the Department had its own language units working on utilisation of official languages in the country, and how to deal with regional diversification of these languages. Each region must declare which languages must be used, and state each department’s policy on official languages. The use of language was the responsibility of the people. The Department had done what it was supposed to do, which is, the promotion of the languages. The bursaries the Department offered under languages, deals with the development of African languages at a postgraduate level.

On the NAC and mismanaged money, he said the Department had presented to the Committee on how the money was spent and which jobs which were created.

On the partnership with the DBE, he said the MoA was finalised and the team had to work on implementation. The reason for the delay here was a need to revisit the MoU to incorporate the new mandate of the Department, which included sport, and arts and culture. The work plan would be presented to the DG’s in early January and to the Ministers’ by the end of January.

On the issue of basic education and curriculum content, he agreed it should reflect the country and the decolonisation of the curriculum itself. 

Dr Cynthia Khumalo, Deputy Director-General (DDG): Arts, Culture Promotion and Development, DSAC, said the theatre in the Northern Cape was functional, and the official launching and renaming was scheduled for around 15 December.

On the disbursement of the Presidential Employment Stimulus Programme (PESP) funds by the NAC, she said Treasury allocated R300 million out of the R 665 million which was given to the NAC. Of this, five percent was earmarked for administration costs, leaving R 285 million to be disbursed. R279.4 million was already disbursed to 1 309 projects, which had received its first tranche payments. A second tranche payment was made to 1 199 projects, and the balance would be going to the final tranche payments. A final report would be completed by the NAC before at the end of February
Minster Mthethwa said one was not talking of a delayed White Paper. This Committee had endorsed the White Paper. It was in the implementation process, which started in January 2020.
 
On the language issue, he spoke of attempts to preserve languages which were becoming extinct in the country. There was an Ouma Katriena Esau, who was the only person who could still speak the Njuu language. The Department was doing everything it could to digitise the language to preserve it. There were collaborative attempts to get Parliament to pass legislation for sign language to become the official 12th language of the country. There was a reprinting of African classic books. In 2016 a classic African book was reprinted. The Department supported the SA Literary Association annually and gave bursaries to 300 students every year. Afrikaans and English developed because investments and resources were pumped into them in the form of research or establishing institutes.
In Makhanda, there was a national English literary museum. Part of its mandate was to further develop and improve English. The Department saw this was in an area where 80% of people spoke Xhosa, so now the museum was dealing with Xhosa as well.

He said theatres and playhouses existed, and were not pipe dreams. The Department expanded to undermine apartheid spatial development, so other provinces could also have theatres, not only the four former colonial provinces.

On the challenge of artists not being able to access UIF, he said part of the Bill’s purpose was to regulate the industry. Artists were not eligible for UIF because the UIF was not regulated.

On his absence from Committee meetings, he said his November schedule set aside Fridays for the Department’s outreach programme. On 9, 16, and 23 November he could not participate because it was Cabinet Committee days and the Deputy Minister would come in his place. On 30 November, he was part of a State visit, and in one instance the Deputy Minister was unwell.

He said there were no political issues in the NAC, it was working well and no NAC money had disappeared. The NAC report had been out for three weeks and he encouraged Members to read it. An amount of R 285 million was allocated as a disbursement, and to date R 279 million, which amounted to 98.6% of it, was in the pockets of artists. The remainder was awaiting reports from artists, before the final money was paid. Members needed to read the forensic report.

He said he appreciated Mr Joseph’s comments and understanding on access to information, and therefore libraries.

On Ms van Dyk’s question on a MoU with the DBE, he said this was the lifeblood of the Department’s success in sport development. The Ministry started looking at other aspects, like finances. The Department wanted tax breaks to be given to sport sponsors. He said school sports would make or break sports, and the Department would be launching the ambassadors programme in the coming year, to go to townships and villages to ensure there was development.

On Mr Zondi’s question, he said the Department would criss-cross the world, because the Department wanted artists to be exposed.

On Ms Marekwa’s comments, he said Fridays were occupied because it was the point of interaction and delivery with communities.

Mr Mhlongo referred to the Minister’s comments about his absence. He said he received the forensic report from the media, and this was unbecoming. He referred to federations not receiving funds due to them, and said the Minister should respond, not only acknowledge emails. He said the AG had observed double dipping and this was mismanagement. He referred to different figures given by the Department around the outstanding amount of NAC funds which still had to be disbursed. He asked when the pay-out of all the tranches would be finalised; and asked what the plan was for the implementation of the White Paper.

Ms Adams applauded the Minister and the Department’s work on the revised White Paper.
 
The Chairperson reminded the Committee of the Department’s previous meeting around the NAC, where all the issues were already discussed.

Minister Mthethwa emphasised the point about Committee Members not accepting the Deputy Minister’s apology when she was sick.

Mr Mhlongo said people should not generalise issues.

Mr Madlingozi said he had not said he did not accept the apology of the Deputy Minister. He had said it was hard when both the Minister and Deputy Minister were not around.

Minister Mthethwa said the forensic report belonged to the NAC, who decided to release the report to the Department, the Committee, and the public on the same day, based on advice from its legal team.

On payments to federations, he said if the federations were not punctual with reporting, then the payments were delayed.

On the issue of an open door policy, he said he had such a policy but it was not one which should be exploited. He had informed Mr Mhlongo, in confidence, on matters related to cricket, and Mr Mhlongo had subsequently made a statement contrary to what was discussed.

On Mr Mhlongo’s letters, he said he would like to see copies of these, but if there were questions posed to him, it should follow due process.

Mr Mkhize said the third tranche of payments would be completed on 15 December.

Departmental Update on the Sports and Recreation Amendment Bill
Mr Mkhize moved directly to the second last slide and said the Bill was submitted to the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) for Socio Economic Impact Assessment System (SEIAS) on 27 July 2021. The Department had received feedback from the DPME on the SEIAS, and the process was now at the stage where the Bill was submitted to the Office of the Chief State Law Advisor for certification on 23 September 2021. The State Law Advisors were busy with the assessments. Once both these processes were finalised it would be taken through the Cabinet cluster process, and then it would go to Cabinet itself, and then to Parliament after that.

Discussion
Mr Madlingozi asked if the National Sport and Recreation Amendment Bill was the thing needed to stop the arrogance of South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) leadership. He asked if there was not a way of preventing a repeat of this in the future; and asked when the Bill would be passed.

Ms Adams asked if the Department was confident about the timeline for the Bill to be finalised. She wanted to know if the federations supported the proposed Bill. The Bill was submitted to the DPME for a SEIAS on 27 July, and was submitted to the Office of the Chief State Law Advisor (SLA) on 23 September 2021. She asked when the Bill would be introduced to the National Assembly, and if there were any court challenges to the Bill.

Mr Joseph asked for clarity on the current Bill. He said the Department was a merger of two departments, and wanted to know what this meant for the Bill’s existence. He also asked under which programme the Bill existed; and if all points made by stakeholders, other than the SLA, had been dealt with.

Mr Mkhize said that the Bill was on track for it to be tabled.

Regarding the effect the Bill would have on the leadership of SASCOC, Ms Sumayya Khan, DDG: Recreation and Sports Development, DSAC, said under the current law the Minister was not able to interfere in the operations of the administration of sports confederations. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) appointed a mediator to deal with the leadership issues of SASCOC.

Regarding if the Bill was still appropriate, given the merger of the Department of Sport and the Department of Arts and Culture, she said the stakeholders and the structures of sport had not changed, and therefore it still seeks to close gaps which existed.

The Department received feedback from the DPME on the SEIAS on 27 July, and the Bill went to the SLA on 23 September, and again on 9 November. 

Regarding if the Bill dealt with the issues of SASCOC, Mr Mkhize said it did, as it provided more clarity about the roles and responsibilities of the Department and of SASCOC, and he hoped this would put to bed any ambiguities or misconceptions.

On the issue of the timeline, he said once the Department received feedback from the SLA, the Bill would be taken through the legislative process of getting Cabinet approval, and then the Bill would be tabled. The details of this timeline would be given in the upcoming year, after feedback from the SLA.

On possible court challenges, he said there were no challenges the Department was aware of.

The Department received input from other stakeholders and it was taken into account and incorporated into the Bill.

Committee matters  
The Chairperson said Cricket South Africa had indicated it was not ready yet [to meet with the Committee], because it was awaiting feedback from Adv Dumisa Ntsebeza, Cricket South Africa’s Cricket for Social Justice and Nation-building initiative ombudsman. It requested to meet the Committee next year.

The Committee Secretary said she forwarded the House Chair’s rejection of Swimming SA’s (SSA) request to hold a closed meeting, and was trying to find out if SSA would proceed with the meeting scheduled for Tuesday, knowing it would not be closed. To date she had not received any response from SSA.  

The Chairperson said the Committee should leave SSA as an item for Tuesday, unless it changed in the interim.

The minutes of 23 November 2021 were adopted

The meeting was adjourned.


 

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