The Committee convened a virtual meeting for briefings by the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture on the Agreement between South Africa and France on cinematographic and audio-visual co-production and the 2003 UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
The Department said the Agreement aimed to create opportunities for market access, exposure, and networks for South African filmmakers and audio-visual professionals, to explore available opportunities for co-production and to learn best practices and exchange knowledge and information with their peers and counterparts. The Agreement had been referred to the Committee for information purposes and for the Committee to note.
The briefing on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Convention was to share the proposal for the ratification of the 2003 UNESCO Convention on Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH). This provided for the safeguarding, preservation and promotion of ICH, because of the realisation that a significant part of it was threatened by deterioration, disappearance and extinction. The Convention obliged state parties to identify, define and devise appropriate measures for its preservation and encouraged countries to adopt legal, technical, administrative and financial measures to safeguard and promote ICH.
The Department spoke to management of South Africa’s living heritage having the potential to promote social cohesion and nation building and affirm the rights of cultural, religious and linguistic communities to enjoy their cultural practices as well as affirm that government was committed to the cultural, social and economic upliftment and well-being of all people without discrimination. Consultations had been held with a range of stakeholders, including civil society, statutory institutions, other government departments and practitioners in the field of ICH, and ratification of the Convention had been approved by Cabinet. The Department requested the Committee to support the submission of the Convention to UNESCO for ratification.
The Committee noted the briefings, and would await the formal referral.
The Chairperson said he was ill and on sick leave, and therefore asked Mr E Njadu (ANC, Western Cape) to chair the meeting. He asked Ms Noluthando Skaka, Committee Secretary, to first take the Committee through the protocols for adopting the two agreements.
Ms Skaka said the Agreement between South Africa and France on Cinematography and Audio-Visual Co-Production was tabled in terms of section 231(3) of the Constitution, 1996, and had been referred to the Committee for information purposes and for the Committee to note.
The second Agreement was the 2003 UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH), tabled in terms of section 231(2) of the Constitution, 1996. This would be formally referred to the Committee, which would get a briefing from the Department on it and report to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP). The Committee had not yet received a formal referral, but would get a briefing on it that day from the Department. Once it was formally referred to the Committee, it could then adopt its report on it.
SA/France cinematographic and audio-visual co-production agreements
Ms Nocawe Mafu, Deputy Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture, was welcomed to the meeting by the Acting Chairperson. She introduced Dr Cynthia Khumalo, Acting Director-General of the Department.
Mr John Mogashoa, Director: International Relations, Department of Sport, Arts and Culture (DSAC), said the Department was responsible for the establishment and maintenance of mutual, beneficial and reciprocal bilateral relations with other countries to create opportunities to access international markets, and France was a major film producer.
The Agreement had repealed the film co-production treaty signed between South Africa and France in 2010. The Agreement aimed to create opportunities for market access, exposure, and networks for South African filmmakers and audio-visual professionals, to explore available opportunities for co-production, and to learn best practices and exchange knowledge and information with their peers and counterparts.
The Agreement had been signed on 21 May 2022 in France, and contained new areas in the film sector, like animation and TV. The 14 articles in the Agreement were:
Article 1: Definitions.
Article 2: The authorities/implementing agencies of the Agreement, namely the National Film and Video.
Foundation (NFVF) in South Africa, and the Centre National du Cinema (CNC) in France.
Article 3: Co-production status: containing 12 terms and conditions pertaining to co-production.
Article 4: Requirements for producers: Outlines the required competencies, requirements and exceptional
conditions of the beneficiaries of the Agreement, i.e. citizenship and nationality.
Article 5: Financial contributions.
Article 6: Ownership.
Article 7: Movement of persons and goods.
Article 8: Assessment.
Article 9: Credits.
Article 10: Co-production with other countries.
Article 11: Joint committee.
Article 12: Settlement of disputes.
Article 13: Entry into force, amendments, duration and termination.
Article 14: Replacement.
He concluded by addressing the consideration given to protecting and promoting national interests when concluding international agreements.
Deputy Minister Mafu said the briefing was for information purposes only, as the Agreement had already been signed in September last year.
UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage
Mr Vusithemba Ndima, DDG: Heritage Promotion, DSAC, said the briefing was to share the proposal for the ratification of the 2003 United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Convention on Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH), which provided for the safeguarding, preservation and promotion of ICH. Part of the reason for this was the realisation that a significant part of it was under threat of deterioration, disappearance and extinction, and the Convention obliged state parties to identify, define and devise appropriate measures for its preservation and encouraged countries to adopt legal, technical, administrative and financial measures to safeguard and promote ICH. The Convention also promoted regional, continental and international cooperation. Key features of the Convention were that state parties must keep an updated representative list of ICH of humanity, and where applicable, a list of ICH in need of urgent safeguarding.
The strategic and effective management of South Africa’s living heritage had the potential to promote social cohesion and nation building. The Bill of Rights provided rights to cultural, religious and linguistic communities to enjoy their cultural practices, and affirmed that government was committed to the cultural, social and economic upliftment and well-being of all people without discrimination. The White Paper on Arts, Culture and Heritage emphasises the importance of heritage in redressing historical inequalities, poverty eradication, employment growth and sustainable development. The 2003 UNESCO Convention was explicit that its implementation should take place in the context of participation by communities, groups and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
Some of the advantages that would accrue on ratification to the Convention was that the country would be party to the sharing of international expertise and best practice, and it would intensify regional cooperation and integration on cultural matters. The Convention provided for countries to develop joint lists, such as representative lists of ICH of humanity, lists of ICH in need of urgent safeguarding, and develop bilateral cooperation between countries. The DSAC would use this Convention to intensify regional and continental integration on arts, culture and heritage. In most instances, globalisation increased ICH’s marginalisation, with some cultural forms such as storytelling, skills, techniques and performances being on the verge of extinction. The Convention prescribed measures for their safeguarding, such as the requirements for governments to identify and define ICH within its territory. It also required state parties to develop national inventories and national policies.
Implementation of the Convention would require collaboration with other national departments that did work relating to ICH -- for example, the national policy on Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS), the National Policy Framework on Traditional Governance, and the National Framework Policy on Traditional Medicines.
Mr Ndima said the Department had developed a national policy on living heritage that supported the domestication of the Convention once South Africa ratified it. He then presented an estimated costing related to the implementation of the national policy over a three-year period. The Department would use its existing financial resources from Treasury and current staff component, and the work was included in the mandates and annual performance plans (APPs) of its relevant public entities. As required by the policy, the Minister had appointed a national ICH authentication panel of experts to advise, inform and guide the implementation of a coordinated approach to the audit, the inventory and ICH and IKS documentation, and promotion projects to be implemented by the National Heritage Council and the South African Heritage Resources Agency.
He said the exploitation of the IKS of communities by companies for profit was a large risk, but the Protection, Promotion, Development and Management of Indigenous Knowledge Act, 2019 (Act No. 6 of 2019) should mitigate against this.
He said South Africa’s ICH thrived in the rural areas, where it was largely practised by previously marginalised groups. The ratification of the Convention presented an opportunity for the government to redress colonial and apartheid legacies of neglect and obliteration.
Consultations had been held with a range of stakeholders, including civil society, statutory institutions, other government departments and practitioners in the field of ICH. The first national consultative workshop, comprising over 200 representatives of the sector, had been unanimous that the Department should accede to the Convention. The workshop encouraged the government to move faster in the safeguarding, preserving and promoting ICH. Legal opinions on the consistency with domestic and international law and obligations had been obtained from the State Law Advisors of the Departments of Justice and Constitutional Development (DoJCD), Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE), and the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO).
The current status was that the ratification of the Convention had been approved by Cabinet. It had been submitted to the two Houses of Parliament, and shared with the Portfolio Committee on Sport, Arts and Culture, where it had been adopted. It was now before the Select Committee, who would discuss and hopefully approve it before it was sent to Parliament, after which it would be deposited with UNESCO.
He requested the Committee to support the submission of the Convention to UNESCO for ratification.
The Acting Chairperson asked Mr Ndima to confirm the last two slides on the current status and the recommendations.
Mr Ndima said the current status was that it had been approved by Cabinet, submitted to Parliament and presented to the Portfolio Committee on Sport, Art and Culture, which had adopted it. It had now been presented to the Select Committee, after which it would be discussed by Parliament and go to UNESCO. The Department was asking for the Committee’s support for the ratification of the Convention.
Ms Skaka said the Convention had not been formally referred yet, so the Committee was only receiving the briefing. When the Committee received the referral, it would adopt a report on it.
The Acting Chairperson then noted the report, and said the Committee would await the referral.
The minutes of 20 and 27 September, and 11 October were adopted.
The Acting Chairperson thanked the Deputy Minister for her presence throughout the meeting.
The meeting was adjourned.
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