Replies by Minister of Arts and Culture: Hon. N. Mthethwa in the National Assembly

24 October 2017



Whether, with reference to the ancient phenomenon straddling 10 000 km2 of the Mpumlanga Escarpment he is prepared to (a) commission experts to investigate heritage and historical phenomenon resources and (b) engage with the expertson the matter as part of his department’s planned initiatives for 2018?

(a) This project was implemented by the Mpumalanga Provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Recreation. A request for information on the project and progress to date was forwarded to the Provincial Department. Once received, the information will be utilised to provide the requested answers to the question.


Whether he and his department intends to recognise more heritage resources which celebrate black history as against the current unrepresentative heritage and (b) how he intends to ensure the protection of the heritage of the Khoi and San communities?

(a) In 2015 the Minister appointed a Task Team for the acceleration of the transformation of the country’s heritage landscape. One of the recommendations of the Task Team is to conduct a comprehensive audit of the heritage landscape as a basis for the proper transformation of the heritage landscape in order to come up with a systematic plan of how to reverse the current unrepresentative heritage.

In addition, the department leads on the Resistance and Liberation Heritage Route (RLHR) Project. The RLHR project contributes to the transformation of the heritage landscape by identification, documentation, recognition, memorialisation and commemorating the events, places and individuals instrumental in the obtaining of South Africa’s freedom.

Furthermore, the department is implementing Legacy Projects since 1994 in order to transform the heritage landscape of South Africa. Some of the completed Legacy Projects, ready for tourist consumption include the following:

1. Samora Machel Monument in Mbuzini, Mpumalanga, opened in 1998.
2. Centenary of the Anglo-Boer/South African War of 1899-1902 in 1999.
3. Freedom Park, Pretoria, Gauteng.
4. Women’s Monument, Union Buildings, Pretoria, Gauteng.
5. Nelson Mandela Museum in Mthatha, opened in 2002.
6. Luthuli Museum, Groutville, KwaZuku-Natal, opened in 2004.
7. Centenary Anniversary of the SS Mendi, in Cape Town, Western Cape in 2007.
8. Reburial of Sarah Bartmann in Hankey, Eastern Cape in 2002.
9. Nelson Mandela Statue, Union Buildings, Gauteng unveiled in 2013
10. Matola Museum, Matola, Mozambique, opened in 2015.

The South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA), which is an Agency of the department, is mandated in terms of the National Heritage Resources Act, 25 of 1999 to contribute to the transformation of the heritage landscape in the country through the grading and declaration of South Africa’s national estate.

(b). The Minister intends to ensure the protection of the heritage of the Khoi and San communities as the department is planning to establish the National Khoi and San Heritage Route. This project aims to promote and preserve the heritage and history of the Khoi, San, Nama, Griekwa and Khorana peoples of South Africa. The department commissioned a baseline study to identify and compile a list of Khoisan heritage sites in all nine provinces.

“Mr J A Esterheuzen (IFP) to ask the Minister of Arts and Culture”

In view of the measures on heritage promotion and preservation in libraries that his department introduced, (a) how are critical heritage values transferred in public libraries and (b) has he found that there is sufficient heritage literature at our public libraries to ensure that the specified values that are being transferred are representative of the rich and diverse indigenous culture of the country?
(a). South Africa is a diverse country with eleven official languages spoken in its nine provinces. In libraries, each province is targeting the official languages spoken and strives to promote the cultures represented per province. Libraries are purchasing literature in languages which are spoken in a particular province, for example, libraries in the North West Province (Bokone Bophirima), purchase literature mostly in Setswana as the majority of the communities in the province speak Setswana. Other programmes in libraries for example, the reading competitions, spelling, literary events and book clubs are conducted in Setswana to promote the heritage of the Batswana in the province. The same is also practiced in the Limpopo province, literature is available in Sepedi, Tshivenda and Xitsonga representing all the languages spoken in the province. This is the practice followed by all the libraries in provinces.

(b). There is sufficient literature available in public libraries and efforts are being made to ehance these collection. The National Library of South Africa (NLSA), an Agency of the Department of Arts and Culture, started a project to reprint South African Classics titles that are considered classics in indigenous languages. The project was done in phases with the aim of promoting a culture of reading and writing in indigenous languages. To date more than 90 titles in nine indigenous languages have been reprinted. These books were then distributed to all the public libraries with the aim of promoting a culture of reading. In 2013 monitoring and evaluation was done by the National Library of South Africa visited all the libraries to ensure that these classics are indeed available and that are being read by the users. In the financial year 2015/16 about 1800 posters per language showing these classics titles were developed and distributed to all the public libraries to create more awareness about the existence of these classics material in the libraries.

In 2017/18 financial year, a cross language translation has been introduced. The cross language translations is the process whereby titles are translated into another language which was not its original to encourage the communities to have access to literature which were published in a particular language. To date 18 titles are being translated as a pilot and will be distributed to the libraries for the South Africans to access. The aim of the project is to promote cultural understanding, social cohesion and nation building.


(a) Whether his department allocated any funds to develop the home of the former President, Mr Nelson Mandela, situated outside the Pollsmoor Prison precinct, as a tourist attraction: if not, why not; if so what are the relevant details?

(a) Yes the department has allocated funds through the Resistance and Liberation Heritage Route (RLHR) Project to develop the home of the former President, Mr Nelson Mandela, situated outside the Pollsmoor Prison precinct, as a tourist attraction. The Nelson Mandela House is part of the Nelson Mandela Sites to Freedom together with the Balcony of the Cape Town City Hall where he made his first speech. The sites have been identified for development under the RLHR Project. In addition, an integrated Conservation Management Plan for the development of the house is completed. The Department has also signed an agreement with the Nelson Mandela Foundation for the refurbishment of the house into a tourist attraction. The Foundation will operate the site for 3 years after the refurbishment and thereafter the house will be handed over to the department.