Budget Vote 14: Durban Playhouse; Artscape; National Arts Council: hearings

Arts and Culture

16 March 2006
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Meeting Summary

A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.

Meeting report

16 March 2006

Acting Chairperson:

Mr R Sonto (ANC)

Documents handed out:

Progressive Report to the Portfolio Committee-March 2006
National Arts Council Audit report for year ended 31 March 2005
National Arts Council Budget 2006-2007

The Durban Playhouse presenters started their submission but were stopped as the Committee had not been provided with any documentation. Members felt the presenters should report back at a later date when that was ready.

The Committee was then briefed by the National Arts Council (NAC) and by ArtsCape. Members raised concerns about inbalances in the labour force at ArtsCape.

Durban Playhouse submission
The Durban Playhouse presenters started their submission but were stopped as the Committee had not been provided with any documentation. Members felt the presenters should report back at a later date when that was ready.

National Arts Council submission
Ms J Diphofa, Acting Chief Executive Officer, told the Committee that they had receive their annual grant of approximately R51 million from the National Department of Arts and Culture. During the September 2005 funding session, 1 085 applications had been received. Gauteng province accounted for approximately 50% of these. ‘Company funding’ was three-year funding for registered companies practising the arts, which was reviewed annually through narrative reports and field visits. The NAC ensured that this funding was accessible to previously disadvantaged and newly established organisations that practised African art forms, and application forms were available in all official languages. Currently there was no board and she urged that a board be appointed as a matter of urgency.

Mr K Isvarlal, Chief Financial Officer, told Members that during 2004/2005, they had had a surplus of R6 million. They had allocated available funds to projects and grants of R10 million in the current financial year. He explained that the previous board had been dissolved by the Minister in December 2004. With the assistance of internal auditors, they were in the process of finalising an assets management policy to be presented to the Department for approval. An Audit Committee would operate once the NAC Board had been appointed, together with all other committees required in terms of the Public Finances Management Act (PFMA). A Risk Assessment, Fraud Prevention Plan and Materiality and significant framework policies and documents were being finalised. Final documents would have to be presented to the NAC Board for adoption. The NAC had submitted quarterly reports to the Department for the financial years 2005/06. Budgets for 2007, 2008 and 2009 had also been submitted.

Ms M Mdlalose (NADECO) wanted to know if the Committee could be provided with a programme of when the NAC would be hosting workshops.

Mr J Maake (ANC) wanted to know who ran the organisation as there was no board in place.

Mr G Lekgetho (ANC) commented that equitable funding seemed to be a perpetual challenge. It was the policy of government to take services to the public who had been previously disadvantaged.

Ms J Diphufa replied that the NAC currently had two departments, and that there were seven disciplines headed by an Arts Developmental Officer. The Advisory Panel had been publicly nominated. Once a board had been appointed, a new panel would also be appointed. Organisations in all nine provinces had complained about they funding they received, which was why they had held the funding workshops. They would make the programme available to Members.

The Chairperson commented that it was well-known that emerging artists had to move to Johannesburg if they wanted to make a living.

Mr J Maake (ANC) commented that some of the institutions that did receive funding, could contribute to the problem of inequitable funding. One might find that an artist who received money to start a production in one province, then moved to another province – more conditions needed to be attached once a person received funding. Ms J Diphufa replied that it was everyone’s democratic right to move to another province even if they had received funding. They did check on the location of projects they were funding.

Mr M Matlala (ANC) commented that part of the problem was that there was no board. He said that the NAC should meet with the Minister to address this problem. The Chairperson commented that the process of appointing a board was taking place, but that it was a challenge.

ArtsCape submission
Mr M Maas, CEO, believed the performing arts could cross barriers and that it could enhance nationbuilding. They ran internships and a resource centre had been started in 2005. They had advertised two positions, a Supply Chain Officer and a Compliance Officer. Their main aim was to maintain a world-class infrastructure. Their immediate focus was on how to make their facilities available to other businesses, as well as to young and emerging groups. They had also assisted producers by allowing them to use their facilities, and were trying to reflect diversity on stage. They had also established satellite theatres in Mitchell’s Plain, Langa and Gugulethu, and dramatised school setworks, and had an international exchange programme. ArtsCape had run a week-long promotion programme in Vredendal. Set-building had been outsourced to another company, and they would also focus on skills transfer to other artists. Research was currently being done by the Department of Communications into promoting indigenous song and dance.

Ms M Le Roux, Education and Audience Development Manager, told Members that it was their duty to introduce all South Africans to art. Satellite theatres empowered communities, and helped keep artists in their communities. Many artists did not had a place where they could type documents and do research, so they had started a resource centre. ArtsCape also ran a ‘Disability Festival’, and had made their theatres more accessible to disabled. They were in the process of contracting visual artists to depict the country’s history on the walls inside the ArtsCape centre. They were also trying to involve parents from different cultural backgrounds in the arts.

Mr P Lourens, Chief Financial Officer (CFO), told Members that their programmes were restricted by their budget - in 2003, they had received R23 million, and had since been cut by R5 million. Funding for Capital Works was used to maintain infrastructure. There had not been any surpluses and that whatever money was left over, was ploughed back into the company. This year they were hoping to end with a surplus. Their staff compliment had decreased from 800 to 67, and they currently had 22 contract workers.

Ms D Ramodibe (ANC) wanted to know how other provinces benefited from ArtsCape.

Mr J Maake (ANC) also wanted to know what geographical areas they covered. He asked how they related to local council in terms of infrastructure. He also wanted to know if they only dealt with the performing arts, and if Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET) was part of their core functions.

Mr M Matlala (ANC) commented that there seemed to be ‘discrepancies’ in their staff. Ms D Ramodibe (ANC) said the gender balance was very poor. Mr P Lourens replied that they did have training programmes in place to address the staff imbalance.

Mr M Maas replied that their programmes had developed artists that had travelled around the world. One of the South African productions had been invited to the Art Festival. Another production had been invited to Dublin. They served the Western Cape primarily, but some programmes had been conducted in Port Elizabeth. The performing arts constituted their ‘core structure’, but they were also associated with the visual arts. They were committed to finding the skills to replace those staff they had lost. Their appraisal system might put more pressure on the staff.

Ms M Le Roux replied that ArtsCape encouraged schools to perform together so that pupils learned what other areas and communities looked like. They provided training for young choir conductors and provided learnerships as part of ABET. However, this was not part of their core mandate.

The Chairperson commented that they did not seem to be crying over funding. Mr Maas replied that even though they received funding from the National Department, their mandate was not national. Traditionally, they were a Cape Town-based organisation. They regard the funding received as ‘seed money to grow the business’. However they could do with more money for some of the projects that they would like to start. They had kept the core infrastructure to a minimum cost.

The meeting was adjourned.



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