Annual Department Report

Meeting Summary

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Meeting report


21 February 2007

: Mr B Tolo (ANC, Mpumalanga)

Document handed out:
Briefing on Department of Arts and Culture 2006 Annual Report
Department of Arts and Culture 2006 Annual Report [available at]

The Department presented its annual report. It set out the programmes and strategic framework. Government would accelerate economic growth and expand equity by creating wealth amongst all segments of the South African society including the youth women and the disabled. There was a need to appraise how far the country had come in having a non racial and sexist society, and to achieve true equality. Some of the flagship projects were outlined, which included the promotion of African languages and promotion of literature. National film and video foundation work was given a large grant which had helped to put South Africa into the international arena. The Department was hoping to create a new national identity and foster cohesion and a sense of common purpose amongst the different segments of the society. Some of the challenges faced included a problem with the supply chain management, some policy and legislation limitations, broader Government action and clusters, human capacity limitations, monitoring and evaluating research, integrated planning in the Department and budget reduction.

Members sought clarity on why it took a long time to get projects off the ground. The state of the Timbuktu project in Gauteng was enquired into. More light should be thrown on the Department’s plans to achieve equity. Efforts to curtail substance abuse and monitor offensive musical lyrics amongst musicians were areas of concern to the Committee. The Heritage promotion project should be spread out to include the different nations in the country. The Committee also recommended that a synergy be created between the Department and the Provinces to promote South African culture and values.

Annual Report Briefing by Department of Arts and Culture(DAC)
Professor I. Mosala, Director –General, Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) presented the al report for the period 1 April 2005 to March 2006. He stated that the aim of the DAC was to develop and preserve South African culture to ensure social cohesion and nation building. DAC’s activities were divided into the six programmes of administration, arts and culture in society, national language services, cultural development and international co-operation, heritage promotion and national archives. In order to promote culture, the Department rendered assistance to public institutions.

Some of the highlights were outlined. One of the flagship efforts was the promotion of African language. There was collaboration with some tertiary institutions to develop indigenous languages by collecting and preserving indigenous music and oral history.. Literature in local African languages would be promoted. Bursaries were awarded to students pursuing studies in African languages. The language project created new jobs (including 28% for the disabled).

The national film and video foundation was awarded R34, 720 million and this has paid off by way of the tremendous success of South African films in the international arena, culminating in the nomination of films like Tsotsi for the Oscars. The cultural development and international co-operation with other countries had yielded dividends by way of international recognition of South African films. It had also provided support for emerging writers. The DAC hosted the African film summit and brought film representation from all over the continent as a contribution to the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) cultural industries programme.

There was support for the Provincial Growth Development Strategy (PGDS) and the Integrated Development Plan (IDP). The Heritage day 2005 celebration was held in the North West Province and included a speech by the President as well as the promotion of several indigenous foods. Several geographical names have been standardized within the year in review. The second annual Albert Luthuli memorial lecture was held at the university of Kwazulu Natal.

The DAC had a number of problems within the period in review and these included a problem with the supply chain management. Other challenges include policy and legislation limitations, broader Government action and clusters, human capacity limitations, monitoring and evaluating research, integrated planning in the Department and budget reduction.

The Department would create a new national identity and foster cohesion and a sense of common purpose amongst the different segments of the society.

Mr M Thetjeng (DA, Limpopo Province) noted that there were many projects in the Pretoria museum within the past year. He wanted to know the state of the Timbuktu project.

Prof Mosala explained that the Timbuktu project was run from the Presidency. The Department was represented in the project by the Deputy Minister. Although the Office of the President was in charge, the DAC was actively involved in it.

Mr Thetjeng commented that the Department’s equity report as contained in its briefing was not impressive. He asked what the Department was doing to achieve its employment equity plans.

Prof Mosala replied that the Department was at the top when compared with other Departments in terms of compliance with Government’s inclusive employment drive for all segments of the society. The Cabinet had affirmed that the Department had exceeded the initial targets set for a representative workforce. The DAC had done very well in employing women. There was still room for improvement in employing the disabled, but the DAC was at par with other Departments in this regard and was in no way lagging behind.

Mr Thetjeng enquired into the position of the DAC in relation to the controversial song about the general De La Ray.

Prof Mosala said that the Minister was the spokesperson in respect of that issue and he had also done very well in handling the matter. South Africans were free to express themselves in art form and it was often difficult to determine people’s motives for their artistic work. Undue monitoring therefore could stifle creativity. The DAC would if necessary monitor the distortion of the national anthem.

Ms N Madlala-Magubane (ANC, Gauteng) commended the Department’s effort in presenting a well thought out and researched report. She asked whether children and the youth were being absorbed in the employment equity, especially in the urban areas. She clarified that there was no absorption of these mentioned groups into the workforce in the rural areas.

Prof Mosala said that more could be done to employ youths in the workforce.

A Committee Member asked what the Department was doing to control substance abuse amongst performing artists in the country.

Mr Sydney Selepe, Deputy Director General, DAC replied that substance abuse amongst artists was a long standing issue. It was difficult for the Department to determine why artists abused drugs. It could be as a result of frustration of not having adequate control over their intellectual property. There was collaboration between the Department and Hugh Masekela to tackle problems that may affect artists. A creative union would be set up to ensure that artists had more control over their intellectual property. The Department was poised to aid all artists.

The Department was asked why the heritage promotion was concentrated in the Zulu nation and not spread out to the other nations.

Mr Irwin Langeveld, Director, DACexplained that the Heritage sites were well spread throughout the Country and were not restricted to the Zulu nation. There were a total of 9 heritage sites presently being developed and these were located in Gauteng, Western Cape, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu Natal Provinces. There was no bias in
favour of the Zulu nation.

Mr M Sulliman (ANC, Northern Cape) asked if there was enough enlightenment drive to explain the reasons for name changes of monuments or places to the wider public.

Mr Langeveld replied that more could be done to enlighten the public on the need for any planned name change to monuments and places. The Provinces could also help by throwing light on name changes billed to take place in their domains.

The Chairperson commented that the process of name change for places and monuments was rather slow. The rate of name change should be accelerated to ensure that the Country had an African feel by the time it hosted the World Cup in 2010. It was important that visitors felt they were in Africa.

Mr Sulliman asked why there was much delay in completing the freedom park.

Prof Mosala explained that capital projects did not always lend themselves to time frames preferred by the National Treasury. Many factors could delay the pace of a project. Architects might be slow in completing their part of the projects, thereby slowing down the whole process. In such a situation the DAC would return to the Treasury and ask for a roll-over. However when there were repeated requests for a roll-over, Treasury might not grant that request. Therefore in a sense there was a clash of processes and procedures.

Mr Sulliman asked whether the Department worked closely with the Education Department to ensure that the mother-tongue was taught in schools.

Prof Mosala replied in the affirmative.

Ms H Lamoela (DA, Western Cape) enquired as to the efforts of the Department to ensure proper monitoring of its projects.

The question was not answered.

Ms Lamoela asked what criteria the DAC used in allocating translators to the different languages.

Prof Mosala explained that this was demand driven; the department assigned more translators to a language where there was increased demand or need.

The Chairperson noted that not enough effort was made towards promoting indigenous languages. Government should encourage publication of books in any of the official languages. Language could be promoted by making use of some modern electronic devices like the short message texts (SMS). Culture was lost when languages are poorly promoted.

Prof Mosala agreed that there was a need to have a contemporary angle to stories written in African languages, as this was an effective way of drawing in the youth. African culture was often viewed as stagnant or steeped in ancient history. There was need to draw on current trends in African culture.

Ms Lamoela asked whether the Department involved the provincial and local governments in its projects.

Prof Mosala replied that the Department would intensify efforts to collaborate with the provincial and local governments. A programme to promote local languages had been achieved by partnering with Universities located in the provinces.

The Chairperson asked why the Department did not plan ahead of time since this would make it easier to spend funds within the stipulated time.

Prof Mosala explained that priorities changed over time and therefore planning too far ahead of time might not be a solution. Some projects might be shelved or new ones initiated within a set time. The DAC was however seeking ways of dealing with the problem.

The meeting was adjourned.


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