The funding sectors for the arts

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Albert Maritz caused a slight stir last week when he responded to an Artslink blog by Mike van Graan regarding the funding of the Afrikaans arts. Here is the response of Sershan Naidoo, Divisional Manager: Beneficiary and Player Relations, and Media Liaison, whose name was also mentioned in Maritz's article.

Our media monitoring picked up an "article" - that mentioned, among others, NLDTF funding as follows: "The Afrikaans ou is the most marginalised of theatre-makers, as far as many institutions, including government, are concerned. The Lotto dishes out money to anyone – but deserving cases, eg the Saartjie Baartman institution for abused women and children, can wait, like anyone else, says Sershan Naidoo, Lotto’s spokesman. If that is the case, can you imagine how far back in the queue theatre is? Especially those of us who aren’t in line to see our work at The Baxter or Kunstekaap. And it is not as if the educational theatre in townships and on farms, for which I applied to the Lotto in 2000, without any answer as yet, would have been exclusively Afrikaans."

As a result of my limited understanding of Afrikaans, I could not figure out who the comments above were attributed to. Our response to the paragraph above is as follows:

We have 4 funding sectors, as you know. Each sector has their own budget and committee members that make up that Distributing Agency (DA). Therefore, Saartjie Baartman Home is looked at independently of arts applications. They are not in the same queue. For clarification, when interviewed, I said that while the Saartjie Baartman application was received by the deadline, it was received on the very last day. Applications are processed chronologically and they have to wait their turn like all the applicants. It would not be fair if, as a result of the media coverage and the support of politicians, their application was looked at before applications that were submitted before theirs. It is becoming more and more evident that applicants are holding the NLDTF responsible for their existence. This we see from the fewer (or non-existence of) other funders in applicants’ financial statements.

There has been a significant improvement in the number of applications adjudicated in the last financial year, as will be reported in the annual report of the NLB after the audit has been completed. This achievement might, however, still not meet the increasing demand of applicants and the difficult financial situation they find themselves in. The number of applications has also doubled for each of the sectors as a result of our national roadshows’ telling prospective applicants how to access NLDTF funds.

In the 2011 arts sector call for applications we received over 1 300 applications requesting R16 billion. The budget for the arts sector is approximately R500 million. The process to adjudicate applications goes on chronologically until all applications received by the deadline have been processed. In the 2011/2012 financial year, over R2 billion was paid into the NGO sector by the NLDTF; R550 million of this went to the arts sector.

With regard to the allegation by the writer that his 2000 application was not responded to, I would need details of the applicant’s organisation in order to investigate and comment. Every applicant is advised of the outcome of their application. The NLB annual reports at provides lists of beneficiaries. More recently, we have been updating the funding link on our website monthly with a list of all payments made.



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