Minister Anroux Marais' 2020/21 Adjustment Budget Vote Speech
WESTERN CAPE MINISTER OF CULTURAL AFFAIRS AND SPORT, ANROUX MARAIS
2020/21 ADJUSTMENT BUDGET VOTE SPEECH
31 JULY 2020
Cabinet colleagues and Members of the Provincial Parliament
Mayors from various municipalities
Chairperson of the Standing Committee
Head of Department and managers of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport
Our partners in the sport and cultural sectors
Members of the Media
Residents of the Western Cape
Speaker, today I table the Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport’s adjustment budget for the 2020/21 financial year, not only in a severely constrained fiscal environment but in trying times while faced, firstly with a current global health pandemic that is COVID-19 and the second pandemic of unemployment while experiencing a humanitarian relief crisis all at the same time. However, as history has shown time and again: through the many struggles nations and humanity as a whole have experienced together, the Arts, Sport, Recreation and Cultural Affairs have been the shared reprieve restoring hope, and inspirational motivation to move towards our common goals to overcome hardships together. Speaker, with the already diminishing public funds available, adding further injury to an open wound, our main appropriation of R886 216 000 was adjusted to R786 592 000, translated to a total decrease of R99 624 000 to respond to the needs of those we serve through cultural affairs, sport and recreation.
Speaker, the reprioritization of R56,188 000 towards our provincial COVID-19 response was sought from reductions in Cost of Employment, Goods and Services, Transfers and Subsidies and Capital Assets. The reductions mainly relate to forgone expenditure as a result of lockdown regulations which affected Travel and Subsistence, Catering, Venues and facilities and fleet services, to name only a few. The budget initially allocated for non-critical vacant funded posts, together with events that could not continue as planned in the first quarter and Capital assets linked to vacant funded posts as well as ITC refresh equipment budgeted for the Rural Libraries Connectivity Programme (RLCP) were surrendered.
We also reprioritized R2.9 million towards increased operational costs due to COVID-19, inclusive of the provision of Personal Protective Equipment(PPE) for staff and to purchase hand sanitisers, hand sanitiser dispensers, cloth masks, face shields and thermometers to be used in the 50 buildings under our management.
Impacts of COVID-19 on the arts, culture, heritage sector
The regulations related to the national state of disaster and the subsequent lockdown which have limited movement and gatherings of people have had a devastating impact on the arts, culture, heritage and sport sector due to cancellations and postponement of events.
Motivated by Ernesto Ottone, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Culture as he noted, “COVID-19 has brought into stark relief, as crises often do, the necessity of culture for people and communities. At a time when billions of people are physically separated from one another, culture brings us together. It provides comfort, inspiration and hope at a time of enormous anxiety and uncertainty. Yet even as we rely on culture to get us through this crisis, culture is also suffering. Many artists and creators, especially those that work in the informal or gig economy, are now unable to make ends meet, much less produce new works of art. Cultural institutions, both large and small, are losing millions in revenue with each passing day. As the world works to address the immediate danger of COVID-19, we also need to put in place measures to support artists and access to culture, both in the short and long-term”.
Closer to home, the unprecedented actions taken to flatten the curve have resulted in the cancellation or postponement of events, limited opportunities for creatives to make an income, particularly in the gig and live performance economy and as such a loss of income for creatives along the entire value chain of the Cultural and Creative economy.
Further to this, reports have informed that the lockdown has resulted in uncertainty among South Africans, particularly when it comes to spending. Even in the recovery phase when the lock down is eased, it is expected that the uncertainty will have an impact on households’ consumption behaviour, particularly willingness to spend on high value goods, events, travel and discretionary spending. Under such conditions consumers will defer major purchase decisions due to the uncertainties for 6-12 months or in a worse case, because of fears of recurrence of the outbreak in the next season, consumers may defer major consumption decisions because of uncertainties for 12- 18 months. Consumption will focus on essential items because of this experience. In response to this, the Western Cape Government has come up with a number relief options for various sectors of the economy.
Arts, Culture, heritage sport relief provided:
The reprioritization of just over R7 million enabled us to develop relief options for the cultural, creative and sport industries we serve in the province, in addition to the national Department of Sport Arts and Culture (DSAC) options. Focusing on the Business Continuity and Recovery phases of the fight against the COVID-19 outbreak, the Provincial Relief options also foregrounded two of the three pillars of the national response: Social Relief and Economic Recovery pillars. Aware of the very complex and evolving COVID-19 environment, the relief options targeted areas of relief which can be achieved quickly focusing on categories where support is most needed and most helpful.
Our Provincial Relief options were inclusive of the following for which a public call for applications closed on 19 May 2020:
Arts, Culture and Heritage - Event cancellation support:
DCAS funded events/project cancellations: The funds in this form of relief can be used towards cancellation fees to artists and committed funds in relation to production elements of the event – inclusive of artists upfront fees, costume development and the sorts.
Arts Venue* and Production Cancellations: This includes (1) Arts Venues and Productions not funded by DCAS and (2) cancelled Western Cape productions scheduled to be presented outside the Western Cape and internationally. The funds in this form of relief can be used towards cancellation fees to artists and compensation to cover upfront fees to artists.
Artists/Creatives: This form of relief targeted freelance workers and independent contractors for fees for creatives whose events have been cancelled and who have not been paid cancellation fees or have lost income because of the cancellation as a result of the national state of disaster. This is inclusive of session musicians, buskers, visual artists, stage managers and other creatives along the value chain.
The Community Arts Education and Training Organisations fund will go towards direct costs related to the development and delivery of course/training content.
Humanitarian Relief - Legends Grant: Data from China, where the outbreak began in Wuhan in December, shows that elderly people aged 60 years and above are the most vulnerable to COVID-19. This means that we needed to make a special effort to support artists in this age category given that they are disproportionally and negatively impacted by the virus and therefore cannot take risks even after restrictions have been lifted. This also means that they will be the last off the starting blocks and will be kept out of work significantly longer than younger artists after the mandatory lock down period.
As the independent adjudication process officially concluded and their findings presented, outcomes of relief funding applications were communicated to all applicants from 20 July 2020, followed by the transfer of the allocated relief funds.
The arts, culture and heritage relief fund of R4 700 000 was set aside primarily to offer relief to creatives and not to compensate for losses incurred. The fund received 1058 applications in total, with 948 adjudicated after duplications and unrelated applications were removed. The work of the adjudicators was concluded on 3 July 2020 and underwent quality checks before presenting the report to the Department. Thereafter, the required administrative processes were followed to approve the 691 (73%) successful applicants. The combined revenue losses to applicants came to a total of R 58 612 195, a clear indication of the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the sector.
The impact of lockdown regulations on the Western Cape sport & recreation sector:
The COVID-19 pandemic has engulfed the world and has not only had a profound effect on public health, society and the economy, but has also inflicted mayhem on the sport & recreation sector. To curb the spread of the virus, professional and amateur leagues across the world have been suspended indefinitely on advice from their respective governments to avoid large numbers of persons gathering in one particular venue.
Economically, the sector has suffered with many events having been cancelled. Approximately 30 events across the province have been cancelled inclusive of conditional grants and federation funded events. Currently no formal sport & recreation events are taking place across the province.
Provincial major sporting events, which boost our local economies have been severely impacted as events such as the Knysna Oyster Festival, the Two Oceans Marathon and now also the Cape Town HSBC Sevens Tournament to name a few, have had to be cancelled. Provincial Trials for the Winter Games, Indigenous Games, Golden Games and leagues & festival support for Club Development have also been adversely impacted as presently, no organised sport & recreation activities of any nature is currently underway in the Western Cape Province.
Provincial Sport Relief Fund:
In the same way as the cultural affairs directorate did, the Sport and Recreation directorate also made provision for a provincial relief fund.
To bring the sport and recreation Covid-19 relief funding strategy into fruition, the criteria for assessing this support, the identification of beneficiaries and the mechanism through which the fund is managed was done in consultation with the Western Cape Provincial Sport Confederation. The sport and recreation adjudication committee completed its work in June 2020 after receiving 108 federation applications on behalf of their various coaches, athletes, technical officials and recreation entities across the province. To ensure transparency and greater range of support, with only R1 million available to fund our provincial sport and recreation relief applications, the national Department of Sport and Culture was requested to provide the Western Cape DCAS with a database of our provincial athletes, federations and entities that have applied for the national relief fund and the outcome of those applications. Where an application had been successful, the applicant was not eligible for any provincial relief. Payments to successful applicants commenced last week and we are happy to announce that as of yesterday, 30 July 2020, all successful applicants have now received their allocated relief funding.
With the above in mind, we have a responsibility to protect the well-being of 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 sport federations, recreation entities, affected events and programmes will be minimized to ensure sustainability of the sector.
COVID-19 RELATED INTERNAL DCAS PROGRAMMES AND INTERVENTIONS
As we are aware of the second pandemic of unemployment and its dire implications on the economy, our department innovatively continued to be active during the national state of disaster with staff working from home to proactively strategize and navigate towards our new normal. In addition to the relief effort focusing on the cancellations in the sector, we have put the following interventions in place to support business continuity as well as stimulate the sector in the recovery phase.
Annual Arts Funding Initiative
The annual call for arts funding closed on 6th December 2019. At the time of the lockdown the department was about to commence the adjudication process. Mindful of the pressures that organisations are under during this time, the Department has continued to work on the adjudication process under the limiting lockdown conditions. Following the adjudication conclusion, 127 applications were received with the total amount of R65 556 084 requested by organisations. Unfortunately, the total amount available for transfer payments from our current budget stands at R 14 696 153 clearly indicating the demand outweighs the supply. Speaker, quite frankly, our main appropriation offered a very limited budget to support the demand for our services and with the further decrease of R99 624 000, and added needs in the face of the global pandemic, we have had to become innovative within the negative fiscal environment in which we currently find ourselves. The following presents a few of these innovations:
Support for museums
Cultural institutions, both large and small, are losing significant amounts in revenue with each passing day. Museums in the Western Cape have risen to the challenge and entered the virtual space of publicly accessible, timed, online exhibitions which is new territory for many of them. Examples of these are the ‘Ceres’ly Positive’ online initiative by the Togryers Museum in Ceres as well as an online exhibition on YouTube and a similar offering from the Huguenot Memorial Museum. While these exhibitions ensure that the public still has access to the museum during lockdown and position museums well for visitors during the recovery phase, it does not take care of the lost opportunities in revenue from people visiting museums as a result of the lockdown.
Increasing expenditure on local content of library materials
As the coronavirus steadily spread around the globe, the first sign of things to come was the postponement of international and national book festivals and with some of those usually in September unsure if they will continue this year. While South African Publications Network (SAPnet) reported an 8,6% decline in sales in week 12 of 2020, some bricks-and-mortar booksellers saw a more significant drop in the first two weeks of March. Bargain Books reported a double-digit decline in sales over this period, with shoppers steering clear from malls. This will have had a huge impact on the writers and the entire literature value chain that rely on these sales for an income. To further our support to South African literature, we will increase the DCAS spend on South African content from 60% of the book budget to 65% in the current financial year.
Speaker, evidently, in a dismal national fiscal environment, adopting a Whole of Society Approach inculcating collaborative efforts through sustainable partnerships is much needed to achieve our mutual goals to enable safe and cohesive communities. As the trusted partner of our sport and cultural stakeholders, those affecting dynamic change in behavioural trends at grassroots level are our most valued partners and we remain committed to empowering them and the various structures through innovative assistance and interventions as the need and demand transpires. Under the visionary leadership of Premier Alan Winde, the Western Cape Government firmly believes that innovation is always on the agenda and I look forward to collaboratively embracing new ideas and always doing the right thing with competent integrity, always mindful of the people we serve through Cultural Affairs and Sport. As I conclude, I leave the notion, popularised as Winston Churchill’s when asked to cut arts funding to support the war effort, he replied: “Then what are we fighting for?”
I thank you.
Spokesperson for the Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Anroux Marais
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