Struggling Gauteng creative industry once again left in limbo by former SACR MEC Hlophe

The arts and creative industry have once again been failed by the Gauteng Department of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation (SACR).

The former MEC for this department, Mbali Hlophe postponed the much-anticipated Gauteng Discover Film Summit.

This week, the DA received a memorandum from the Gauteng Film Commission which indicates that the Gauteng Discover Film Summit will be postponed to a later date.

The summit was meant to be held from the 17th to the 21st of October 2022. The main aim of this summit is to bring together creatives and policymakers in the audio-visual industry.

This summit would have deliberated on key resolutions and looked at global developments and trends in the local film industry.

This is key if we want to ensure continuous growth within this industry and that there are tangible solutions made so that our arts industry can start to recover from the losses incurred during the Covid-19 pandemic.

It has now become a norm for this department to neglect the arts industry.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, our artists received very little support from the department and now they continue to suffer due to this department’s incompetency.

The DA demands that the new MEC Morakane Mosupyoe outline the exact reasons for the postponement of this important summit and her plans to help our creative industry.

In addition, we also call on her to ensure that this summit does go ahead as a matter of urgency and that she will make sure that the GFC board does their job properly and does not interfere with the administrative functions of the GFC.

I will also be engaging directly with the arts industry to determine what support they need from the government to move their industry forward. I will then engage the MEC on their feedback to ensure that she fulfils her mandate to support the arts industry.

New Gauteng Film Commission CEO must prioritise local film productions instead of spending half of its budget on salaries

Many artists in the film industry continue to suffer due to a lack of financial and training support from the Gauteng Film Commission (GFC). This entity constantly spends almost 50 percent of its budget on salaries and less money on the development programmes for the film and television industry in the province.

The financial woes of Gauteng artists in the film and television industry have been neglected for far too long by the GFC, and the newly appointed CEO, Keitumetse Lebaka, is facing a crucial task. has big shoes to fill. She must ensure that the local film industry is empowered with much-needed skills to provide world-class films that can compete with other internationally-produced local films.

The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the continued suffering faced by the artists in the film and television industry. CEO Lebaka must review the GFC budget allocations and prioritize support for local film and television artists in Gauteng.

In the 2018/19 annual report for the GFC, they spent 54.9% of the budget on salaries while they had four vacancies, and in the 2020/21 annual report, they spent 47% of the budget on salaries while they had seven vacancies.

This shows that this entity continues to spend almost half of the budget on salaries which is unacceptable and indicates poor financial and management planning.

The DA will be monitoring how the new CEO is going to turn around this entity to ensure that its budget is spent accordingly to benefit local film and television producers.

The only solution is to prioritise a budget that is focused on skills development through funding initiatives that aim at producing highly skilled filmmakers and providing training, workshops, and mentorship to emerging filmmakers.

GFC has no system in place to track government officials doing business with the entity

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is shocked to learn that the Gauteng Film Commission (GFC) has no system in place to track whether there are officials that are doing business with the entity.

This was revealed by the MEC for Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation (SACR), Mbali Hlophe in a written reply to the DA questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL).

This shows that tax-payer’s money can easily be syphoned by officials because there is no system in place to monitor which officials are doing business with government entities.

It is important for all government departments and entities to have a monitoring system in place as this will ensure that corruption and fraud does not take place.

Currently we are seeing many officials in various sectors of government being implicated in corruption and caught with their hands in the cookie jar. The State Capture Commission of Inquiry has revealed many examples of how our state coffers are being looted.

The DA calls on MEC Hlophe to ensure that a monitoring system is put in place as a matter of urgency.

Furthermore, the DA will table a motion in the GPL calling for a lifestyle audit to be conducted on all government officials.

DA concerned about appointment of new Acting CEO for Gauteng Film Commission

The Democratic Alliance (DA) notes with concern the appointment of Shane Maja as the new Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Gauteng Film Commission (GFC).

Since 23 February 2017 when Mr Andile Mbeki the CEO was placed on suspension this entity has been run by acting CEOs.

Shane Maja took over from Simangele Sekgobela who has been acting in the same position since 2017.

This clearly indicates that the appointment of a proper CEO seems to be a challenge for this entity.

We cannot have an institution that operates with acting senior executives for years while a platform to have appointed full-time office bearers exists.

The GFC has an important function to play in supporting the development of the film industry and it cannot be that it is left unstable for such a long time.

This provincial entity needs a full-time captain to steer this ship and it can no longer rely on acting CEOs.

I have tabled written questions to the Gauteng MEC for Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation (SACR), Mbali Hlophe to ascertain why this entity has not yet appointed a CEO, why is this entity keeps appointing acting CEOs, and whether proper recruitment processes were followed in hiring Shane Majola and what the required qualifications are for the CEO position.

Filmmakers side-lined as Gauteng Film Commission blows budget on staff salaries

Young and talented filming makers in Gauteng, many of whom seek the assistance of the Gauteng Film Commission will not receive financial support from the Commission as more than 50 per cent of the entity’s budget has been spent on staff salaries.

This shocking revelation was made by Gauteng MEC for Sports, Recreation, Arts, and Culture and Recreation (SRAC), Mbali Hlophe as well as the Acting CEO of the Gauteng Film Commission, Ms Simangele Sekgobela to the Gauteng Legislature’s portfolio committee for SRAC.

According to MEC Hlophe, of the 22 staff members of the Gauteng Film Commission ten are managers.

This means that there is almost one manger per subordinate staff member.

Sadly, the Commission has become a job employment agency, rather than what it’s core mandate stipulates – supporting and growing the film makers and the film industry in Gauteng.

There must be urgent action taken to stop the unnecessary bloat in the Commission.

This is another example of how the ANC government in Gauteng has misused public funds to support the lifestyles of cadres and not those who are deserving of support.

I will write to the MEC to ascertain when the staff organogram in the Commission will be readjusted to reflect its mandate of supporting, young and aspiring talent.

Suspended GFC CEO paid R1.8 million for sitting at home

by Kingsol Chabalala MPL – DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation

The DA is shocked to learn that the CEO of the Gauteng Film Commission (GFC), Andile Mbeki, is still drawing a salary despite being placed on suspension.

This was revealed to me by the MEC for Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation, Faith Mazibuko, in response to my questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature.

According to the MEC, Mbeki was suspended for the following:

  • Insubordination and ill-treatment of staff members
    • Illegal recording of MEC conversation during the meeting and distribution of the very conversation on social media without seeking permission from the MEC

Despite the fact that the CEO has been charged he has not appeared before a Disciplinary Committee.

The MEC has informed the DA, that they will seek an amicable resolution to part ways.

Since being placed on suspension on 23 February 2017, Mbeki has received a salary totaling R1,882,094.00 including benefits.

Currently the department is paying two CEOs, thus diverting money away from other important functions of the department.

This indicates poor political management and leadership on the part of the MEC, as she has failed to resolve this matter.

The DA demands that this be resolved as a matter of urgency to avoid any further wasteful expenditure.