Committee Programme: adoption

Arts and Culture

21 June 2005
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Meeting report

21 June 2005


Mr S Tsenoli (ANC)

Documents handed out

Committee Programme, Third Quarter 2005

The Department of Arts and Culture unexpectedly did not arrive to give their presentation on developing Community Art Centres, much to the Committee’s frustration. Members instead discussed their Programme for the third Parliamentary session, and various studytours.

The Department was supposed to brief the Committee on progress in developing Community Arts Centres. The Chairperson reported that they had not given any indication that they could not attend the meeting and was not aware of any apologies.

The Committee then adopted the Clerk’s minutes of 16 May 2005 with minor technical amendments, and agreed to raise any unresolved issues in further meetings. The Committee moved on to discussing their Third Session Programme.

Ms D Kohler-Barnard (DA) pointed out that the Committee was due to be briefed by the Northern Flagship Institution on 18 August, but this was caucus day. The Chairperson agreed and said changes would be made.

The Chairperson said that the cancellation of the last visit to Robben Island (scheduled for 4 August) meant that money allocated had not been spent. He proposed that three ANC members, two DA members and Ms M Mdlalose from the IFP look at the Committee budget in order to monitor it. It would be a Committee Week from 1 to 19 August and an appropriate day needed to be chosen for the Robben Island visit.

The Chairperson had spoken to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Communications. Both Committees had an oversight interest in the work of the SA Broadcasting Corporation (SABC). A joint meeting would therefore be held. The first issue on the agenda would be implications derived from the SABC’s new licence agreement with the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA). This agreement had a number of conditionalities that affected the Arts and Culture Department.

Secondly, they would examine the SABC’s policy on the promotion of indigenous languages and various music genres. There had been public and artist complaints about the types of music played on the radio stations What was the SABC doing to promote new music and new artists in a fair and equitable manner? The SABC’s Film and Video promotion would also be questioned, particularly regarding South African versus international content, as well as how local artists were being paid and promoted in the sector.

Ms D Van der Walt suggested they also discuss a Pierneef painting that was stolen from the SABC offices, as it waspart of the country’s national heritage. The Chairperson agreed that the SABC needed to be asked about their security policies.

Mr L Zita (ANC) said that the SABC should be requested to concentrate more on South African films and other African movies. More European cinema also needed to be shown as American cinema currently dominated. It was also important that the Committee have dialogue with the cultural heads of the SABC. Members could also recommend that 20% of movies screened should be from Third World nations, as this would greatly help actors and film-makers from those countries.

The Chairperson agreed and would request key decision-makers to be sent to the meeting. The agenda would be sent to the SABC, and the Portfolio Committee on Communications would also be briefed. He felt that the Committee should concentrate on principles rather than on figures in their meeting with the SABC. The issues that had arisen from the meeting last week with the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) should be presented to the SABC and the Department. The most important issue was how local film could be strengthened. Actual figures can then be negotiated when the need arose.

The next meeting on the Committee programme was with the Northern Flagship Institution. The Committee was not familiar with its work. The Chairperson highlighted that part of the Committee’s responsibility was to investigate all institutions that reported to the Department. A broader issue that was that had been raised with the Department was the plethora of entities that existed and the possibility of better coordination and collapsing of some of them so that a number of entities did not exist that worked around similar issues.

The next meeting scheduled for 23 August would be with the SA Roddies Association to discuss their complaints about the Department. The Roddies, who organise artist performances, had made an application the Department for money for artists to go overseas. Before hearing from the Department, they had left for the United States and now want payment. The Chairperson proposed that a meeting be held between those parties, and only if necessary would unresolved issues be brought to the Committee. He would write a letter to the Roddies Association to communicate this.

The next meeting was on the Brett Kebble Art Awards. This institution had previously approached the Committee to give a presentation on their competition, but they had cancelled on the day of the presentation. The Chairperson suggested that a staffmember of the Iziko Museum also be invited to present at that meeting as they had been invited to New York to give a presentation on post-1994 South African art. This was the first time South African art had been given such a large space at an International Exhibition.

Their next meeting was with the National Research Council (NRC). The Chairperson suggested that this meeting on 6 September should be combined with the meeting on 13 September with the Human Science Research Council (HSRC) to form a one-day programme on indigenous knowledge systems. The last time the Committee had met with both of these institutions, they had discussed overlaps between the NRC, the HSRC, the Department of Arts and Culture and the Department of Science and Technology (which had a Directorate on indigenous knowledge systems). This time the Committee would like to discuss more specific issues.

The Committee’s tour to Mali could not occur during October. Options to hold it in early February 2006 during the Committee Week were being investigated. The Chairperson reminded the Committee about the South Africa – Mali project that supported the restoration of the Timbuktu manuscripts. This was also now a NEPAD project that was raising private sector funds to build a new library. The Committee could see what progress had been made in the restoration of the manuscripts which were deemed important World Heritage for Africa

Mr L Zita said that with the trip to Mali, it was also important to visit Goree Island in Senegal where slaves were transported to the Americas. The Committee agreed to the proposal and a possible tour in February was agreed upon.

The Chairperson said another important issue was the Committee’s study tour. It was suggested that one-day visits occur during the Committee Week of 1 to 19 August in KwaZulu-Natal and the Northern Cape. It was agreed that Members present would visit KwaZulu-Natal while those absent would go to the Northern Cape.

Ms van der Walt suggested that it should not be held in the first week of August as the Committee on Water Affairs and Forestry had their study tour in KwaZulu-Natal and the Northern Cape during this period. The Committee agreed on the study tour being held from 15 to 19 August and that it would split into two equal groups, with one group going to KwaZulu-Natal and the other going to the Northern Cape.

The Chairperson said that when doing oversight visits to provinces, they would also investigate the broad implementation of the ‘Living Heritage’ theme for August’s Heritage Day in the provinces. The Committee would also investigate those institutions it had not seen that were directly and indirectly funded by the Department and the National Lottery. A framework in the form of a single sheet of guidelines for the study tour would be developed for Members in order to make feedback systematic. Individual feedback and observation would still be important over and above this framework system.

Mr M Sonto (ANC) said that Members should familiarise themselves with the experiences and reports of past visits in order to prepare themselves properly. Past issues that had arisen in previous visits also had to be investigated so that feedback could be given on the planned study tour.

Ms Van der Walt enquired about attending the International Heritage Conference in the week of 11 July in Durban. It would be during the constituency period and school holidays, so finding accommodation on short notice in Durban would be difficult. The Chairperson should write to the Department as a number of plans had been changed to accommodate their presentation and their failure to arrive was disrespectful.

The Chairperson responded that the International Heritage Conference was being held for the first time in Africa and would be chaired by South Africa (more specifically Mr Wakashe). An important issue would be the South African recommendation that a fund be set up to help African countries that could not afford to maintain their World Heritage sites. Robben Island was one of the sites that had begun receiving money in order to maintain World Heritage Committee’s standards. He would follow up with the Minister to find out what was expected of Members during the conference.

Members were also interested in a number of publications on African films. It was requested that the Committee Clerk speak to Mr Eddie Mbalo from the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) so that the Committee could have subscriptions to these publications.

The Chairperson commented about the South African movie "Mbiya and the Cow" that scooped up awards at the top films festival in Europe. A number of such initiatives had to be identified. The Parliament Film Festival initiated by the NFVF and the Parliamentary Millennium Project was an important example of what the Committee hoped to continue doing in the future. It had exposed MPs to public resources that were the catalyst for the development of the film and video industry. He lastly announced that the Committee meeting planned for 24 June had been cancelled.

The meeting was adjourned.



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