Tax­pay­ers’ millions for jazz and jols

Sunday Times - - News | Standoff - By THABO MOKONE

● The Depart­ment of Arts and Cul­ture has splurged more than R300-mil­lion on 35 “flag­ship” mu­sic fes­ti­vals and jam­borees such as the South African Mu­sic Awards in the past three years.

This was dis­closed to par­lia­ment this week by Arts and Cul­ture Min­is­ter Nathi Mthethwa.

The Cape Town In­ter­na­tional Jazz Fes­ti­val, where a week­end pass sold for R1 299 this year, was the big­gest re­cip­i­ent of the largesse be­tween 2014 and 2017, re­ceiv­ing spon­sor­ship of just over R40-mil­lion.

The depart­ment has also been throw­ing big money at events such as the Na­tional Arts Fes­ti­val, held an­nu­ally in Gra­ham­stown, which was given gov­ern­ment spon­sor­ships amount­ing to R27-mil­lion over the past three years, while the or­gan­is­ers of the pop­u­lar Joy of Jazz fes­ti­val got a R16.5-mil­lion shot in the arm, thanks to tax­pay­ers.

The an­nual Cape Town Car­ni­val re­ceived spon­sor­ship amount­ing to R10-mil­lion, while another pop­u­lar mu­sic and cul­tural event, the Macufe Fes­ti­val held in Bloem­fontein, has been as­sisted to the tune of R12mil­lion over the past three years.

Lim­popo’s flag­ship mu­sic gig, the Ma­pun­gubwe Arts Fes­ti­val, scored gov­ern­ment aid amount­ing to R10-mil­lion, while Kim­ber­ley’s Di­a­monds and Dor­ings got R8-mil­lion.

The Sa­mas re­ceived R8-mil­lion while the Mbokodo Awards, “an event to recog­nise women who have shown lead­er­ship, fos­tered growth and made ef­forts to strengthen the arts”, has been aided by R15-mil­lion from Mthethwa’s depart­ment.

His spokes­woman, Asanda Ma­gaqa, on Fri­day dis­missed sug­ges­tions that the gen­er­ous spon­sor­ships amounted to money for jam.

“Lest we for­get, these fes­ti­vals of­fer artists a means of en­sur­ing their sur­vival by mak­ing a liv­ing. This is job cre­ation and hu­man cap­i­tal de­vel­op­ment.

“It’s a se­ri­ous job. Min­is­ter Mthethwa has made it his mis­sion to en­sure that the dis­pen­sa­tion of ‘starv­ing artists’ does not con­tinue un­der his watch.

“For artists, par­tic­i­pat­ing in these mu­sic fes­ti­vals, is a way of en­sur­ing their bread and but­ter and is a sig­nif­i­cant means of sus­tain­abil­ity. In his bud­get speech this year, Min­is­ter Mthethwa spoke of the Mzansi Golden Econ­omy — a strate­gic pro­gramme for fund­ing within the sec­tor. The pro­gramme will con­tinue to in­ten­sify the re­al­i­sa­tion of the de­part­men­tal ob­jec­tives of job cre­ation, con­tent de­vel­op­ment and hu­man cap­i­tal de­vel­op­ment in the sec­tor.”

Ma­gaqa said “flag­ship fes­ti­vals” of­ten grew to be self-fund­ing once the gov­ern­ment gave them a kick-start.

“Fes­ti­vals are not mere spa­ces of friv­o­lous fun for the at­ten­dees. Rather, they are . . . ve­hi­cles for form­ing com­mu­ni­ties and na­tions.

“It is Min­is­ter Mthethwa’s view, and that of the depart­ment, that it sup­ports these fes­ti­vals be­cause they are a means of bring­ing South Africans from all walks of life to­gether, and are an im­por­tant ve­hi­cle to­wards the attainment of so­cial co­he­sion by en­sur­ing they come to­gether to share the same spa­ces.”

Pic­ture: Esa Alexan­der

Sax­o­phon­ist Femi Koya ig­nites the crowd dur­ing the Cape Town Jazz Fes­ti­val, which was sub­sidised by the South African tax­payer by more than R40-mil­lion be­tween 2014 and 2017.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.