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ARTS AND CULTURE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
3 August 2004
Chairperson: Mr S Tsenoli (ANC)
Documents handed out:
Draft Committee Programme, May to October 2004
In a meeting attended by only seven ANC members, the Chairperson briefed the Committee on the Chairpersons Forum and his recent consultation with the Freedom Park Trust CEO. The first phase of the latter project was completed and an official handover to the president of the Park had taken place. 'Healing and Cleansing Ceremonies' had been held in the provinces and in Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe and had received much popular support. The Committee unanimously agreed that such occasions should be continued. They agreed to follow up on the 'memorial' to Vlakplaas.
A moment of silence was first shared to honour recently deceased members of the Department. The Chairperson also formerly thanked former Chairperson, Mrs M Njobe, and Dr Serote for their contributions. The Committee then discussed the Draft Committee Programme and expressed particular concern over the difficulty in meeting certain appointments, especially those tabled for Fridays. The Chairperson encouraged Members to follow the current programme until such time as changes could be made.
The Committee agreed to adopt past minutes and the Committee Programme. Friday attendances would be alternated between the two Committee Clusters as advised at the Chairpersons Forum. All meetings of the Programme had been approved by the 'Chair of Chairs', except those on 4 and 5 August. A new electronic scheduling of future Committee appointments had been commissioned by the Forum and was expected to be operational soon.
The Chairperson then related what had transpired at the Chairpersons Forum. A special task team had been appointed to strengthen research capacities of the Committee Clusters. A report on the advancement of gender issues in this portfolio was pending. Another task team was assessing corrective steps taken during the year to reconcile budgeted and actual expenditures.
The Chairperson relayed developments from his recent consultation with Freedom Park Trust CEO, Dr Mongane Wally Serote. The first phase of this project was completed and an official handover to the president of the Park had taken place.
He also reported on the 'Healing and Cleansing Ceremonies' that had been held in the provinces and in Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe. Traditional healers and clergy had reportedly attended. Feedback cited dramatic scenes of tears and people collapsing with emotion. The outcomes had been praised all round by participants. South Africans living in Angola, Tanzania, Russia and the USA would still be visited. The deadline for a Freedom Park monument commemorating lost lives was the end of 2006.
The Chairperson asked whether the Committee had agreed to visit Freedom Park in National Heritage Month (September). Proposals for an appropriate visit itinerary should be suggested by Members. The Committee Secretary, Ms Tamara Cawe, replied that the Committee should further discuss this as so many Members were not at the meeting
Mr M Sonto (ANC) expressed his disappointment at the complete absence of opposition Members. Due to time constraints, it was vital that the Committee agreed today on visiting Freedom Park. The Chairperson replied that the lack of turnout was unfortunate and that Members should convey their annoyance to other Members.
Mr E Xolo (ANC) applauded Dr Serote's report. It was a great honour to have visited a monument in his area erected last year for 25 people who had died in 1995 IFP attacks, and a similar monument constructed by the ANC in Khamalakhi Ttwnship in Kwazulu-Natal. He encouraged the Freedom Park Monument and stressed the importance of traditional leaders attending Healing and Cleansing Ceremonies. It was discouraging not to have had opposition present at the meeting.
Ms N Mbombo suggested that in future, Mr Xolo refrain from denouncing political parties for having committed violent acts of the past. Mr Xolo agreed. He asked the Chairperson whether he was an alternate or full time Member of the Committee. The Chairperson replied that he was an alternate member, but his healthy enthusiasm might oblige him to attend all Committee meetings.
Ms Mbombo asked whether the heritage memorial to Vlakplaas bore any resemblance to the Freedom Park Project. The Chairperson said that plans for 'historicising' Vlakplaas were not yet complete. The Committee should follow this up.
The meeting was adjourned.
ARTS AND CULTURE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
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