Address by the Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture, Paul Mashatile, on the occasion of the National Heritage Council Funding Summit
10 Jul 2009
Members of the National Heritage Council
The Chief Executive Officer of the National Heritage Council, Advocate Sonwabile Mancotywa
Leaders from government agencies in the arts, culture and heritage sector
Representatives of local government
Representatives of the business community
Members of the diplomatic corps
Ladies and gentlemen
Today is the last day of the National Heritage Council Funding Summit. As you prepare to conclude proceedings of this important summit, we hope that you have gone a long way towards achieving the objectives you have set for yourselves.
We believe further that throughout the cause of today’s proceedings, you will make even more progress towards the overall objective of ensuring that the heritage sector in our country is adequately resourced. We look forward to the outcomes of this summit which we believe will strengthen ongoing efforts to promote and protect our national heritage, for present and future generations.
This summit provides a platform for us as the Department of Arts and Culture to further deepen our interaction with stakeholders in the arts, culture and heritage sector. It is our intention to continue interacting with stakeholders because we know that; working together we can unlock this sector’s unique ability to promote national unity, nation building, reconciliation and social cohesion.
Together we can also enhance this sector’s contribution to economic development and the creation of decent work and other economic opportunities.
Over the past fifteen years of freedom and democracy the arts, culture and heritage sector has played a critical role in shaping our identity as a nation, a nation united in diversity, a nation that has overcome adversity and a nation founded on the noble principles of equality and human dignity for all.
Despite the important role played by this sector in shaping our democratic society, it continues to face challenges mainly as a result of inadequate funding.
Since joining the ministry about two months ago, we have met a number of cultural practitioners who have expressed frustration at the manner in which the arts, culture and heritage sector is funded in our country. Many of them tell stories of how their artistic expression and creative abilities are constrained by lack of funding.
They relate to us the difficulty they have in meeting some of the stringent compliance requirements for their projects to access funding. They tell of the skewed distribution of funding in favour of projects in the urban areas to the exclusion of those in the rural areas. They complain about the seemingly endless doors they have to knock-on before receiving assistance.
They also tell of how their products and initiatives are appreciated outside the borders of our country and receive little recognition in the country of their birth. On this important occasion we wish to say; your concerns have not fallen on deaf ears.
This government is committed to the development of the arts, culture and heritage sector. Guided by that seminal document of our people, the Freedom Charter, we shall continue to discover, develop and encourage national talent for the enhancement of our cultural life. We will also work together with all stakeholders to ensure that we develop, promote and protect our national heritage, which reflects our collective memory as a nation.
In particular as the Department of Arts and Culture, we will begin a process of aligning our funding to the priorities we have identified. This entails ensuring that our funding agencies such as the National Heritage Council are provided with adequate funds, within the limits of the resources available to us, to allow them to execute their mandate effectively. We will also improve our monitoring and evaluation of the projects funded by our funding agencies. This we will do in order to maximise the impact of our interventions.
Furthermore, efforts will be intensified to improve co-ordination among the various funding agencies within the department, to eliminate duplication and derive value for money.
We will also improve collaboration with both local and provincial government in order to ensure that resources available to all spheres of government are directed to where the need is, especially towards grassroots heritage projects.
It is also our view that development finance institutions such as the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), Khula Enterprise Finance and the National Empowerment Fund have an important role to play in making funding available for heritage projects.
Government also has a responsibility to identify further funding opportunities made possible by our interaction and co-operation with other countries in the world.
We are aware that a number of foreign countries have, over the years, funded various local arts, culture and heritage projects. We must work together to intensify efforts aimed at attracting even more international funding.
Programme director, given the important role that the arts, culture and heritage sector plays in our economy and in the promotion of social cohesion, perhaps the time has come for us to ask the question; whether as a nation we are ready to provide additional incentives to encourage more private sector investment in this sector.
We have seen how the film industry has benefited from the package of support measures introduced by our government. These measures have succeeded in positioning our country as a high quality production destination for international and local film making. They have also resulted in job creation and the development of a number of supplier industries. We look forward to deliberations at this summit to guide us on matters such as these.
We applaud the work done by the arts and culture trust, of which we are founder members and Business Arts South Africa (BASA). Our challenge going forward is to think beyond these institutions and create more opportunities for the private sector to fund the arts, culture and heritage sector.
As government we have a responsibility to use resources at our disposal to leverage private sector funding into this sector. There are a number of examples in our country where government has used its resources to crowd in private sector investment into strategic sectors.
In Gauteng for example we were able to leverage more than R12 billion in private sector capital towards funding housing developments for middle income earners in the province. This we did by investing seed capital into the provincial housing partnership fund, thus opening the door for the private sector to partner with us in this project.
The arts, culture and heritage sector can learn and improve on such examples.
We also need to put mechanisms in place to train especially grassroots practitioners, to equip them with the skills necessary for them to package their funding proposals in a manner that will appeal to private funders. This we say because funding proposals are often rejected not because they are unsound, but because they are not packaged properly for the potential investor to see value in investing in them.
Programme director, I am told that one of the outcomes of this summit will be the establishment of the funders’ forum. I trust that this forum will succeed in its objective of coordinating all heritage funding efforts with a view to maximise the impact of our collective interventions. We look up to this forum to mobilise all resources available for heritage funding towards ensuring the economic viability and sustainability of this sector.
As I conclude I wish to urge all South Africans to support the local arts, culture and heritage industry. We must give practical meaning to the saying that; local is lekker, so as to make it possible for our artists to earn a decent living and to ensure that their projects are sustainable.
I wish you a successful Summit.
Issued by: Department of Arts and Culture
10 July 2009
Source: Department of Arts and Culture (http://www.dac.gov.za/)
Issued by: Department of Arts and Culture
10 Jul 2009
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