Speech by Peter Maluleka on the Arts & Culture Department Budget Vote Debate

8 June 2007

Chairperson

Hon Members

Distinguished Guests

Comrades

Ladies and Gentlemen:

The 2010 football world cup hosting is one of the high profile prestigious events on our national agenda. We are expected by the world, rightly so, to give them the best we can offer by way of hospitality and arts and culture is clearly one of the vehicles through which we will give them that hospitality.

The state of health of this sector and the resources it receives is crucial to the success of the 2010 project and the legacy we would like have beyond it.

We noted with appreciation in the past,the ministers interaction with people in the music industry through imbizos and we hope the issues they raised will be prominent in the support work and legacy projects in the pipeline for 2010.

The world cup is also a golden opportunity to think long term and deploy resources accordingly to do the sort of things we have had on our agenda but did not enjoy the urgency and priority 2010 enables us to give them.

The state of music in particular is a challenge. This artform has many genres and plays a critical role is our emerging nations health! Whether we celebrate, entertain, commemorate, mourn, remember, motivate, protest and just have fun music cuts across and permeates many facets our lives.

Principal too is our task in line with the reconstruction and development to level the playing field in resource allocation, promotion, exposure and development work to deliberately advance indigenous cultures and language practices that were repressed and or ignored and demeaned by the dominant in the past! It is because of sheer resilience that our peoples music remains vibrant but could even be more so with additional support.

A broad campaign, such as the african renaisance, to change mindsets to reassert our oneness with the rest of the continent is important and appropriate and requires the energetic support of everyone across the board.

The african connection, a music programme that showcases african talent from all over the continent with very informative social commentation on safm every saturday early afternoon is worth siting as a good example of exposing us more effectively to african music such as we have never been before.

We must, chairperson, raise our hat to safm, sabc and richard mwamba for outstanding regular contextualisation of the african music he plays and his attractive multilingual tongue! We hope member listen to that programme and popularises it for it serves more than intertainment purposes. It is a healthy reconnection with the mother continent

The work underway to improve the lot of musicians, to fight piracy, to encourage local support must be intensified. Their organisations must improve their communication and interaction with musicians all over the country including as is already happening, with those from the rest of the continent and the world who are enriching talent at our immediate reach!

Music cuts across programmes 2 to 4, that is, as already said, arts and culture in society, national language services, cultural development and international co-operation and heritage promotion. Comrade minister, these categorisation for the convienience of management, whilest helpful can sometimes take a life of their own.

Careful oversight over these areas is required to ensure that the benefits of this cross cutting nature acrue appropriately to the beneficiaries of government services. We have to make sure this frequent complaint of silo fragmentation is overcome.

Chairperson, let me again pay tribute where it is due. Last month saw an important pioneering spirit of jazz initiative to honour miriam makeba, winston mankunku, hotep idris galeta, jonas gwangwa, kiepie moeketsi, chris mcgregor, basil mannanberg coetzee, zakes nkosi and ntemi piliso take place at the newtown cultural pricinct in johannesburg .

The names of these jazz greats are ingraved in granite on what is called the walk of fame and next to their names is written brief inspirational stories about their lives. This illustrates the heritage linkage we made earlier on and we hope others follow with similar creative initiatives elsewhere in our country.

Chairperson, comrade minister, the work of the film and vedio foundation is critical. In the ceo's own assessment the nfvf faces the following challenges;

  • In order to create a sustainable industry and sustainable jobs, south africa needs to produce atleast 15-20 films per year in the next five years
  • In the past year, only 2 feature films have been produced and released
  • The rand value attributable to production has declined
  • The nfvf needs a long term vision and commitment by the department in order to ensure proper planning
  • In order to achieve its mandate the nfvf needs to increase its capacity.

Is this call by the nfvf reasonable minister, we think it is. Like them, we appreciate the increase in their budget by r9m per annum. We however recognise that most of their work focused heavily on development work which was largely resposible for the accolades south africa received in this sector last year.

Clearly additional support including from the private sector would go a long way to release the dynamic energy that lie untapped because of underfunding. 2010 as we said earlier, is an excellent opportunity because of the increase in curiosity by the many fans and their relatives who will come, and later - having come, will want to know more about our country.

The creative industry as one of asgisa's priority sectors makes additional investment and pooling of resources to redirect them into nfvf an appropriate step to take firmly without hesitation. We know you, comrade minister, you have capacity to persuade others to bring in their 'loli' as they would say in the townships - to add to the needed funding!

This year, chairperson, is the 30th annivesary of a highly significant event that took place in amsterdam. It was a huge cultural event that brought south africans at home and in exile to celebrate what they then called 'culture in another south africa'. Needless to say another south africa referred to the one that emerged post 1994 as different from apardheid south africa.

Yesterdays picket in solidarity with the people of palistine and the songs we sang, reminded me of that milestone solidarity event hosted by the city of amsterdam to allow south africans in a moment of borrowed freedom in another country to celebrate what culture they would release once our country became free.

One pallo jordan represented the nec of the african national congress at that great event, and the president being an internationalist, reminded us of that event by deploying this minister to head arts and culture! We wonder what he has in store for us to close that loop of our history to thank the people of amsterdam for their support!

The african national congress supports this budget vote because of the huge potential it represents. We call on all south africans in government in business, in labour, civil society in general to support this sector of our work in every way possible.

I thank you!