Cape Town – Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile has highlighted a number of proposals which are set to boost the arts and culture sector in the country.
This, he said, included establishing a touring company in order to develop touring exhibitions and performances for nationally supported events across the country, such as festivals.
Mashatile made the remarks during an informal networking session with the media on Tuesday night ahead of his budget vote speech on Wednesday.
The minister said the department was planning on having an “Art Bank”, which would be used to market and raise the profile of crafts by South African artists in government buildings such as the Parliament.
“There is a lot of South African work that is not known,” he said.
Mashatile said that an arts school of excellence, which would consolidate the existing institutions, was also on the cards.
The minister’s plans also extended to the local film production industry, which is gradually anchoring its position on the world stage as a force to be reckoned with. Mashatile said the industry should be promoted, with the aim of making it the biggest creative industry.
On a separate but related matter, he said that “lots of work” was being done on Robben Island to ensure a turnaround of the situation. The world famous island, where iconic leader and former President Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, has been in the news for challenges it faced with its ferry service and tour operators complaining of poor facilities and services.
Efforts to improve the situation, Mashatile said, include the recent appointment of a new chief executive for the tourist attraction.
He also said that he was busy filling up top posts in his department, which had a vacancy rate of 26 percent last year.
The minister highlighted that a major summit on “social cohesion” set to bring together South Africans from across the country was planned for next month. – Francis Hweshe, BuaNews