The cultural and creative industries are fed lies

Thami aka Mbongo

Thami aka Mbongo: It’s time for the cultural and creative industries practitioners and organisations in SA to take their RIGHTFUL PLACE and DEMAND what is theirs.

To:
Minister Emmanuel Nkosinathi Mthethwa
Department of Sport, Arts and Culture (DSAC)

Hoping you are well.

I assume you know what I am going to say but I strongly feel that I have to say it as a reminder.

You served as Minister of Arts and Culture since February 2014 and then appointed again in 2019 for your second term, taking also the portfolio of Sport under your wings.

You previously served as Minister for Safety and Security (later known as Minister of Police) from 2008 to 2014 and as the Chief Whip for the African National Congress in the National Assembly.

It is without doubt that you are politically aware and in an influential position (If that still applies under President Cyril Ramaphosa leadership).

You preceded by Paul Mashatile. You served under Former President Jacob Zuma and now under President Cyril Ramaphosa.

You were the Minister of Police at the time of the August 2012 Marikana Massacre which happens that the current President is also implicated in it. Anyway, this is NOT about that. Rest assured, some South Africans, including myself, have not forgotten about that.

You are the Minister of Department Sport, Arts and Culture (DSAC).

I had a privileged of having gatherings or meetings in your presence. I see and have learnt how you operate.

Let us talk about the Department that you are heading – Department Sport, Arts and Culture (DSAC).

Former President Jacob Zuma on 17 November 2009, met with around 500 representatives of the South African cultural industry in Sandton, Johannesburg. The former President was joined by a number of ministers from relevant departments, including Minister of Arts and Culture Lulu Xingwana, Ministers in the Presidency Collins Chabane and Trevor Manuel, Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan, Minister of Communications Siphiwe Nyanda, Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa, Minister of Higher Education Blade Nzimande, Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture Paul Mashatile, and Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development Andries Nel.

The meeting provided an opportunity for government leaders to give feedback on the issues, and for artists to raise further suggestions on how this industry can be further developed and promoted.

Issues previously rose included:

– Inadequate local content in the country’s broadcast products,
– Copyright issues,
– Defining artists as workers,
– Social security,
– Tax problems
– The need to fight piracy – A call for the police to establish a special unit to deal specifically with piracy.
– The working conditions of artists.
– Concerns that existing tax laws do not take account of the irregular nature of cultural work.
– The financial stability of artists was undermined because, in many instances, artists do not have ownership of their intellectual property.
– Complaints of exploitation of artists by producers and ‘middle men’

Minister Emmanuel Nkosinathi Mthethwa, we are now towards the end of 2020 yet so little, if any, have been achieved.

It’s almost 11 years since that meeting. Yet artists are raising the same issues. Don’t you see anything WRONG?

Former President Jacob Zuma said the Department of Communications was working on a Local Content Development Strategy, with the intention of increasing local content quotas for broadcasting stations. This would mean that artists would receive more airplay or broadcast.

Any update on this Minister Emmanuel Nkosinathi Mthethwa?

Other important reminders about those meetings were:

“The Department of Trade and Industry is also conducting studies on intellectual property, which President Jacob Zuma said will take them a step further in dealing with the challenges. The Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Bill, which is expected to be placed before Parliament soon, will also assist in resolving these concerns.

President Jacob Zuma said government was working to stamp out the incidence of piracy in the industry, with an increasing number of operations across the country, arrests and convictions. To date, South African Revenue Service (SARS) has seized illicit goods over the value of R13 million. SARS is also working to combat counterfeiting within the entertainment industry to detect and stop the importation, manufacture and distribution as well as the sale of counterfeit and pirate music and film products.

Oh! Maybe you will say that lousy excuse that has been said before – “The artists are fragmented and needs to speak in one voice.”

“It makes it difficult to work with the sector as there is no single structure that government should work with. Unity will also enable artists to engage the industry, especially recording company to discuss desired transformation. “We know that this sector is very individualistic but working as individuals will not improve your bargaining power.” President Jacob Zuma said.

A “Federation” was formed that would follow the SASCOC model. In 2015 that “Federation” was launched YET in 2020 that “Federation” does not come any close to what it was meant to be.

You have personally made commitment to the Cultural and Creative Industries on this regard, which are clear now that they were LIES.

Yet YOUR DEPARTMENT has given R27 million in the previous leadership and now has committed millions to a “National Policy Conference” which there is no work up to this day that is done towards that preparation of that conference yet the tax payer money is used towards all of this.

Regarding the 27 million I have written to you, your Department and also to the Portfolio Committee of Sport, Arts and Culture in Parliament.

Here is a link to that:
https://www.artlink.co.za/news_article.htm?contentID=46285

Minister Emmanuel Nkosinathi Mthethwa since you like to compare Sport and Arts & Culture. Let me entertain you for a moment.

The new language as you know is Cultural and Creative Industries. The policies that are in the Arts and Culture does not accommodate the Cultural and Creative Industries. There are things that YOUR department can do under the Cultural Industries and Department of Trade and Industries (DTI) and other departments can do under the Creative Industries. But your Department wants to champion everything.

Anyway, SPORT, you say seem to be more organized than us. Let’s for a while talk about SASCOC and “The Federation” (That is meant to speak on behalf of Cultural and Creative Industries)

SASCOC is having clear membership and below will name some of the members YET the Darling “FEDERATION” that you want the Cultural and Creative Industries to speak to does not have any membership. If you DISAGREE with me, please provide PROOF of the Membership like I will do below with SASCOC.

ABOUT SASCOC
SASCOC stands for South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee.
SASCOC is South Africa’s national multi-coded sporting body responsible for the preparation, presentation and performance of teams to all multi-coded events, namely:
1. The Olympic Games,
2. Paralympic Games,
3. Commonwealth Games,
4. World Games,
5. All Africa Games,
6. Olympic Youth Games,
7. Commonwealth Youth Games and
8. Zone VI Games.

At SASCOC they also look after various National Federations who are affiliated to them, together with the various provincial sports councils.

They are responsible for the awarding for National Protea Colours to athletes/officials who have met the criteria to represent South Africa in different sporting codes and arenas and they also endorse the applications for Bidding and Hosting of international events, providing these criteria are all met.

The Members of SASCOC are:
– University Sport South Africa
– DanceSport South Africa
– Aero Club of South Africa
– South African Sport Anglers and Casting Confederation
– South African National Archery Association
– Athletics South Africa
– Badminton South Africa
– South African Baseball Union
– Basketball South Africa
– Body Building South Africa
– South African National Boxing Organisation
– Boxing South Africa
– South African Bridge Federation
– Canoeing South Africa
– Chess South Africa
– South African National Climbing Federation
– Cricket South Africa
– South African Confederation of Cue Sport
– Cycling South Africa
– South African Confederation of Cue Sport
– Cycling South Africa
– Federation of Dance Sport South Africa
– Darts South Africa
– South African Amateur Fencing Association
– South African Equestrian Federation
– South African Figure Skating Association
– South African Football Association
– South African Golf Association
– South African Gymnastics Federation
– South African Handball Federation
– South African Hockey Association
– South African Ice Hockey Association
– Judo South Africa
– Karate South Africa
– South African Korfball Federation
– Bowls South Africa
– Lifesaving South Africa
– Martial Art South Africa
– South African Modern Pentathlon Association
– Motorsport South Africa
– South African Orienteering Federation
– Netball South Africa
– South African Orienteering Federation
– Powerboat South Africa
– South African Powerlifting Federation
– Ringball South Africa
– Roller Sport South Africa
– Ringball South Africa
– Roller Sport South Africa
– Rowing South Africa
– South African Rugby Union
– South African Sailing
– South African Shooting Sport Federation
– South African Sailing
– Snow Sports South Africa
– Softball South Africa
– Squash South Africa
– Surfing South Africa
– Swimming South Africa
– South African Table Tennis Board
– South African Taekwondo Federation
– South African Tenniquoits
– Tennis South Africa
– Tenpin Bowling Association of South Africa
– South African Transplant Sports Association
– Triathlon South Africa
– South African Tug of War Federation
– South African Underwater Sport Federation
– Volleyball South Africa
– South African Water Ski Federation
– South African Weightlifting
– South African Wrestling Federation
– South African Wushu Federation
– South African Deaf Sports Federation
– Sport for Intellectually Impaired SA
– South African Masters Sports Association
– South African Sports Association for Physically Disabled
– South African Fitness Sport Aerobics Federation
– South African National Pigeon Organisation
– South African Majorette and Cheerleading Association
– Jukskei South Africa
– South African Sheep Shearing Federation
– South African Federation BOCCE
– Eastern Cape Sports Confederation
– Free State Sports Confederation
– Gauteng Sports Confederation
– KwaZulu Natal Sports Confederation
– Limpopo Sports Confederation
– Mpumalanga Sports Confederation
– Northern Cape Sports Confederation
– North West Sports Confederation
– Western Cape Sports Confederation

Who are the members of this “FEDERATION” that you want the Cultural and Creative Industries to engage with?

Minister Emmanuel Nkosinathi Mthethwa it is also important to know that members of SASCOC are also having their own funding bodies not solely dependent on your Department.

When there are issues in soccer, YOU know you speak to SAFA. You have not heard Dr Irvin Khoza comment and interfering in Boxing.

If there are issues in cricket or rugby you know who to speak to. So, your thinking and ways of doing things for the Cultural and Creative Industries is WAY WRONG. You give an expression that everyone who wants to speak to you or your Department must do that through “THE FEDERATION” that does not have any membership.

You and your Department don’t always speak through SASCOC for every issue in the Sport. Yet in the Cultural and Creative Industries you are forcing it.

Let us NOT feed NATION and the CULTURAL & CREATIVE INDUSTRIES poison.

You know well there are a number of TRADE UNION FEDERATIONS in South Africa that speaks to Government. It is not one FEDERATION and also in other sectors it is the same thing. So it can’t be right that the Cultural and Creative Industries needs to speak through “THE FEDERATION” that is FORCED by ANC to the Cultural and Creative Industries.

In South Africa, there is no “FEDERATION” of Cultural and Creative Industries. There was an IDEA of that FEDERATION which still needs to be implemented.

The only people who can create a REAL & EFFECTIVE FEDERATION are practitioners and organizations/structures in the Cultural and Creative Industries that does not become GATEKEEPERS and MOUTHPIECE of your Department. You can’t expect to have a FEDERATION that sings praises of your Department and not represent the interests of the Cultural and Creative Industries.

Your Department has been funding a “FEDERATION” that does not have membership or constituency. Also you might be aware that the same “FEDERATION” is operating under a different name compare to the name that is registered. What do you call that?

Why up until this day, it’s difficult for you and your Department to release the Audited Financial Statement of this “FEDERATION” even when people apply for information through PAIA?

What are you hiding?

In closing, THE CULTURAL AND CREATIVE INDUSTRIES WERE FED LIES by believing that the government formation of “THE FEDERATION” was an answer, maybe it’s time we find an alternative where the cultural and creative industries practitioners and organizations are recognized.

It’s time for the Cultural and Creative Industries practitioners and organisations to take their RIGHTFUL PLACE and DEMAND what is theirs. You and your Department can’t be doing what you are doing with TAXPAYERS’ money.

KWANELE. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.
STOP trying to FORCE “FEDERATION” down our throats. It has FAILED dismally.
STOP telling the Cultural and Creative Industries to engage this “FEDERATION” if they truly want UNITY.

THE CULTURAL AND CREATIVE INDUSTRIES IN SOUTH AFRICA WERE FED LIES BY BELIEVING GOVERNMNENT FORMATION OF A “FEDERATION”

I am more than happy to engage further with you and your department and also invite others that wouldl like to be part of this important engagement, should you feel there is a need.

Yours truly
Thami aka Mbongo

Please note:
I am writing this on my personal capacity as a Creative Artist in South Africa that has a VOICE.

Thami aka Mbongo
Creative Practitioner
akambongo@gmail.com