DEBATE ON ARTS AND CULTURE BUDGET

BY: HON M.B GWALA, MPL
KZN LEGISLATURE

20 MAY 2021

 

Hon Chairperson! 
Let me thank the MEC for the well-prepared speech for Vote 15.
First and foremost, it is important to have a clear understanding about the concept of culture itself. Culture embraces the totality of values, institutions and forms of behaviour transmitted within a society, as well as a material goods produced by man and believing that our national unity and models for development should be based on values extrapolated from our culture and adapted to our present day needs and situations. Through culture we are governed by norms and customs, which are the pillars of any society. If these pillars are not properly followed in our society, our culture will resemble a perfume with no smell.
We must accept the fact that we have many things to copy from Western economic, political and educational patterns of development, and striving for the promotion of African patterns of thought and the achievement of African Humanism otherwise commonly known in Nguni languages as UBUNTU and in Sotho languages as BOTHO. Ubuntu/Botho is essentially about togetherness, and how all of our actions have an impact on others and on society. We must also remember that “Umuntu Ngumuntu Ngabantu” or “a person is a person through other people” is how we describe the meaning of Ubuntu/Botho. It speaks to the fact that we are all connected and that one can only grow and progress through the growth and progression of others. Those who are IFP detractors have said that Ubuntu/Botho was an IFP subject they must have their sanity examined because they are “too clever by half” since everyone now speaks about the importance of Ubuntu/Botho. Therefore, it is incumbent for the Department to ensure that people are educated about the importance of Ubuntu/Botho.
Further, Ubuntu/Botho has an important role to play in our quest to combat moral decay and advance social and economic transformation. Poverty, juvenile delinquency, diversified ills, and violence happens on a global scale and these atrocities are what tells us that we need to do more as a society to actively live by Ubuntu and put it into action on a daily basis.
It is IFP’s contention that educating the youth for Ubuntu/Botho is “sine qua non” (a thing that is absolutely necessary) to addressing the social and cultural challenges of contemporary KZN, which continues to be marked by the absence of a shared moral discourse. If we agree that Ubuntu/Botho is a cohesive moral value that grounds a normative ethical theory of right action then it follows logically that Ubuntu/Botho would prevent social ills because these would be incompatible with Ubuntu/Botho morality.
Art and culture strengthen social cohesion through the removal of the barriers that seemingly hinder mutual understanding and communication. The Department of Arts and Culture must stop being the ‘song and dance’ Department. It must work harder to ensure that all races participate fully in cultural and provincial events. One way to strengthen community cohesion and feelings of belonging is through implementing cultural and art programs. Art and culture have the ability to bring people together through shared experiences.
2021/22 BUDGET 
This Department is very important as it is a vehicle for social cohesion, and, most significantly, it is important for its educational and emancipatory roles. We expect that the R1 billion budget allocated for the 2021/22 financial year will be fully utilised for all the responsibilities of the Department.
COMMUNITY LIBRARIES
We acknowledge the commencement plans of the much-delayed infrastructure projects namely; the refurbishment of the Winston Churchill Theatre, Osizweni Art Centre and Music Academy in Ladysmith which have been delayed for many years and funds had to be held over. This is a good move and we hope that there will not be questionable service providers who might jeopardize these projects this time around.
We also support the move by the department to continue to build and also support organisations that assist in fulfilling its mandate such as various community art centres, however, the oversight visit that the Arts and Culture Committee undertook to uThungulu Art Centre told us otherwise.
SECOND SLOT
Hon Chairperson
We were left disappointed to say the least about uThungulu Art Centre. The department spent millions building a state-of-the-art building in a questionable site thus leading to the building becoming a white elephant.
The IFP calls for a thorough investigation into this matter.  We are also concerned that the Department has accumulated almost R100 million in irregular expenditure and R4,32 million in fruitless and wasteful expenditure. Those responsible for these must face the music.
It is a huge concern to us that the Community Library Services Grant has been reduced by R3.156 million, in line with the fiscal consolidation cuts. This will continue to disadvantage communities in rural areas as there is eight modular libraries that were not build in the previous financial year in areas such as Lubisi, Shane, uMvoti and Ofabane. This resulted in the department underspending their budget by R35,24 million.
Budget cuts against library and archive services to Msunduzi and eThekwini by R25 million and R31 million in 2021/22 and 2022/23, respectively, are worrying. The implication of this reduction is that the funds for operational costs which are transferred to municipalities for items, such as cleaning, security and salaries. Msunduzi is in a state of decay and dysfunctionality, it will not be able to maintain its libraries.
ARTS & CULTURE EDUCATION IN SCHOOLS
We also call upon the Department to intensify its investment in schools where youth cultural programmes are rolled out, to ensure mass participation in arts and culture programmes, art talent identification and skills development. That is why the erstwhile KwaZulu Government combined Arts, Culture and Education – so that pupils could learn about different cultures and heritage, while identifying their artistic talents.
TRADITIONAL EVENTS
The IFP commends the Department for always supporting traditional events, such as uMkhosi woMhlanga, uMkhosi weLembe, uMkhosi weSivivane and others.
We would also like to commend the Hon Premier and his Cabinet for stating that they will continue supporting these events the same way as they did while the late His Majesty King Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu was still alive and respect the newly elected King, Misuzulu Sinqobile ka Zwelithini as they did with His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu.
We understand that most traditional events took place virtually due to Covid19 which resulted to the Department with an under-spending of R6.39 million from traditional events in 2019/2020 financial year.
We are concerned about the Cultural Affairs which has been reduced by R1.337 million in 2020/21, R2.129 million in 2021/22 and R3.852 million in 2022/23. We can only hope that these cuts are not meant to disregard and show little importance against our traditional events.
Sengiphetha Sihlalo, ngifisa ukudlulisa ukuthokoza kwami kuMhlonishwa Ndunankulu weSifundazwe uMnu Sihle Zikalala kanye noNgqongqoshe weZobuciko naMasiko uMhlonishwa Mavimbela ngokuhalalisela izakhamuzi zeSifundazwe ezemukele isibusiso sokufika eminyakeni eyikhulu kuhlanganisa noMama ongizalayo  (uMa Ngema) uZibekile Gwala owazalwa ngo mhlaka 03 March 1921.
Ngikhuluma ngoMzukulu ka Zibezwile ka Zembe ka Mhlekehleke.
Umdekagobi intandan’ende yakwa Mkukwane!
Uvula kuvaliwe!
Ugubh’oluzibethayo enhlakomuzi eMandleni!
Usibebisamhlane mkhulu kwa Mabhabhakazane!
U – Blamcethu nkabi ezidlu Bazini! Umfana usenza kanjani esikhaleni seNdibili!
Ubafazi bendoda uMasokhwebu!
Ushayinkosana kuzonde ikhohlwa!
Iqhud’elinezigi lakoSengama! Gogo logobile! Gogo loyintombi! Gogo loyisimomoloti!!!!!!
Unwele olude Madlokovu! Wena wase Ngweni!!!!!!!
The IFP supports the budget and thank the HOD, the HOM, and staff for the support they render to this Department.
I thank you.