SA creative industry gets government boost

The arts and culture department on Friday announced the names of those making up the interim committee for the newly formed South African Creative Industries Federation (SACIF).

The announcement, made by Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile, is an attempt to help the arts, culture and heritage sector get properly organised, said spokesperson Mack Lewele. 

The sector faces various challenges and needs help dealing effectively with them. "These include funding, piracy, exploitation, lack of social security and lack of recognition as workers," he said.

The arts and culture department sees the establishment of a federation as a way to formalise the creative sector as an industry and turn it into a role player in the economy. Additionally, it hopes to create an environment that enables growth in the sector and makes it easier to fund. 

Singer Yvonne Chaka-Chaka heads up the interim committee as chairperson, with actor Mabutho Sithole as deputy chair. The remaining committee members are Sello Galane, Mpho Molepo, Bulelwa Bam, Mandla Balisa, Ramadan Suleman, Freddie Nyathela, Sello Maake ka Ncube, Portia Mashego, Mokena Makeka, Vuyisile Mshudulu, Eugene Mthethwa, Dodo Monamodi, Florence Masebe, Andre le Roux and Jyoti Maistry.

Committee responsibility
The responsibility of the committee is to establish the SACIF and mobilise the sector nationally to ensure inclusivity and unity.

"Mashatile further announced that the department of arts and culture would grant the interim committee a R5-million operational budget and a secretariat to ensure that it performs its duties efficiently," said Lewele.

Mashatile said a federation that was a legal entity with an office, address, proper financial management and programmes that address the needs of the sector was needed.

"Government has no intention to manage the federation, we are merely assisting the sector to organise itself so that it can take its rightful place in the economy and society at large," he said.

"This federation will be not be a government agency, it will be a body made of representatives elected by and accountable to the creative sector."

Pull together
The minister urged delegates to work together to ensure that a fully fledged federation was established.

The department was included in the government economic clusters because Cabinet appreciated the role of the sector in economic development and job creation.

"The arts will never be the same from today, it's now in your hands", said Mashatile.

Chaka Chaka said she was honoured by the responsibility given to her and the committee and urged everyone with ideas and skills to work with her committee.

"Minister, I promise you that we will account for every cent of the R5-million grant. Nobody will misuse the funds under my watch. Let us make this work, we owe it to our children," she said. – Sapa

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