Venice: DAC won’t tell

The Department of Arts and Culture has blocked an application made to the Western Cape High Court under the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) for information regarding the commissioning process and spending for South Africa’s participation in the 2011 Venice Biennale.

At the beginning of the month, the DAC recieved a court order requiring notice of the departments acceptance or rejection of the application, and the department was due to come to a decision today. However, the application has been rejected on the grounds of an alleged interference with the application process, and not on the basis of the terms of PAIA. According to the department, discussion of circumstances surrounding the South African pavilion in the media and with the opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, constitutes “interference”, on the basis of which the DAC has refused to approve the application. For more information, see applicant Matthew Blackman’s article in the Mail & Guardian: http://mg.co.za/article/2012-04-18-department-mum-on-venice-biennale-exhibition/