Portfolio Committee on Arts and Culture Warns Against the Department’s Lack of Planning

The Portfolio Committee on Arts and Culture spoke strongly against the Department of Arts and Culture's failure to plan before implementing projects.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Empowerment Fund (NEF), Ms Philisiwe Mthethwa, said that the NEF is waiting on the Department to give the go-ahead on the release of R20 million in funding to various beneficiaries, such as Sky Rink Studios, Accident Films and Bonngoe Productions.

The Chairperson of the Committee, Ms Xoliswa Tom, said this is a good example of the Department's failure to plan. Ms Tom made reference to the Committee's last meeting in 2017, where amongst the many issues raised was the non-alignment between some of the entities' operational budgets and the department. This is a major concern, since entities are the beneficiaries of 80 per cent of the department's budget. The department was urged to invite their entities, along with the Committee to discuss and clarify these issues.

Meanwhile, the Committee commended the Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB) on its good work in creating awareness about the importance of languages. Dr Rakwena Monareng, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of PanSALB, told the Committee that one of the major findings during public hearings is that little has been done by government departments to give effect to the constitutional multilingual requirement and the provision of the Use of Official Languages Act (UOLA). There is a worrying perception that the UOLA and multilingual policy implementation is satisfied merely by the provision of translation and interpreting services.

The Committee expressed the importance of the department's compliance with this policy.

The Chairperson said that it is important for departments to create spaces where official languages can grow and add value to the effective functioning of departments. She recommended that the Committee schedule a day of accountability, where all government departments account for progress in implementing the UOLA.

The Department of Arts and Culture appeared before the Committee yesterday to brief the Committee on the implementation of a number of projects. The Committee was also briefed by the National Empowerment Fund on its work and the impact it has on the Arts and Culture Sector and communities and got a report from the PanSALB on the 2016/17 public hearings on multilingualism and the use of official languages by national departments

Source: Parliament of the Republic of South Africa