The South African government dealt the film industry and the creative sector in general a severe blow in the national budget which was presented by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan on 17 February. Budgets within the arts were cut across the board. This act by the National Treasury ran contrary to President Jacob Zuma’s assurance given at the creative industries meeting in Johannesburg last November that government saw “the arts as a key economic activity”.
The National Arts Council (NAC) has had its previous budget of R78m cut back to R65m for the financial year 2010/2011. It believes the reduction will have serious repercussions for the seven arts disciplines that rely on their funding support.
These cuts, coming shortly as they do after the Department of Arts & Culture’s (DAC) termination of the Task Team established to advise on cultural programmes for the 2010 FIFA World Cup celebrations, are a sad indictment of a lack of serious resource commitment to arts and culture, states the NAC.
According to NAC CEO Annabell Lebethe, a portion of the NAC’s budget is ring-fenced with R15m allocated to orchestras and R20m committed to 61 non-profit companies and entities which operate within the seven arts disciplines.
Read more in the March 2010 issue of Screen Africa