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DA STATEMENT: FVF (article first published : 2004-11-30)

Statement issued by Dianne Kohler Barnard MP (DA Spokesperson on Arts and Culture)

Members of Parliament today reacted with shock as Minister Pallo Jordan refused, without explanation or apology, to answer questions he’d had in his possession for over ten days.

Today I wanted to ask Minister Pallo Jordan to explain why it was that he had ignored an Act piloted by his predecessor Minister Ben Ngubane in 1997 stipulating that the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) was to investigate the viability of establishing a National Film School.

He had the question in his possession for nearly two weeks, and as his colleagues stood one by one to give carefully researched answers to the questions about their portfolios, he said he wanted the question carried over. This was his last opportunity this year to answer questions, and as ever, Arts and Culture have been left in the lurch.

It is unbelievable that year after year the relevant departments have failed to complete the tiny task of establishing a steering committee. The NFVF has been ordered to do a job, then left high and dry, while funds lie unutilized by the Media, Advertising, Printing and Publishing Seta. A Steering Committee including Trade and Industry, Education, Labour and Arts and Culture would have approved those funds. Instead, nothing has been done, and in seeking information on why this has happened leads nowhere – Ben Ngubane and Kadar Asmal have moved on and the other departments refuse to comment – so it seems that it’s back to the drawing board.

Are we to believe that once a Minister moves on, laws passed during his term become null and void? The treatment of the NFVF has been shabby to say the least – and the fact that one of its key performance areas is to provide opportunities, especially to those from disadvantaged communities, makes this sort of laxness doubly criminal.

Now the NFVF – which came to our Portfolio Committee and appealed for assistance in this regard – will have to wait months until the Minister deigns to reply. To add insult to injury, the Minister also ducked questions by DA Deputy Spokesperson in Arts and Culture, Desiree van der Walt on the language policy at Stellenbosch, saying that ‘she may not ask me that question’.




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