NATIONAL ASSEMBLY THURSDAY, 13 MAY 16:30 – 18:15 MINI-PLENARIES (VIRTUAL) 5. Vote 37: Sports, Arts and Culture [Hon. KP Luthuli]

Budget Debate on Sports, Arts and Culture 

This Department’s Budget, as contained in the Report, shows its support year-on-year for government’s National Development Plan (NDP). This Plan promises reform and success for stakeholders in this sector. However, the NDP falls short in a number of ways and fails on delivery to sportspeople and artists alike. 

As expected, the current administration is over-exaggerating obstacles as a result of Covid-19, when being unable to achieve their targets. This Department is a key vehicle that athletes and artists alike rely upon to ensure that they are able to sustain their livelihoods. For the 2020 Covid-19 response, nearly R300 million was allocated to artists to mitigate the impact of the national lockdown. In reality, as we have come to expect with the current administration, it failed to deliver and the process was riddled with corruption. 

Earlier this year we saw artists resort to protest action, as they had not been paid the relief money, with conflicting reports by the Department. In March 2021, artists highlighted the fact that this Department had indeed only paid 50% of its allocated Budget, almost a year since it had proclaimed the allocated Budget. However, it was later revealed that the Department had only spent R57 million of the R300 million. 

The issue of mismanagement is not only limited to the Covid relief funds but also in the entity of Boxing South Africa, where there have been huge problems with irregular, wasteful expenditure, with little consequence management and a lack of decisive leadership to deal with corruption. 

Government’s trend of empty promises, mixed with rampant corruption, is starting to impact the development and progress of all Departments in South Africa. The once prestigious and sacred Robben Island is facing major budget cuts. Salaries of employees have had to be – or will be – cut because corruption within government is so high that there is no excess to preserve the legacy of our freedom fighters, who envisioned a much more capable and responsible leadership. Again, in Robben Island there is reported corruption and mismanagement at the hands of the current government. 

This Department is falling short in so many areas, yet its responsibility to our cultural and sporting growth remains critical. 

The IFP believes that legislative competence in respect of arts, culture and heritage should be given exclusively to the provinces. Each province should be free to recognise and nurture its own unique heritage. The IFP proposes the creation of a Coordinating Council for the Arts, which will be responsible, inter alia, for the distribution of funds to cultural institutions, NGOs and CBOs. The Coordinating Council will comprise representatives of the provinces. The IFP believes that arts, culture and heritage should be encouraged through appropriate tax relief methods. Spending in arts and culture should be directed to areas that have the potential for wealth-creation and the preservation of heritage sites through strong business practices.

Due to the large number of dependents of this Department, the IFP supports the Budget.