A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.
ARTS AND CULTURE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
15 March 2006
NATIONAL FILM AND VIDEO FOUNDATION, NATIONAL ARTS COUNCIL, NATIONAL LIBRARY OF SOUTH AFRICA, FREEDOM PARK TRUST: BUDGET REVIEW
Acting Chairperson: Mr M Sonto (ANC)
Documents handed out:
ARTS AND CULTURE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
National Film and Video Foundation budget presentation
National Film and Video Foundation corporate plan 2006/07
National Arts Council budget 2006/07 presentation
Introduction to National Library of South Africa: Part 1 & 2
Freedom Park Trust presentation
Freedom Park Trust strategy and budget 2006-2009
The Committee assessed presentations made by the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF), National Arts Council (NAC), National Library of South Africa (NLSA) and the Freedom Park Trust about their programmes and budgets for 2006/07. The Committee was presented with budget concerns from each of the organisations and agreed that, whilst the projects were important, operating costs in general should be examined. Detailed budgets reviews needed to be provided in order for the Committee to make recommendations about budget funding.
The acting Chairperson welcomed the NFVF and apologised for the delay in meeting with it the previous year. The Chairperson congratulated the NFVF for their involvement in ‘Tsotsi’, the Academy Awarding winner for best foreign film. The Committee agreed that a representative should address the cast and crew of Tsotsi on their accolade.
National Film and Video Foundation: Budget Presentation
Chairperson of the NFVF, Mr Mfundi Vundla, started the presentation by stating it was important for the Committee to help clear the name of the NFVF after misrepresented facts were found in the media. Mr Vundla made mention of the fact that the NFVF was one of the best performing units in the Arts and Culture Department (DAC) and it was therefore vitally important to uphold its name. The South African Government has made the South African film industry a top priority, but the media did not reflect this good work of the NFVF.
Ms Karen Son (Chief Financial Officer) pointed out that the NFVF business plan was R55 million for all its programmes and yet the current funding allocation was R26,08 million. Most importantly the receipt of the feature film fund of R35 million over the three years, 2002 to 2004, had lapsed. She outlined the NFVF strategic initiatives. These included: audience development, production of local films and establishment of a local genre, global positioning of the South African film industry, capital formation, infrastructure and facilities development for future productions, human capital development, the development of Sectoral Information Systems (SIS) to accurately measure sector performance, economic and job multiplier effects. [Currently the fragmented statistics relating to the sector made it difficult to measure economic performance and therefore sector investment attractiveness. This would be achieved through collaboration with Statistics South Africa amongst others.]
Mr Vundla outlined the challenges facing the NFVF due to the funding squeeze. He noted that films including ‘Tsotsi’, ‘Drum’ and ‘Zulu Love Letter’ had received financial contributions from NFVF. Along with the funding, totaling R 22 million, the NVFV had offered significantly important endorsements to the films and helped create an estimated 200 jobs per feature film. In order to continue this, the NVFV had had to cut down on the bursaries offered in their developmental undertakings. As a result of a lack of resources and money, the aspirations of a developing country had been halted.
Mr Vundla mentioned that the NFVF currently ran on a skeleton staff in order to minimise expenses. Key staff positions were vacant. The special three year (2002, 2003, 2004) allocation of R35 million, which was aimed at feature film production had had a positive impact on the sector. This was clearly evident in the growth in the volume of feature films produced during the period. Recognition of this had come through the number of international awards that these films had received. This had confirmed South Africa’s global positioning as a film-making country. To sustain and grow this it was imperative that this funding was continued and increased so as to ensure that those filmmakers who had been supported as well as emerging filmmakers could develop sustainable businesses.
According to the NFVF Act, the organisation may not exceed 25% of its allocation on expenses. Recently, the costs reached 38% due to the lapse in film funding. The NFVF had had to write a letter to the Minister of Finance in order to accommodate the expenditure.
The Committee expressed concern that the NFVF has had to resort to not filling key staff positions that were vacant in order to make ends meet.
Mr Vundla pointed out that the success of South African films today was as a result of investment strategies made in 2001 and 2002. Due to the current funding status, the same results could not projected in the future.
Ms D Van der Walt (DA) said she was concerned about the budget problems, especially since employees were being retrenched. She suggested that the NFVF concentrate on delivering quality productions instead of concerning itself with the quantity of local productions. The rest of the Committee echoed these concerns. As suggested in the presentation, the Committee felt that not enough was being done to take cinema to the rural areas as opposed to the urban areas.
Mr Vundla responded by reminding the Committee that the Department had held back R12 million and that this would be helpful in taking forward the issues of rural cinemas and films in indigenous languages. The NFVF was purely a developmental organisation, as opposed to the IDC, which was concerned with commercial cinema. The private sector would not contribute to rural cinemas, as it was not financially viable. The NFVF, along with Government, had to create a solid infrastructure in order to reap the benefits in the years to come.
National Arts Council Budget 2006/2007
Mr Kiran Isvarnal (CFO) presented a summary of the NAC budget to the Committee (see document).
Despite the grant being distributed in installments, the Committee expressed its desire to review a more detailed budget so that it could be seen how the grant was distributed amongst the various beneficiaries. The budget needed to be broken down more obviously. Concerns were also noted that a chairperson had not yet been appointed after more than four months of waiting.
Mr Sydney Selepe (Department: Chief Director) clarified the structure of the various departmental agencies. He explained that the Minister had rejected the list of candidates, as there were not enough women submitted. A new list had since been submitted.
Ms Julie Diphofa (NAC Assistant Arts Development Manager) noted that currently the NAC conducted two funding sessions per year (February and September.) Applicants that needed to attend festivals were reviewed earlier so as to accommodate the festivals at occurred at various times of the year. The application process took two and a half months as applicants were personally visited by means of a new monitoring process.
The NAC realised that arts companies need to transform and it proposed getting involved with local municipalities. A peer review program had also been devised so that the most deserving parties, according to various internal suggestions, received funding.
The Committee queried provincial grant allocation and in response, they were made aware of the migration of artists to urban areas. As a result of this unplanned movement, urban areas (those more populated with artists) received more funding.
National Library of South Africa
National Librarian, Mr John K Tsebe, reviewed the current status of the National Library for the Committee. Since there was only one national library, Mr Tsebe briefed the Committee on the history of the establishment. The NLSA was important as it held the knowledge for the nation. It currently served the public, libraries and the information sector. It had important reference sections that were accessible through phone, fax and post. Notably the NLSA housed items of indigenous and colonial documents, the original sheet music of South Africa’s national anthem and significant book collections that had been donated.
The Centre For the Book, a sector of the NLSA, promoted writing, reading, marketing and distribution of local literary works. According to the Legal Deposit Act, one copy of every book/newspaper/other print/electronic item published in South Africa had to be preserved. This was done by the NLSA. NLSA contributed to the roles of Nepad and the International Federation of Library Associates, which stated that all humans have the right to universal access to information.
The Committee queried the development of libraries in rural areas and transformation of the NLSA.
Mr Tsebe explained that the NLSA was currently expanding its leadership. A new Head of Human Resources had recently been appointed. Mr Tsebe then went on to remind the committee that the NLSA was not a local library but instead a national library, whose role was one of leadership. However, NLSA had pledged to purchase all books that had been published in any of South Africa's indigenous languages.
Freedom Park Trust
Mr Wally Serote (CEO) noted that the Freedom Park Trust was meant to reflect the history of South Africa from pre-colonial to post-Apartheid South Africa for all South Africans. The presentation provided a budget breakdown noting a shortfall of R174 838 000.
Mr Serote suggested to the Committee that Freedom Park represented the most sensitive and complex issues of the nation. The project was intended for all and accordingly a dialogue between all parties was necessary. The money for the project must be spent in a way so that the investment was protected.
Mr Serote justified to the Committee the reasons for specific entries in the budget. He said that the Park must not become a target on account of its representation of strife. Money therefore needed to be spent on a panel of ‘healing experts’ so as to avoid this. This panel would include representatives of churches, psychologists, traditional healers and psychiatrists.
Freedom Park’s first phase unveiling would take place on 21 March 2006, where 10 000 names, on the ‘Wall of Names’, would be released. This would continue every public holiday in 2006, culminating on 16 December, Youth Day. Freedom Park's Garden of Remembrance also featured an eternal flame for all heroes and an amphitheatre – where the living could pay tribute to the dead through reenactments.
The Committee voiced its excitement for the project, yet were concerned by the extremely large shortfall in finances. It was decided that the Committee must involve itself in sourcing additional funding through the Government, the private sector and the public. It was proposed that all those involved in the Freedom Park Trust should meet so as to draw up a plan of action to find the required funds.
The meeting was adjourned.
No related documents
- We don't have attendance info for this committee meeting
Download as PDF
You can download this page as a PDF using your browser's print functionality. Click on the "Print" button below and select the "PDF" option under destinations/printers.
See detailed instructions for your browser here.