National Delphic Council: Department briefing

Arts and Culture

07 September 2004
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Meeting report

7 September 2004


Mr S Tsenoli (ANC)

Documents handed out:

National Delphic Council Briefing


[annexures not included]

The Department presented the National Delphic Council's plan to host the 2007 Junior Delphic Games in South Africa. The presentation focused on the nature of the Games and the role envisioned for key participants. In the ensuing discussion, Members raised issues of pertaining to preparing and hosting the Games. After the briefing, the Committee discussed their involvement in UNESCO International Day to Commemorate the Abolition of Slavery.

The Chairperson asked the Committee to observe a moment of silence for the death of Reverend Beyers Naude. He made a short address, commemorating the Reverend's life of political and social activism. He expressed the need to address the Committee's business plan and a letter received from the Department. He noted that the Arts Council would not be briefing the Committee, as originally planned.

Ms B Arendse (Department of Arts and Culture, Director) and Ms C Sardinus (Department of Arts and Culture, Deputy Director) presented the Department's briefing on the National Delphic Council and the 2007 Junior Delphic Games.

Department Briefing
The presentation outlined the National Delphic Council of South Africa's proposal to host the III Junior Delphic Games and the role envisioned for national, provincial, and local governments in the process. The origins and structure of the International Delphic Council and the National Delphic Council were discussed at length. The nature of the Junior Delphic Games was addressed and the plan for hosting the Games in 2007 was outlined. The financial, organisational, and personnel implications of the Games and the role of the Department of Arts and Culture were also discussed at length. (Please see attached document for additional information).


The Chairperson asked about the origin of the word "Delphic" and questioned why the Department of Sport and Recreation had not been consulted. Ms Arendse explained that "Delphic" was the name given to the Games in ancient Greece. She reiterated the fact that the Delphic Games had been the flagship cultural and spiritual event in Ancient Greece for approximately 1 000 years until they, and the Olympic Games, were banned in 394 AD. While the Olympic Games had been revived in 1894, the Delphic Games were only revived in 1994. The National Delphic Council had been advised to consult the Department of Sport and Recreation.

A member (ANC) asked who headed the National Delphic Council. Ms Arendse stated that the CEO of the Council was Mrs J Sumption. The Council also consisted of a CFO and a Board of Directors who, after a meeting with the Department in 2001, had made an effort to rework their structure so as to be more representative of arts and culture in South Africa. Additional staff members were being employed to assist in preparing for the Games in 2007.

The Chairperson asked if the Council had proposed timeframes by which to judge their readiness to host the Games. He questioned whether South Africa could learn from the experiences of other countries who had hosted the Games and whether the downside of hosting international games had been considered. Ms Arendse noted that a three-year roll out plan had been included in the documentation distributed to Members. The plan outlined the provincial and national games that would lead up to the international games in 2007.

Ms D Kohler-Barnard (DA) asked where the 7,000 anticipated participants and 20,000 anticipated spectators would be housed. She questioned whether the Council was proposing the construction of an "Olympic Village" and, if so, where they intended to source funding. Ms Arendse stated that the Games did not require building new venues to house the competitive events. The Newtown precinct had been specifically chosen because it was home to several large venues. Other events requiring smaller venues would be housed in existing theatres and stadiums throughout Johannesburg. The Council had obtained most of the necessary funding of approximately 55 million from Johannesburg's private sector, asking Government for only 3.4 million. In terms of housing participants and spectators, the Council hoped to use existing structures in Johannesburg and was working closely with hotels, hostels, Alexandria, and Soweto. The Council had also formed a partnership with the South African, Gauteng, and Johannesburg Tourism Boards.

The Chairperson asked about the extent to which the Department of Provincial and Local Government was involved. Ms Arendse asserted the Department would recommend the Council include the Department of Provincial and Local Government in planning the Games.

Ms M Mdlalose (IFP) asked what was being done to raise public awareness of the National Delphic Council and the 2007 Junior Delphic Games. She expressed concern that South Africa would not be prepared for the Games by 2007. Ms Arendse noted that the Council was planning roadshows that would accompany the provincial games as a means of publicising the National Delphic Council and the Delphic Games. While the Delphic Games would only happen once in South Africa, the Council planned to hold provincial games on a regular basis, thereby raising overall awareness of the Delphic Movement.

Ms Arendse welcomed the Chief Director of the Department of Arts and Culture, Ms V Matloy.

Ms Kohler-Barnard commended the Council on their ability to source such a large quantity of funding from the private sector. She noted that the Council was asking Government for a minute amount of the total funding needed. She inquired as to how the Council had raised so much money for the arts. Ms Arendse stated that Ms Sumption's background was in business and that several large companies were represented on the Council's Board. She reiterated the fact that the private sector had already promised the Council 55 million and that it was understood that Government would not contribute more than 3.4 million.

Ms N Mbombo (ANC) questioned whether the Games would be played in provinces other than Gauteng, so that they too might profit from the benefits of hosting an international event. Ms Arendse explained that the international games would be held only in Johannesburg but that provincial games leading up to the 2007 Games would be held in all of the nine provinces. The South African National Team would be chosen from participants in the provincial games. Given the diversity in South Africa, it was essential that the National Team represent all nine provinces.

Ms Matloy apologised for arriving late. She noted that the Department still needed to determine the degree to which the Council was representative of other Sub-Saharan African countries.

Ms Mbombo argued that the Committee needed more information about the National Delphic Council, as they were relatively unknown within South Africa. The Chairperson suggested Ms Sumption be invited to present the Committee with additional information about the Council.

The Chairperson expressed the need to proceed with submitting a business plan, mentioning that it could always be amended at a later date. He asked Members to submit their recommendations to him. He requested that the Parliamentary Liaison discuss the letter she had written to the Committee concerning the Language Bill.

The Parliamentary Liaison stated that the Bill had to be removed from the program, as it had not been approved by Parliament.

The Chairperson discussed the UNESCO International Day to Commemorate the Abolition of Slavery on 2 December 2004. It was agreed that UNESCO would brief the Committee on 14 September 2004 on the preparations for 2 December. The Committee Secretary had applied for the Committee to go to Freedom Park on Friday, 10 September 2004, to be briefed on the progress of Freedom Park and the cleansing and healing ceremonies that were proceeding in the region.

Ms Kohler-Barnard inquired about a timeframe for Friday's activities. The Chairperson said that the Committee would be going to Pretoria around 10:00 and return to Cape Town in the afternoon.

Ms Mdlalose expressed concern about plans for Friday, as it was the first time she was hearing about them. The Chairperson reminded the Committee that they had agreed to go to Freedom Park, preferably before Heritage Month. Unfortunately, it had been impossible to finalise a date before receiving approval.

Ms Kohler-Barnard asked when the Committee would know whether or not they were going to Pretoria. The Chairperson said that Committee should know by the end of the day.

The meeting was adjourned.


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