SA Roadies Association: briefing

Arts and Culture

28 August 2007
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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report

28 August 2007

Acting Chairperson: Mr R Sonto (ANC)

Documents handed out:
Presentation by Mr Freddie Nyathela Part 1 and Part 2

Audio recording of meeting


The South African Roadies Association briefed the Committee. It was formed to empower youth from disadvantaged communities with technical skills in production, after its founder, Mr Freddie Nyathela had realised that although black people were involved in entertainment they were not being backed up by others skilled in production. The Association said it received most of its funding from international organisations, and from the National Lottery for the purchase of a building for use as an Institute for Sound. It had received little support from the Department of Arts and Culture, and a court action had finally resulted in intervention by the Public Protector, which had improved the relationship and communications. The Committee decided that since the discussions had only taken place the previous week it would be premature to make any decisions, but expressed appreciation for the fact that they were being kept informed.


South African Roadies Association (SARA) presentation by Mr Freddie Nyathela
Mr Freddie Nyathela, President and founder of South African Roadies Association, gave a briefing. The Association (SARA) was formed in 1992 to empower South Africa’s youth from disadvantaged communities, and aimed primarily to educate them in technical production skills. There was no point in developing artistic skills without the technical back-up. Many black people were deprived of developing those skills, which were of prime importance in the entertainment industry. Mr Nyathela had been a “roadie” with a big band, and during this time he noted many imbalances in the technical side. He then formed this Association to empower people in an attempt to correct those imbalances.

SARA had established an international exchange programme with Ireland, and the programme continue with involvement currently from USA, Denmark and Norway

Mr Nyathela informed the Committee about the organisation, and the importance of the technical and production side. (See attached presentation for full details) He detailed the organisational chart and the strategic objectives and set out what was done in the 2006/07 year, as well as tabling plans for the next three years. Full details of the funding sought were also contained in the presentation. He stated that SARA had the potential for significant impact on employment, community impacts, social, trade and national sectors.

Mr Nyathela informed the Committee that he had been struggling to get support from the Department of Arts and Culture. This had eventually resulted in a court action, but the Public Protector intervened and set certain recommendations, which the Department still did not follow through. Last Wednesday the Roadies, the Department and the Public Protector had met. The Department then showed itself to be more cooperative and willing to have a working relationship with SARA.

Mr Nyathela said that SARA was the only organisation that empowered the youth with technical production skills in the country, if not in Africa too, and could do far more if it received the support that it deserved. Even in the new South Africa with so many live events and conferences, those who were benefiting by getting the work and the exposure were those who were already advantaged. In 2003, SARA had managed to get funding from the National Lotteries and bought a building where it was trying to set up an Institute of Sound. There was a great deal of potential for job creation in the industry. 

Ms D Ramodibe (ANC) wanted clarification on the audited statement of 2006 as it did not appear in the handout.

Mr Nyathela replied that the auditors still had the 2006 financial statement.

The Chairperson asked about their sources of funding.

Mr S Opperman (DA) asked what kind of financial support SARA had received until now.

Mr Nyathela replied that 98% of the funding had come from international donors. The French and Cirque du Soleil Circus in USA, as well as a private foundation called the Read Foundation had contributed funding that was specifically used for equipment purchases. The funding to buy a building for their Institute of Sound had been received from the National Lottery. SARA had never received funds for administration costs.

Mr H Maluleka (ANC) wanted to know who were the members of SARA.

Mr Nyathela replied that SARA was a registered non-profit organisation. They had a board of trustees, and were membership driven. The management structure consisted of seven people including himself.

Mr Maluleka asked where did the beneficiaries come from and who they were.

Mr Nyathela relied that there were students coming from all the provinces, especially the youth from disadvantaged communities, and most of the beneficiaries were black. This was not through any discrimination, but because they were the disadvantaged people who required opportunities. If SARA had managed to get more support, it would have set up similar structures in all provinces. All that was required from the students was a R50 joining fee, and the training was free.

Mr G Lekgetho (ANC) asked why Mr Nyathela had not brought the rest of the board with him. 

The Chairperson noted the organisational chart and said that it reflected the staff complement. He specifically requested the responsibilities of each member. .

Mr Nyathela replied that there was a lack of funds, and even though he would have liked to bring some of his colleagues, SARA could not afford to do so. A company based in Johannesburg had financed the trip for him to come to Parliament.

Mr Maluleka asked about the board of trustees.

Mr Nyathela replied that the members of the board were capable. SiphoHotstixMabuse had resigned two years back and SARA had requested Yvonne Chaka Chaka to sit on the board.  She had agreed and it just had to be formalised.

Mr Opperman asked what were the reasons given by the Department for their lack of support.

Mr Nyathela replied that the Department did recognise the association. However, the reason advanced for their inability to provide support was that they did not want to fund SARA piecemeal. This was also the reason why they had asked for a three year strategic plan. The roadies had regrettable experienced some animosity from certain members in the Department, because they had managed to get international support without the Department’s help.

The Chairperson commented that after a constant struggle with the Department the public protector had finally intervened. The recommendations made by the public protector and the improved relations between the Department and SARA could create a fruitful relationship. The Chairperson suggested that they should wait for some results, as the meeting with the Public Protector, the Department and the Roadies had taken place as recently as last week Wednesday. The Committee appreciated the interaction.

Mr Nyathela agreed with the Chairperson’s observations.

The Chairperson then adjourned the meeting.



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