The Department of Arts and Culture briefed the committee on Budget Allocations Vote 12 2008/2009. The need for the briefing had arisen as a result of complaints that had been received about Medium Term Expenditure Framework allocations that had been made to associated institutions. The briefing entailed a breakdown of the six programmes of the Department, which were administration, arts and culture in society, national language service, cultural development and international co-operation, heritage promotion and National archives, records, libraries and heraldic services. The committee was also provided with a breakdown of figures for the Department’s expenditure trends as well as a summary of the Department’s Budget for 2008/2009. Further detail on the Department’s programmes was also provided.
Members asked why the expenditure on the Jazz Festival was so high, what was being spent on other events such as Women’s Day, Freedom Day and so forth, called for an explanation of the different types of libraries listed, why lottery funds were not being paid, and how the funding linked in to programmes around tourism. Further questions were asked about the spending on historic schools, the allocations for different museums, construction of libraries, the disparity between salaries offered to local and overseas film actors, and the one-sided nature of certain Departmental events.
Budget Allocations: Vote 12 for 2008/09: Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) briefing
The Department of Arts and Culture briefed the Committee on Budget Allocations Vote 12 2008/2009.
Mr Themba Wakashe, Director General, Department of Arts and Culture, stated that the need for the briefing had arisen as a result of complaints that had been received about Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) allocations that had been made to associated institutions. He noted that there was a huge gap in funding because of the lack of disbursement of funds by the Lotteries Board. Mr Wakashe felt there to be serious dysfunction in the Lotteries Board. He pointed out that the Lotteries Board Act did not allow for funds to be allocated to private companies, but only to non-profit organisations. Mr Wakashe said that the problem was that there were no non-profit organizations in the film sector. The film sector was mostly comprised of private companies who also grappled with financial issues, and hence needed funding.
Mr Wakashe noted that another issue was that within the Arts and Culture sector there was an under usage of expertise in associated institutions. He emphasised that the aim of the Department was to develop and preserve South African culture to ensure social cohesion and nation building.
Mr Wakashe then continued with an in depth breakdown of the six programmes of the Department, which were administration, arts and culture in society, national language service, cultural development and international co-operation, heritage promotion and lastly National archives, records, libraries and heraldic services. He set out the purpose of each programme. (see attached document for details)
Mr Wakashe then provided the Committee with a breakdown of figures for the Department’s MTEF expenditure trends as well as a summary of the Department’s Budget for 2008/2009. Further detail on the department’s programmes was also provided. Full details appear on the attached presentation.
Mr H Maluleka (ANC) referred to the Department’s expenditure of R6 million on the Cape Town Jazz Festival and asked why the expenditure was so high. He also asked what was being spent on Woman’s Day, Freedom Day, Day of Reconciliation and similar events.
Mr Maluleka also asked for an explanation on the different types of libraries that were listed.
Mr Wakashe said that most of the activities promoted by the Department were in keeping with its aims. A great deal of the spending was thus being made in areas that would promote social cohesion. The smaller items were special campaigns that the Department itself drove.
He explained that “meta info” was just modern terminology for “library and information services”. Mr Wakashe said that community libraries were being built throughout the country. The “libraries” referred to in the budget referred to the National Libraries in Cape Town and Pretoria.
Ms D Ramodibe (ANC) asked why lottery funds were not coming through. She also asked whether the lottery did not fall under the Department of Trade and Industry.
Mr Wakashe reiterated that the Lotteries Board refused to provide funding to film companies to make films. The Lotteries Board was adamant that funding would only be provided to non-profit organizations.
Ms Ramodibe further asked for clarity on the Department’s special projects. She asked whether there was a relationship between social cohesion projects and Ubuntu and similar aims.
The Chairperson referred to the funding of projects and asked how the Department related these with tourism.
Mr Ndima said that the Department worked with Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism on two levels. The first was on the World Heritage Site Committee, and the second was on the joint study on the role of heritage in economic development. Heritage was important to both Departments.
Mr B Zulu (ANC) referred to the expenditure of R14 million on historic schools, and asked for a breakdown of how these funds were going to be spent.
Mr Wakashe stated that the money set aside for historic schools was to preserve the heritage and legacy associated with such schools. Historic schools were regarded as centres of excellence. The idea was to enhance the values associated with historic schools.
Mr Zulu referred to the allocations for the Mandela and Luthuli museums and asked what criteria had been used to decide on the amounts allocated to each museum, being R13.8 million and R5.3 million respectively.
Mr Ndima said that the disbursements to the Mandela and Luthuli Museums were different because the two museums differed in size. The Luthuli Museum was one solid site whereas the Mandela Museum had three sites. The issue was about space and hence it impacted upon budget allocations.
Mr Zulu referred to the amount of R65m allocated to libraries and asked how many libraries were going to be constructed with the funds.
The Chairperson said that the Video and Film Foundation had raised grievances of local actors about foreign actors being paid more than the local actors received. She asked what criteria were used to determine remuneration.
Mr Wakashe said that salaries of actors depended upon differentiation on scales, and would also depend on the achievements of actors or actresses. He pointed out that foreign actors fell within certain earning brackets and unfortunately they would attract higher salaries and this must just be accepted as a fact.
Mr Maluleka said that he no longer attended Freedom Day celebrations. He said that these celebrations tended to be one sided, and cater mostly for the youth. Mr Maluleka felt that some of the music on offer at the celebrations was not necessarily bad, but that it did not instill good values in youth, as it spoke to drugs and alternative lifestyles. He believed that the music being played should attempt to change the outlook of the youth and have a positive influence.
Mr Wakashe said that the point made by Mr Maluleka was an important one. He admitted that celebrations in the past had been one-sided. In answer to the question what the Department had done to stimulate patriotism in SA, he conceded that, in the period 1994-2007, the Department had not focused on social cohesion. The Department was therefore currently trying to focus on this. He emphasised that social cohesion did not only apply to blacks but to all South Africans. It was a national issue.
Mr Wakashe also felt that South Africa was too obsessed about the youth, and that younger children were not taken into account. Mr Wakashe stated that the focus needed to be changed, and that children should be provided for in the Department’s budget. For instance, he noted that it had been some time since children’s’ theatre was being offered at Artscape. He posed the question.
Mr Wakashe nonetheless felt that the Department was achieving to some extent what it needed to. There had been some progress in addressing the challenges, but it was too early to say what impact this had made. Mr Wakashe said that South Africa lacked institutions to measure patterns of social cohesion.
The meeting was adjourned.
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