In a broadcast election debate, Durban-based Vibe FM turned its attention to the question of local arts funding.

African National Congress representative Amanda Bhani was asked why the eThekwini Municipality and other municipalities in KwaZulu Natal don’t have proper policy on the funding of art. In response, Bunny said the city of eThekwini had drafted an arts policy that is being circulated for discussion with stakeholders.

The Democratic Alliance’s Nicole Graham accused the local ANC would claim there is little money available for arts and culture, but this is not the case. She added that unfunded mandates only means that it’s not listed as competency of the municipality.

Msizi Mkhize of Black First Land First (BLF) said that the art industry  in South Africa is not taken seriously. He added that the private sector in the arts is owned by white people and this is why they run activities everywhere. Mkhize said money is only allocated to well-developed areas.

The National Freedom Party’s Skhumbuzo Sibisi stated that art and culture should be associated with tourism so artists can been exposed to different people who visit the country. He also added that positions in the art department are given to people who do not know anything about the industry.

The ANC also emphasized that they are not focused on mainstream art issues but they are more focused on local art as they use local centres to minimize cost.

Other political parties were invited but they did not arrive.

An edited extract from Vibe FM’s arts debate

Click here to listen to the full debate.