Cape Town – South Africa’s creative sector, like in many developed nations, has the potential to lead in generating economic growth, says Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile.
This minister said this was the collective view in April of over thousand delegates who attended the historic National Consultative Conference on the contributions of the arts, culture and heritage to the New Growth Path.
He said the gathering had agreed that the “creative sector in South Africa has the potential to be a leading sector in generating economic growth, employment and trade as is the case in many advanced economies.”
Mashatile addressed the media on Tuesday night during an informal session as he was expected give his budget vote speech in Parliament on Wednesday.
The delegates at the conference, he said, had committed themselves to “facilitate the expansion and growth of existing initiatives in the cultural and creative industries to create large scale and high impact programmes, maximizing the growth and employment potential of the sector.”
Mashatile said that some of the proposals they had agreed on included “enhancing the appreciation of the arts” among youngsters, establishing a National Skills Academy for the Arts and Culture (NACISA), and Art Bank for displaying art works in government buildings.
The department was in the process of “re-aligning funding” to match priorities identified at the conference.
The minister said “a cultural observatory” was being established to collect “arts and culture statistics, to develop key indicators and analyse trends to inform future policy and resource allocation.”
“We shall work with the Department of Trade and Industry to ensure that our sector benefits from the incentive schemes outlined in the Policy action Plan (IPAP2) initiatives.
“We are confident that our sector will also be considered for funding form the R9 billion fund for job creation as announced by President [Jacob] Zuma earlier this year.
“We have also had discussions with the National Lottery Fund Distribution Board, with a view to mainstreaming Lotto funding for our sector,” said Mashatile.
As part of their commitment to support youth programmes in the arts, he said R6.5 million had been earmarked for that purpose.
In partnership with European Union (EU) delegation in the country, he said that about R30 million was being used to empower the youth through the arts, culture and heritage.
He said that last year they announced a R10 million additional grant to the National Film and Video Foundation meant for setting up co-operatives in rural areas and “bringing cinemas to the people” and developing skills in film production.
“A pilot site has been established in KwaMashu by upgrading an existing community centre. During this phase, this programme will be rolled out to more sites across the country. The budget allocation to the National Film and Video Foundation has been increased for this year in line with our commitment to prioritizing film production.” – Francis Hweshe, BuaNews