Report on Arts, Culture and Heritage White Paper Review Workshop


11 June 2015
1. Introduction
Following the Department of Arts and Culture’s (DAC) invitation for comment on
the DAC’s proposed Arts, Culture and Heritage White Paper, the South African
Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA) held a session on 11 June 2015 in Cape
Town to review the latest version of the White Paper. As suggested by the DAC,
the review concentrated on both the 1996 White Paper and the 2013 proposal
(updated in 2015).
The purpose of this report is to provide a record of proceedings.
2. Attendance
Invitations were extended to a wide range of stakeholders and interested parties
(see Annexure A for the invitation that was sent out). Participants attended the
workshop from around South Africa and included representatives from: the
SAHRA Council, SAHRA management and staff, Department of Arts and Culture
(DAC), University of Cape Town (UCT), Department of Environmental Affairs
(DEA), National Heritage Council (NHC),, Office of the Premier (KZN), Wits
University (Origins Centre, Evolutionary Science Institute and the Rock Art
Research Unit), Iziko Museums, Albany Museum, National Museum, District Six
Museum, RIM (Mayibuye), Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (Western
Cape), Department of Cultural Affairs, Sport and Recreation (Mpumalanga), Free
State Provincial Heritage Resources Authority, Cape Town Heritage Trust, City of
Cape Town, West Coast Fossil Park Trust, Archival Platform, International
Council of Museums (ICOM), Drakenstein Heritage Foundation, Transcending
Heritage Trust and independent heritage consultants.
See Annexure B for Attendance Register.
3. Programme, Purpose and Intended Outcomes
The White Paper review session was facilitated by Dr Denver A. Webb. It was
structured in such a way as to maximise soliciting inputs from participants.
The programme fell into three main parts:
· a background and scene-setting section,
· three commissions which considered five main topics, and
· a plenary report back section with discussion.
3.1 Opening
The Chairperson of SAHRA, Mr Fanie Makhanya opened the proceedings by
welcoming all to the workshop. The aim was to engage in robust discussion to
review the Arts, Culture and Heritage White Paper. The White Paper needed to
be finalised and stressed that we needed to ensure that policies aligned to the
developmental needs of the country. The recent statues controversy had caught
many off guard and had awakened many to the importance of heritage. Both
policy and legislation need to be reviewed. Section 37 of the National Heritage
Resources Act needs to be revisited in the light of recent developments.
Importantly, heritage programmes should be properly resourced at the three
spheres of government. The role of Arts, Culture and Heritage should be defined
as national priorities in South Africa.
3.2 Purpose
Dr Denver Webb took the meeting through the purpose, which was adopted:
· Reflect on the Revised White Paper inputs from DAC.
· Identify strategic and operational/institutional i.r.o. heritage resources
and reflect upon these.
· Discuss any gaps in the DAC proposals to reprioritise Arts, Culture and
Heritage in South Africa.
· Formulate recommendations from the SAHRA to the DAC on the 2015
Revised White Paper.
3.3 Anticipated Outcomes
The meeting agreed to the following expected outcomes. By the end of the
workshop, participants should all:
· have had an opportunity to analyse and consider the revised White Paper,
· deliberated on its trajectory and content,
· identified areas of significance, gaps and shortcomings, and
· have made inputs towards a SAHRA document to be submitted to the DAC
on what needs to be reflected in a new Arts, Culture and Heritage White
3.4 Reflections on the White Paper and Review Process
Prof. Stephen Townsend of UCT provided a scene-setting address at the start of
proceedings by discussing the nature and content of white papers, why they are
reviewed and an overview of some of the issues relating to the Arts, Culture and
Heritage White Paper.
Denver Webb provided further background context to the evolution of policy
Fig 1: Genealogy of Arts, Culture and Heritage Policy Processes
1993 ANC ‘CDC’
1996 A,C & H “All our legacies, our
common future’
White Paper
2013 Revised White Paper for Arts,
Culture and Heritage
Legislation Various Review Processes, 2006,
1994 ACTAG &
3.5 Commission Mandates
Heritage experts representative of the broad spectrum of attendees at the
meeting chaired the commissions, namely:
· Mr John Gribble (SAHRA, Manager: Underwater Cultural Heritage Unit)
· Ms Lynn Abrahams (Iziko Museums), and
· Mr Makgolo Makgolo (Department of Environmental Affairs)
Copies of the 1996 White Paper and the ‘Final’ version of the 2013 White Paper
proposal were circulated to attendees before hand.
The Commissions were requested to discuss and input on the following:
Focusing specifically on heritage resources:
· Identify strengths of 1996 White Paper
· List shortcomings/gaps in the 1996 White Paper
· Identify strengths in the 2013 Revised White Paper
· Identify shortcomings/gaps in the 2013 Revised White Paper
· Identify strategic issues/recommendations for inclusion in a new draft
White Paper for arts, culture and heritage in South Africa.
Commission chairpersons were requested to ensure a balance in the discussion
between critiquing the 1996 White Paper and the 2013 White Paper proposal
and identifying issues for inclusion in a new White Paper.
4. Commission Reports and Plenary Report
4.1 Commission 1
· Much of 1996 White paper is still valuable and relevant and should be
retained. 2013 White Paper less so: different elements very much
operating in silos.
· How do we define heritage? No proper definition in the 2013 White
Paper, and is needed in a revised White Paper.
· Role of the state is to mediate between those who own heritage and
others who want access to it.
· Multi-tiered system whereby heritage is referred to needs clear definition
of how this should work since at the moment it is not working well.
· Page 56 – concerns over reasons for clustering together certain
institutions that is not entirely clear.
· Positives to the 2013 White paper? Not much. But potentially a positive in
that it discusses heritage as a generator of opportunities.
· Need for greater coherence between existing heritage institutions, but
diversity needs to remain.
· Better representation needed of heritage in the school curriculum.
· White Paper needs to be clear about the nature of the state’s interaction
with heritage and HRM.
· NHC Transformation Charter needs to be looked at.
· Management of natural environment – how that sits on government’s
agenda, something heritage could possibly emulate.
· Skills and qualifications to practice as a heritage practitioner – who
determines this?
· White Paper must articulate what state thinks heritage is and what role it
will take in heritage protection and management.
· National Heritage Resources Act (NHRA) only provides criminal sanctions
– not well understood by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), need
to consider alternatives.
· Centralisation of heritage powers of decision-making is under concern.
· White Paper needs to reflect how heritage contributes to the nation, in a
quantitative and a qualitative way – speaks to social cohesion.
· Address adversarial relationship between Heritage Resources
Management (HRM) practitioners and developers, particularly in Built
Environment cases.
· How will organizations like SAHRA be structured and work in terms of
money and infrastructure?
· Quantifying the value of cultural heritage – something to investigate to
demonstrate heritage is relevant in economic terms.
· How does heritage fit in with the radical socio-economic changes in terms
of national Development Plan?
· Need for critical analysis of where heritage sits within government – is
DAC the most appropriate place, especially with e.g. palaeontology?
· How does the sustainable use of heritage fit in with the White Paper?
4.2 Commission 2
· Who speaks for whom and with what voice in the 1996 White Paper?
Approach to heritage was based on Western notions. Heritage given a
powerful mandate speaking to healing and the restoration of human
dignity. This is missing from the 2013 White Paper.
· A great deal of the nation building and healing as intended post 1994has
not taken place. Very little transformation has taken place e.g. human
remains framed in terms of archaeology and seen through science.
· Heritage sector creates and enabling environment for social cohesion to
take place and economic development to take place.
· Narrow definition of heritage that only speaks to culture and oral
practices etc. without referring to communities and indigenous
knowledge systems.
· Amend 1996 White Paper and clearly define what we mean by
transformation and the various roles and functions.
· Legislation needs a serious review.
· For heritage to make the impact envisioned since at least 1993, there
needs to be education and community involvement.
· If we cannot keep the 1996 White Paper with changes and we have to
keep the 2013 version, then allow us to write the section on heritage
together with communities.
4.3 Commission 3
· 1996 version was written without consultants – this was to its benefit, it
was drafted by passionate and knowledgeable people in the heritage
· Weaknesses of 1996 White Paper – recommended that NHRA be costed,
but this was never implemented. Living heritage does not recognize all
aspects. No funding for resources.
· 2013 White Paper – long in wording, generalized language. Conflicts in
public/private partnerships. Did not analyse or assess shortcomings in
the previous White Paper.
· The 2013 White Paper provides no clarity about what informs the need
for a new White Paper. No costing. No business case. More centralized
control – taking control away from DAC implementing agencies. No
regulatory framework for regulating heritage consultants. Overly focused
on economic promises – the focus must be heritage conservation. Rules
and responsibilities are not clearly defined. No funding for skills
development in museums or across the heritage sector. Need to develop
young people and encourage them to follow the heritage profession.
· No reference to the responsibilities of other departments that have an
influence on heritage.
· No proper audit of the 1996 White Paper was conducted. A quantitative
review is still required.
· More weaknesses than advantages on the 2013 version.
· The right team to develop the White Paper is critical.
· DAC policy reviews outcomes have not been taken into account.
· No meaningful engagement with communities and interest groups around
· How in the White Paper heritage is linked to planning and land use is not
clear. National Development Plan and Spatial Development Frameworks
synergy is required.
· Not and attack on DAC, merely a critique, initiative taken by DAC by
putting this document together commended.
· SAHRA commended with coming up with the initiative to interrogate the
proposed White Paper.
· Recommendations: Two discussion streams to inform the White Paper–
one for heritage resources, museums, archives, and another for
performing and visual arts. Museums, heritage resources and archives
working group should be formed to address key policy changes proposed
by DAC, undertake an audit of the 1996 White Paper to see what has been
achieved, what has been done and what is no longer appropriate. SAHRA
to convene these.
· 2013 White Paper does not appropriately address the heritage resources,
museums and archives component. White Paper not ready for September
submission – needs to be rewritten.
Comments and questions:
· Comment 1: 2013 White Paper is not adequate. Important that SAHRA
acts as the agent to ensure comments on the proposed revised White
Paper are incorporated. If the 2013 version is the chosen version, we still
need to reconvene to unpack the implications of this.
· Comment 2: Offering to assist DAC might be an approach to help address
serious structural issues with the 2013 White Paper.
· Question: Will a report be issued to all who have attended and
contributed? In reply it was indicated that a record of the proceedings
would be compiled and sent to all attendees.
4. Way Forward and Closure
In moving towards the end of the session, the facilitator went back to anticipated
outcomes of the workshop and asked participants to indicate if they thought the
workshop had met these.
He suggested that outcome 3 (that by the end of the day the meeting would have
identified areas of significance, gaps and shortcomings) needed to be addressed
further in more detail. The proposed audit of implementation of the 1996 White
Paper, if undertaken, would address this.
Participants were generally in agreement that anticipated outcomes had largely
been satisfied.
Dr Webb further suggested that a good way to start the new White Paper would
be with a statement of values and principles. The work done by the NHC on a
Heritage Transformation Charter could contribute to this. He encouraged the
NHC to share this with other organizations.
One of the participants appreciated the SAHRA initiative in calling the meeting,
indicating that heritage practitioners needed to define their own role within the
heritage sector and that the debate today was very important.
In terms of way forward, the following was adopted by the meeting:
· Secretariat to e-mail Dr Webb notes on the workshop by Monday 15 June
· Dr Webb would synthesise the presentations, inputs from the
commissions and the discussion into a coherent draft document and send
it to SAHRA for comment by 6 July.
· SAHRA would review the draft and send feedback to Dr Webb by 13 July.
· The facilitator would then revise the document based on the feedback and
send a final version to SAHRA by 20 July 2015.
· SAHRA would then circulate a record of the meeting to all participants.
· The facilitator would prepare a separate draft document, drawing on all
the inputs at the workshop, for SAHRA to submit to the DAC.
In making closing remarks, the CEO of SAHRA, Ms Veliswa Baduza, expressed
appreciation to all those who had played a role in the workshop:
· Ms Colette Scheermeyer who coordinated event.
· The heartfelt and energetic, professional inputs by participants.
· SAHRA colleagues from throughout the institution who lent a hand.
· SAHRA Council Chairperson, Mr Fanie Makhanya and Council Member Dr
Greg Houston, who took time to attend and participate.
· The facilitator, Dr Denver Webb.
She indicated that it was very important how results from today were presented
to DAC on behalf of the sector and committed SAHRA to taking forward the

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