Western Cape Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Anroux Marais
2020/21 Second Adjustment Budget Vote Speech
3 December 2020
Good day, goeiemore, molweni nonke, all protocol observed.
Speaker, in a severely constrained fiscal environment, confronted with a global health pandemic and rising unemployment rates, I table the second adjustment budget for the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS) in the House today.
It is no secret that in times of crises, particularly in a dismal national climate, funds must be reprioritized in the best interest of those we serve, not only to save lives but livelihoods as well. As the Western Cape is committed to doing its part to restore our nation’s fiscal sustainability and spend our resources wisely, extremely difficult decisions had to be taken to reprioritize funds to support immediate financing requirements for the Western Cape Recovery Plan, focusing on jobs, safety and wellbeing. Speaker, it is for these reasons that the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport’s budget was decreased by approximately R21.1 million from R786.5 million to R765.4 million.
As can be expected, the reduction in funds indeed placed DCAS programmes and services at the short end of the proverbial stick as many events were cancelled and projects could not continue in compliance with the mandatory health protocols in place. However, Speaker, when we are challenged to this extreme, I am proud to say that time and again, the DCAS team rises to the occasion in difficult times and becomes innovative in our business to continue to serve all who call the Western Cape home though cultural affairs and sport.
Despite the sad state of affairs, at a time when the national government closed schools and decided on warped regulations during hard lockdown, our MOD coaches from our Mass participation; Opportunity and access; Development and growth (MOD) Programme volunteered to assist with feeding across the province. We were the only province to do so as we know that the meals received through the feeding progrmmes at our schools were often the only wholesome meals learners received for the day. During the unprecedented time, surrounded by much uncertainty, we managed to retain the remuneration of these coaches as we are fully aware that their families’ livelihoods depend on it. For this reason, Speaker, I am grateful to the officials, Senior Management team and our valued partners for ensuring that our After-School Practitioners did not have to surrender their salaries at a time it was most needed as they do exceptional work in instilling wellbeing and dignity, particularly in our more rural areas across the province. Additionally, they have done a sterling job in promoting public employment by providing hope, nurturing dreams and meaningful work experience for young people by creating first work opportunities for 18 to 25-year-old youth. Speaker, I am therefore happy to announce that R5.5 million has been allocated to the After-School Programme to equip young people with the necessary skills and opportunities to access jobs.
Last month saw 60 new Yeboneers start an induction week which will lead them into three months of training on work readiness skills, generic PC skills, transferable data skills and confidence building office skills. The programme, delivered in partnership with CapaCiti, is providing 62 unemployed youth aged between 18 and 25 with basic data administration, data labelling and data capture skills and at the same time exposure to a personal and professional development programme and valuable first work experience. At the end of the 3 months candidates are placed in an 8-month work experience and quarterly skills refreshers. The combination of these ensures all are ready to enter the world of work at the end of the experience.
The almost 400 youth currently on the YearBeyond Primary School programme have worked as teacher assistants, literacy and numeracy tutors and “at home” learning activators this year. While gaining this experience the youth are mentored to discover their superpowers and talents, find a career and develop core work readiness competencies such as communication, teamwork, project management and administration skills. In the process of building these competencies, youth expand their social and economic networks and receive pathway support into studies or employment.
Speaker, for this cohort their service has culminated in 2 days of progression training, inclusive of learning how to write a winning CV and conducting oneself in an interview in October and then a marketplace of 30 opportunity providers at UCT Graduate School of Business on 13 November. The market place was a huge success and provided something for everyone.
Many of the cohort opt to remain in education and four lucky candidates have been selected by NGO Numeric to receive full bursaries to study education and become Maths teachers. While studying, they will work as tutors supporting grade 7 learners in no fee schools. This is just one example of the market place’s impact on the youth.
Speaker, this kind of pathway success is not a once off approach. A 3-year alumni study (2015 – 2018) found most alumni secured their next opportunity within 2.8 months of exiting the programme, 81% were economically active, 47% worked full time and 52% were studying part of full time. 19% had secured a higher-level qualification within 3 years. And as these young leaders enter the marketplace around half of them continue to be active citizens volunteering in their communities.
Speaker, the importance of enabling youth to be able to access opportunities to become contributors to the economy must be stressed. Many young people cannot afford or do not qualify for higher education and then become frustrated and bored and turn to social ills. We are trying to prevent this by offering our youth the opportunity to build up some all-important work experience, hone their job seeking skills and also give back at the same time by volunteering in their communities. In this way, we create opportunities for them to start their career paths and we also contribute to the recovery of our economy while uplifting our communities.
Speaker, in a bid to save the livelihoods of those we serve in our sector, the DCAS provided COVID-19 Relief Funding of R4.7 million to 715 successful Arts, Culture and heritage applicants and R1 million to 46 sport federations, 39 coaches, 11 technical officials and 24 athletes who successfully applied though their affiliated federations. Speaker, this provision appears small in proportion but indeed assisted our artists and athletes who were the last to return to their business, even in Alert level 1, a great deal in retaining their dignity to provide for their families’ wellbeing, while sport enthusiasts could continue to hone their high-performance skills. However, Speaker, the R10.5 billion SAA bailout would go a long way in providing the much-needed sustainable safety net for our artists who were severely devastated by cancelled and postponed gigs, events and programmes. Despite this devastation, we have worked around the clock to do the very most with the very little that we do have as the sectors now safely reopen.
As libraries remained closed until Alert level 2, the approximate R4.4 million unspent funds received from the City of Cape Town, will be used towards the finalisation of the new Swellendam Library infrastructure project in the Overberg district. To be constructed at a cost of R12 million, the brand new 889 square meters library will have a community hall, as well as computer room included and will cater to the growing Swellendam community in increasing opportunity in the region. We look forward to officially opening the state of the art facility at the end of next year.
As we now enter Reconciliation Month, we are happy to announce that R1 million was allocated to establish the Resistance and Liberation Heritage Routes in the Western Cape. This is inclusive of the Roads of Freedom Route which foregrounds Madiba’s long walk to freedom: starting at the Robben island Museum which is already a World Heritage Site, the Drakenstein Correctional Services facility in Paarl and the Cape Town City Hall. In addition, the Tussen die Riviere Route, will commemorate and officially acknowledge the resistance of the Khoi Khoi people in the province. Speaker, as the sector now recovers, these routes aim to develop nation building and social inclusivity, while contributing to the local tourism economy by emphasizing the shared heritage of all South Africans and highlight how these sites of global significance assists in the understanding of the development of co-existence in the Western Cape. Additionally, we expect the local, often rural communities around these sites, who often found themselves marginalized, to become instrumental in the conservation and interpretation of these sites.
Speaker, despite all the devastation experienced in the cultural affairs and sport sectors over the past months, it is clear that the arts, culture, heritage, sport and recreation are indeed essential for the wellbeing of everyone’s mental health. We experienced a world without sport, without entertainment in the forms of theatre productions and artists showcasing, all of which contribute to the provincial GDP as well as the greater South African economy but more importantly feeds the human spirit in a way little else can and does. Speaker, with the resurgence of positive cases in the province, to highlight the important role of the arts, cultural affairs, sport and recreation, I share with the House a poem by Madhu Raghavendra and I quote:
“I don't mind
being the non-essential.
Even a child takes
its mother for granted.
It does not run back
to its mother until it's hurt.
Nobody first thinks of water
when they arrive
at an exquisite dinner party,
until they are choking.
I don't mind
being the non-essential
knowing you will come looking
when things are broken
and nothing else works.
Art is non-essential
Until it is not.”
With the above in mind, we have a responsibility to protect the well-being of our artists, sport federations and recreation entities and will not hesitate to take a safety-first approach to our operations over the coming months. We will continue monitoring the situation, and we are committed to work with our partners in ensuring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our sectors, affected events and programmes will be minimized to ensure sustainability of the sector. Our main priority is to prevent a lockdown that would again devastate our economy and livelihoods. The most efficient and effective way to do so is through individuals, businesses and civil society playing their vital role in changing behaviour so to safely move forward. As the fundamental department advocating for constructive and positive behavioural change though cultural affairs, sport and recreation, we take our role seriously in inspiring the much-needed hope and motivation required to safely move forward.
Speaker, as gazetted by the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, male and female initiation practices are prohibited for the duration of the national state of disaster. Guided by the prescribed national regulations, recommendations from the Department of Health and consultation with the initiation forums across the province, the Summer Initiation season will unfortunately not go ahead as scheduled in compliance with the mandatory protocols currently in place. We will however be monitoring the situation on a daily basis and will communicate if any directives are received from the national government in this regard.
Speaker, I now take this opportunity to thank our dedicated officials, valued partners and Cabinet colleagues for their exceptional collaborative work done in service of the people of the Western Cape bringing into fruition innovative solutions in response to unprecedented circumstances. We thank you wholeheartedly for creating the enabling environment needed to live healthier lifestyles in safe environments, more prepared for tomorrow’s economy.
I thank you.
Spokesperson for the Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Anroux Marais
083 504 1171