Mzansi Golden Economy Provincial & National Flagship projects; with Minister

Sports, Arts and Culture

29 November 2022
Chairperson: Ms B Dlulane (ANC)
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Meeting Summary


The Committee was briefed by the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture (DSAC) on the provincial flagship projects supported through the Mzansi Golden Economy (MGE). Provinces received budgets of R4 million each, and the provinces spent this money on flagship events as they deemed fit, locally procuring artists and event organisers. Each province nominates a minimum of two cultural events as provincial flagship projects for funding each financial year for the three years starting from 2021/22.

Meeting report

Minister's opening remarks
Minister Nathi Mthethwa stated that the Department’s contribution is to sustain the lives of artists in this country. DSAC has been doing this over the years and the Provincial Flagship projects are no exception to that. He said that this is against the backdrop of the uninformed sentiment that the Department is doing nothing for the artist. It is doing a lot and all the artists, who are exceptional, the Department ensures they are looked after and are taken care of in life. As part of this programme, for the past two weeks, the Department has sent artists to platforms in other countries to show case what they have. The Deputy Minister and the team are coming back today from Tanzania.

The Department does this to support and sustain the livelihoods of artists, of which there are many. As part of these flagship programmes, there are close to 300 artists who benefitted from one of the flagship programmes, Joy of Jazz, where artists benefitted with their bands. One member of this Committee, Mr Madlingozi and his band also benefitted who were present at this flagship event. When people peddle about 80% of time they are doing nothing. The facts are the Department is doing something. Much like flies which have short legs, the people who make these comments have short legs.

The Chair thanked the Minister for the opening remarks. She wanted to speed up the presentation to allow questions to the Minister.

Mzansi Golden Economy Provincial and National Flagship projects
Dr Cynthia Khumalo, DSAC Deputy Director General: Arts and Culture Promotion, defined the key priorities and funding policy for the flagship projects. Signature events are the kind of projects to stimulate consumption and are developing local products within these provinces and indeed creating jobs. There were nine national flagship projects. The provincial flagships are identified by the provinces themselves with the MEC of the province and the head of the department of the particular province, having the mandate and discretion to identify which of these are flagship events. Each province is allocated R4 million. They make a decision in line with the policy on the number of projects. There were 32 projects and the presentation identified each project, its status and the amount which she will not read out to save on time.

Dr Khumalo outlined the priorities that underpin financial support to the provinces. This is very important as it is the guidance given to the provinces when they look at which events to categorise as flagship events, focused on the targeted groups as beneficiaries. It is all about developing local products, so it is important that there is involvement of local communities in development, diversity and multi-culturalism, creation of jobs, contribution to the economy, economic viability and sustainability, market development, BEE, social and economic development, and national identity.
As much as this is all about sustaining the creative industry in the different provinces, it also has a spill over into other sectors like the tourism sector, be it domestic tourism and right now international tourism, which is on the rise with the Covid pandemic restrictions lifted.

The process started in 2021/22 with a three-year funding cycle up to 2023/24. All the provinces have responded at this point. There are issues being finalized with Kwa-Zulu Natal and North West. KZN and DSAC are having KZN and they are expecting to finalise the second signature or flagship event pretty soon. The new KZN MEC of Arts and Culture came on board from August 2022 and the acting Head of Department is dealing with these particular matters.

The North West event that is outstanding is not a signature or flagship event, but it is a matter of finalization of entity that will implement the annual Mahika-Mahikeng Cultural Music Festival.

The DDG spoke to the breakdown of the 32 events spread throughout the country made up of the provincial and the national flagship events. How the province allocates depends on the nature and reach of these particular events and creating jobs, as the Minister indicated. Mpumalanga, North West, Limpopo, Free State, Eastern Cape went for two events. The implementing agencies are different in each provinces. Northern Cape had a unique model since the travelling distance from one town to the next is vast. The approach it adopted was to ensure that its six flagship events reach the length and breadth of the province, staying within the R4 million budget. KZN, Gauteng and Western Cape have three projects each.

The National Flagship programme is largely successful and rolled out with minimal challenges and there are nine projects. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic there has been a significant drop in the fiscal investment by the corporate sector in most of these projects. Under the new normal, the Department will continue to encourage public private partnerships in growing these projects. It is very much dependent on these partnerships. DSAC is encouraging these national flagship events to be run by reputable event organizers with international experience. She listed examples of the
national flagship event which does not follow from one province follows the principle that the event must have national footprint.

Eastern Cape will play host to the National Arts Festival and a music festival (‘Buyolekhaya’). Gauteng has the Joy of Jazz which happened last weekend. The Moretele Tribute Concert did take place. There is an upcoming event just before the end of the financial year. Johannesburg international comedy festival and the Abantu book festival are also set to take place. For the national flagships taking place in KZN, there was the ‘’WeCanArts’’ festival in Durban already. It is unique in that it targets artists with disabilities. The Cape Town International Jazz festival has come back that was affected by the Covid restrictions.

Almost R60 million goes into the provincial and national flagship events offering our communities about 32 of these signature events spread all over the country. In the process it is not just helping to grow and sustain the creative industry but also have spill-over as people travel to go to these events and it translates into international tourism also being the beneficiary of these projects.

The DDG said that compliance requirements will be emphasized for the implementing agencies identified, for provinces, and also the national event organizers, and also adherence to the key priorities defined in Department's funding policy.

Mr Charles Mabaso, DSAC Chief Director: Cultural Development, said that the biggest challenges are in the provincial flagships but there have been engagements with provinces, sending letters to the provincial director general requesting intervention such as “Mine Dance Festival’’ which have now submitted the documents required for the current year funding tranche.

Mpumalanga's Art of Legends event had to be postponed to March 2023 and definitely will happen. It was moved from November 2022 to provide enough time as the province wanted national department to be directly involved and work with them. Joy of Jazz has since happened. Cape Town Jazz festival will take place in March 2023. They were still awaiting documentation which has since been submitted. The March 2023 event was confirmed and the public has also been informed that it will be happening. These events stimulate the local economy, and fortunately not all at the level of Macufe. Ideally, they would like to envisage a situation, where all of the events reach a certain level, but it is a process. We do have challenges but are really engaging with everyone on these.

Mr T Mhlongo (DA) asked how did DSAC identify artists that went to Tanzania. What criteria did they use? Was this event in Tanzania advertised? How and when? Which media houses, newspapers or internet did they use?

When were all these flagship projects opened? On a lighter note, did the Minister not see any conflict of interest if a Committee member benefits? Do any laws apply? How did DSAC mitigate artists from a double-benefit, at both a national and provincial level? Do you have a system to ensure that artists are not benefitting twice and what system is this?

Mr Mhlongo asked the Minister for his view on the handling of the National Arts Council (NAC) former CEO and the golden handshake she received. He thanked the Minister for being in the meeting. There is an outcome now that this money must be returned.

He asked for the Minister's view as the Hawks have raided the offices of the Free State Department of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation amid allegations of fraud and corruption to do with the Mangaung African Cultural Festival (Macufe) tender.

Mr M Zondi (ANC) said that he appreciates that one of the artists who is a Member of Parliament is benefitting from one or the other of the DSAC projects as a member of the creative industry. There are many projects completed and many underway as part of the development of the industry and they as Members will support these. The Minister should always emphasize transformation and put it as a first priority. They should create and maintain existing jobs and also assist in the development of the creative arts to ensure that the country is entertained and that the industry is developing. Members will support any initiatives that have these priorities.

Mr Zondi asked what is the economic impact of funding the flagship projects. Can DSAC provide some insight into the revenue generated by its investment? What percentage of the funding reaches the artists and the creative industry practitioner? Now that the Covid restrictions have been lifted, do any of these projects have a physical component? If so, how many?

Ms R Adams (ANC) appreciates that DSAC will encourage both the National and Provincial Flagship projects to be compliant. The Minister emphasises that work is being done. There is work being done on paper. What about work that is already rolled out or plans for project roll-outs?

Ms Adams said the proposals deal with projects planned for implementation in 2022/23. Can DSAC provide a historical overview of the job opportunities that have been created by these projects. Is financial information for each of these projects available to the public? The Mandela Bay Theatre Complex is now an entity reporting to DSAC. Can the Department elaborate on the relationships between the entity and the two Eastern Cape projects mentioned?

Do the flagship projects have any targets for the inclusion of small business, youth, women and people with disabilities? How does DSAC monitor the outcomes of the support provided?

Ms D Sibiya (ANC) appreciated the presentation. She asked how many of these projects have been affected by the significant drop in the fiscal investment by the corporate sector. DSAC should provide an overview of the funding model it uses to determine the amount of money allocated to each project. Do provinces financially support these flagship programmes?

She asked if provinces also contribute to flagship projects and what other support does DSAC provide to promote those events to increase their impact.

Ms V Van Dyk (DA) said that her questions had been covered .

DSAC and Minister response
DDG Cynthia Khumalo explained that their approach in project management and supporting the provinces in the implementation process, is that DSAC has at national level a project management team which works very closely with the provinces. DSAC has set up forums with the provinces where they are guided on criteria for identification of events and the key priorities that need to be taken into account. The priorities are informed by the funding policy itself and became part of the guidelines. However, she would ask the project funding manager to go into technicalities.

Mr Dunisani Chabalala, DSAC Manager: MGE Cultural Events, spoke about the economic impact as DSAC was working with the South African Cultural Observatory (SACO) that provided details on the economic spin-offs and the impact made by this programme. With the provincial flagships, one wants them to rotate fiscus within the province. This is opposed to the national flagship programmes which have a different mechanism for rotation of funds.

It is encouraged that the provinces support most of their local artists in the province in their line-up – as opposed to the national flagship events since they address different segments with this approach in categorizing them as provincial or national flagships events. This will also speak to procurement where provinces use the services that are available in their province. This is encouraged in these provincial flagships to further the economic impact. The Minister has highlighted the number of beneficiaries is substantial and there is a great number of jobs created. The fiscal investment by the corporate sector was noted as less, especially in the national flagships. DSAC is just giving catalytic funding and its funding will never be enough to support these national flagships. Therefore, it is in the process of being able to re-energise the public sector to reinvest. Covid has given an opportunity to engage national flagships to recalibrate some of their projects, as the new normal will not be the same as the old. DSAC has picked up that some of the projects funded via corporate social responsibility (CSI), the issue is most corporates, saying they want to see a return on investment.

He said that since using the marketing budget, he wants people to think of DSAC, as the corporate sector, when investing in this project, and good that one of the events that was attended, DSAC was able to meet ‘off-line’ with some of these investors without mentioning names said Mr Chabalala, to ensure that investors can support national and provincial flag-ships, since in the bigger scheme of things for impact of creatives and cultural sector. He thanked everyone.

Mr Mabaso replied that all projects implemented this year were physical with the exception of ‘Buyolikhanya’ which is the only remaining project that will be virtual. They are engaging in the new normal to employ local artists, and it will also stimulate the local economy. Cape Town Jazz Festival had to retrench some staff members from the team due to the lack of private funding coming in. Even the Joy of Jazz is no more called the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz, since Standard Bank has withdrawn its funding. This is some of challenges that national flagships in particular are facing.

Mr Chabalala emphasized that local events source practitioners from their province so that its people are developed and people appreciate their own communities, and they raise audience development since that must happen in that locality. But on a national stage it is a different type of event, different types of crowds are attracted. They are what we call national artists sourced throughout the country, that will perform at national events.

DDG Khumalo replied that the question about economic impact is effectively a request to share the last SACO report on economic impact and it is a continuous process that goes on. They are in the process of revival in the industry, and the extent to which the impact can be measured. A request will be made to SACO to provide specifics.

DDG Khumalo explained that the province was left to determine the best-positioned entity for the project. Those two projects in the Eastern Cape provincial flagships were identified by the province itself. The province opted to go for Mandela Bay Theatre Complex as the implementing agent for those two projects, looking at competencies and other issues taken into account to ensure feasibility. DSAC appreciates the recent achievements of Nelson Mandela Bay Theatre Complex, knowing that they are capable and able to deliver. The project is left to the province itself.

Colleagues have indicated there has been waning support from the corporate sector. DSAC has noted some of national flagships have names that reflect a corporate company. However, for an event that took place over the weekend, the corporate name dropped, due to withdrawal of corporate support. Since corporates have been equally affected by Covid, they are also playing a balancing act. Some event organisers have been asking that DSAC assist in these engagements with corporate companies so as to give confidence on the objectives of this part of the process.

The funding policy does not go to the extent of specifying the percentage of empowerment in the funding model but it does give categories such as women, young people, people with disabilities as beneficiaries in dealing with execution of a particular project.

On the event or the programme that took place in Tanzania that the Minister was describing. Part of the opportunities that were given to artists in creative industry…

[There is poor network reception from this point onwards acknowledged by the Chair.]

On the potential conflict of interest that was raised, the role of the Department is to provide funding to provinces and to national flagships. However, DSAC cannot make any determination of who gets appointed to come and render the performance. In the case of Joy of Jazz, the event organiser would look at who to showcase and who could be their draw card. The organizer of the music makes those decisions independent of us.

DDG Khumalo lost network connectivity.

Minister Nathi Mthethwa replied about the cultural diplomacy programme and said any artist invited abroad or supported abroad, is supported financially by DSAC. One aspect for the cultural diplomacy program is an exchange programme where artists from SA travel to another country and showcase their talent. It is reciprocal since the following year, the artists from those countries come to SA.

In the past the cultural exchange programmes would take place the whole year with France and the UK. From 2014 it changed focus to BRICS member countries. SA exchanges in China, Brazil and Russia and vice-versa were concluded. The Deputy Minister is coming back today from Tanzania which is the seventh country in this cultural programme. Gabon, Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Angola, Senegal and now Tanzania. The cultural exchange programme is to expose South African talent. South Africa had a state visit two weeks ago from the Kenyan president, through the programme. Kenyans are madly in love with Amapiano.

On stimulating economic activity, particularly local economic development, the SACO report is evidenced-based. Looking at 2015/16 the National Arts Festival contributed R138.4 million to the local economy in Makhanda. DSAC funding to the National Arts Festival was to the tune of R129.2 million. R60.3 million went to the local economy of Bloemfontein. The Marula festival in Limpopo contributed R20.8 million. R11 million to Mbombela. The Minister tried to paint a picture to say that this initiative is where they are and they will be updating the Committee on the number of jobs created. There were about 300 artists benefitting through activities and festivals.

Minister Mthethwa replied that the NAC had explained itself many times to the Committee.

[Ms Adams took over as Acting Chair due to the Chairperson having network challenges]

Mr Mhlongo said his question about the Hawks raiding the offices of the Free State department was not answered by the Minister.

Mr Mhlongo said the Public Protector had made them aware that the former NAC CEO was given a golden handshake which was declared as invalid. The Minister should provide some detail on this. The former CEO did go to court to oppose the Public Protector finding and the money must come back as per the Public Protector’s report.

Another question that was not answered is national and provincial working together to avoid double dipping. He asked if the Committee can have the name of the service provider for the Tanzania event. He asked how the flagship projects will be promoted.

Buyel 'Khaya Pan African Festival will be rolled out through the online platform but rural areas do
not have internet and any media houses. How will this make an impact in these communities?

The Minister replied about Macufe that Mr Mhlongo should ask the province, since he does not know. The Minister also asked when the Public Protector report was sent to the NAC. The Minister said that he has no recollection of what the Member is speaking about.

The Acting Chair acknowledged that they are now battling to hear the Minister.

DDG Khumalo replied that the artists performing in different events have been indicated in the presentation. DSAC does not put those restrictions in the guidelines provided for provinces since in understanding the nature of the creative industry it is how artists are able to derive an income, but also the success of the events depends on them attracting audiences. In identifying the performers to perform at particular events, event organizers have the prerogative to get those who will attract the numbers sought. The policy in place does not restrict this.

The name of the service provider for Tanzania is Zen1 and procurement processes were followed. When talking about the list of artists that eventually performed, just the performing arts section, was about 44 artists. This is excluding those who benefitted in the area of visual arts where DSAC had Arts Bank commissioning and sourcing artworks. There were arts and craft that were on display throughout the cultural season in Tanzania. It also excluded the creatives that would benefit from the fashion design leg. A list can be given.

Promotion in the rural areas in terms of the event organisers, or the entities, that have been identified by the provinces, market the even so that it is not concentrated to the utilization of platforms that are not accessible, by the rural communities. What you are saying honourable member becomes important that also left to the event organisers, and they are doing a good job in terms of selling and marketing each event prior to it taking place. The chair is then thanked.

The Minister then plead with Mr Mhlongo to forward the Public Protector report on the National Arts Council (NAC).

Mr V Van Dyk (DA) asked if the Public Protector report could be sent to Committee.

Mr Mhlongo said as a point of order that the Minister is leading the national department and should have access to the report. This indicates no intergovernmental relations in place. How can the Minister not be aware of what one reads in the newspaper? The Minister is not playing his part as the national Minister. They do not talk to the Free State? It is there in the newspaper. There is an investigation and the Hawks went to the Department's office in the Free State. Let us not play politics about the Arts The investigation by the Hawks and Macufe has been mentioned in this meeting. He did not just thumb suck this comment. It was mentioned that the Macufe festival was subsidized in this meeting.

The Minister said that he is not aware and there is no inter-governmental relationship.

Mr Mhlongo said that the Hawks are investigating. The Minister had supported the board when the handshake was done. The money must come back. The handshake was wrong.

Mr Adams asked Mr Mhlongo not to get into debating. The Minister did mention that Mr Mhlongo must send the Public Protector report. The Committee would like to have the report. Please send it to the secretary to circulate to the Committee. If any Committee member not satisfied with the answers, please do that in writing and DSAC can answer the questions.

Mr Mhlongo said that the report is accessible to the public. The report showed a lack of leadership once again.

The Minister said that if anyone asked what happened they must direct their questions to provinces.

Meeting adjourned.


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