Department of Arts and Culture Annual Report 2008/2009

Arts and Culture

27 October 2009
Chairperson: Ms J Tshivhase (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Department of Arts and Culture briefed the Committee on its Annual Report for 2008/2009. Its organisational study was awaiting the Department of Public Service and Administration's approval. Thereafter the Department would move quickly to fill vacant posts, especially those at senior level. A risk management committee had been established and a fraud prevention strategy had been approved. The assets register had been updated, and this was reported as a matter of special importance since it had been one of the Auditor-General's key concerns. The Department reported progress on implementing recommendations of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa). The Auditor-General had given the Department an unqualified audit opinion, but was assisting the Department in correcting four areas, including under-spending (mainly in capital works) and inadequate methodology for preparing performance information.

The Department admitted that it was not yet successful in ensuring full participation in national days. In conversations on social cohesion it was recognised that while South Africa was building houses, it also needed to build communities. Achievements in national language services included an increase in editing and translation of documents, and automatic speech recognition. The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development had moved to address the issue of languages in courts. Through the investing in culture programme, the Department supported 397 projects and created 10 938 job opportunities, of which 48% were for women, 37% for young people, and 4% for persons with disabilities. International co-operation helped to improve economic and other development opportunities for South African arts and culture, nationally and globally. Co-operation with other countries on the African continent included Mozambique, Namibia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Nigeria and Egypt. Of especial importance was the Department's continued work with the community libraries. One of the new libraries in Mpumalanga had been burned down as part of the service delivery protests. It was hoped to rebuild it, since it was a service of critical importance to the community. Importance was attached to repatriating South Africa's heritage, but not setting a bad precedent of buying it back.

Members’ comments and questions included the importance of encouraging members of the Cabinet and Executive to use South Africa's official languages, the reason why English was the official language in courts, the great potential of language for development and the suggestion that the Department should take care of Afrikaans as it did for English. Languages were stated to be national, not provincial concerns. Members also questioned the Report of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Chapter 9 institutions, the need to discuss at length nation-building and social cohesion, national symbols, the moral regeneration movement, race related matters making headlines, celebrations of national days, and the serious challenge of achieving reconciliation, which it was accepted would only happen over a long period. Members suggested that there was a need to involve the community in rebuilding the library destroyed in service delivery protests and the need to establish libraries in rural areas. The ongoing saga of Robben Island, its board and officials, and the breakdown of the Robben Island ferry on Heritage Day received attention. Further questions related to the Department's role in the 2010 World Soccer Cup, the inclusion of four African countries as members of the heritage council of UNESCO, the pending legislation and the trafficking of valuable cultural assets. Members also asked questions about the Castle of Good Hope, the challenges on which the Department sought the Committee's help, the role of the audit committees, and held a discussion on capacity to deal with disciplinary matters expeditiously. There was consensus that the Committee and the Department were working together as a team, and that the briefing had been highly informative and productive.

Meeting report

Department of Arts and Culture (DAC or the Department) Briefing on the 2008/2009 Annual Report
Mr Themba Wakashe, Director-General, Department of Arts and Culture, said that the presentation was a very short summary of the Annual Report, of which hard copies had already been distributed to Members, and which gave considerably more detail.

Mr Wakashe noted that the presentation's purpose included soliciting the Committee's inputs on strategic interventions that might be required for the Department to fulfil its mandate and achieve its vision of developing and preserving South African culture to ensure social cohesion and nation-building. The mandate included mainstreaming arts and culture in social development, promoting the official languages and enhancing South Africa's linguistic diversity. It was also to develop policy and legislation to identify, conserve and promote cultural heritage, and to guide the archival, heraldic and information resources (including the National Library and community or public libraries) of South Africa to empower its citizens through full and open access to these resources. The Department was aware of the potential contribution of heritage tourism to economic development.

Mr Wakashe referred briefly to the Department's broad legislative mandate and the White Paper on Arts, Culture and Heritage. He then reviewed the Department's six programmes.'Meta-information', the term used for libraries in Programme Six, worried him as it was a term inherited from the time when Arts and Culture was part of a single Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology. The programme performance, including the voted funds and actual expenditure, was illustrated. There was an overall under-expenditure (slide 6).

Service delivery achievements of Programme One: Administration included the development of monitoring and evaluation policies to improve the standard of monitoring performance programmes, a feasibility study on the assessment of promoting of identity and social cohesion in four selected places in KwaZulu-Natal, conducting an organisational development exercise in the Department, 70% completion of the Department's human resource plan and structure and approval of most of the policies. There had been successful implementation of the Standard Charts of Account as prescribed by the National Treasury, and improved compliance management in respect of financial legislation, policies and procedure as prescribed by the National Treasury, which had allowed for an unqualified audit report for 2008/2009. The Department's Risk Management Committee had been established and it had developed a risk management charter. It had completed of 20 full audits and five follow-up audits by March 2009. There was approval of the Department's fraud prevention strategy and policy, visits and verification of 118 properties used by the Department's public entities, implementation and full-functionality of the servers at the Department's national office, and ensuring security of the Department's organisational information by establishing data storage and back-up. The Department's physical assets and updating of its assets register were completed. The Department had also hosted for the Minister and Deputy Minister a total of six izimbizos in April and October 2008, and had held road shows on geographical name changes.

Mr Wakashe said that the organisational study was now being sent to the Department of Public Service and Administration for approval. It would address the issue of the vacancy rate, and thereafter the Department would move quickly to fill the vacant posts, especially those at senior level.

Mr Wakashe highlighted the risk management committee and fraud prevention strategy's approval. Two days previously he had testified in a hearing. He also highlighted the updating of the assets register, because this was one of the key matters on which the Auditor-General had commented adversely in the past.

Service delivery achievements of Programme Two: Arts and Culture in Society (ACIS) included: funding of 11 community arts centres and MinMEC's approval of a framework for revitalising community arts centres. 120 arts practitioners were placed in four provinces to coach arts and culture curriculum in schools. A framework of collaboration between the Department and the Department of Education was developed, and there was a memorandum of agreement between the Department and the Department of Correctional Services for arts access, education and training for the rehabilitation and re-integration of offenders. There were inputs made to the National Youth Development Agency Act. The Department had established a moral regeneration movement sub-committee. The human settlement task team's interim report had been made to the Department. The Department had implemented a strategy for children, preservation of the family, and people with disabilities. National Days were celebrated. Public consultations were in progress on developing the national strategy for the performing arts sector.

Internationally, the Department participated in the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) workshop on Africa Day on 25 May 2008. The National Arts Council (NAC) had developed a website to allow online application and access to information about the World Summit. A co-ordinator for the International Federation of Arts Council and Culture Agencies (IFACCA) had been employed to facilitate logistical issues, international participation, communication and administration for the World Summit.

Mr Wakashe said that the Department was working hard on national days to ensure participation by all communities, but this had not achieved full success and the Department would intensify efforts to ensure participation by all. There had been a breakthrough with the Day of Reconciliation, 16 December. One question that had arisen in conversations on social cohesion was that while South Africa was building houses, it also needed to build communities, failing which the new settlements would end up neglecting other needs, and shebeens and drugs would creep in, and controlling crime would be difficult.

The Department had a special focus on the blind.

Service delivery achievements in Programme Three: National Language Services, included the increased editing and translation of documents. There was evaluation of the language research and development centres.  29 bursaries were awarded to 29 underprivileged students. The automatic speech recognition for all languages had been completed and the recording concluded, and the transcription of four languages - Tshivenda, English, Afrikaans, and isiNdebele had been completed and accepted. Mr Wakashe noted that in regard to national language services, in order to enhance the linguistic diversity of South Africa, the Department did much editing and translation for governmental departments and six of the prioritised departments had established language units, while the Department was liaising with the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development and two other departments to establish their language units. The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development had moved to address the issue of languages in courts. The final draft of the business case to establish the South African Language Practitioners Bill had been completed.

Mr Wakashe then highlighted the service delivery achievements of Programme Four: Cultural Development and International Co-operation. There had been appointment of the service provider to conduct research on the visual arts sector and completion of the first phase. There was a partnership with the Oliewenhuis Art Museum on a training project in public sculpture to improve skills development in the arts and culture sector. The Department had participated in the Cannes Film Festival and the FESPACO Film Festival in Bukino Faso to increase awareness of the South African film industry. It had awarded competency certificates for craft production, craft enterprise and craft operations management. The Department, together with the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) had developed a draft paper on the intellectual property of cultural goods and services; and participated with exhibits and cultural programmes in Expo Zaragaza.

Through the investing in culture programme, the Department supported 397 projects and created 10 938 job opportunities; of which 48% were for women, 37% for young people, and 4% for persons with disabilities.

International co-operation, with countries such as the United Kingdom (the British Council), Germany (the Goethe Institute), France, the Netherlands and others had helped to improve economic and other development opportunities for South African arts and culture, both nationally and globally, thereby ensuring sustainability of the sector. Co-operation with other countries on the African continent included Mozambique, Namibia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The service delivery achievements of Programme Five: Heritage Promotion included the completion of a draft national policy on intangible cultural heritage (ICH), the approval by Cabinet of instruments for ratification and promotion of South Africa's national heritage, the appointment of the South African National Geographical Council and national hearings on geographical name changes in Mpumalanga, Eastern Cape, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, and North West. The Luthuli Museum in Groutville in KwaZulu-Natal was now established. There had been a successful advocacy meeting held in Abuja, Nigeria, on 24-25 April 2008, and a contribution to the African World Heritage Fund (AWHF). South Africa was again a member of the world heritage community, together with other African countries Egypt, Mali and Nigeria.

The Department still had amendments of heritage legislation to table, but because of the political calendar this had been delayed.

The first phase of Freedom Park had been completed, at a cost of R68 million. A Khoi-San cultural evening had been hosted and the Sarah Baartman Colloquium had been held at the University of the Western Cape.

Service delivery achievements of Programme Six: National Archives, Records, Meta-Information and Heraldic Services included the design and registering of 52 heraldic representations, an increase in the number of researchers visiting the archives, publication of five guidelines promoting efficient records management, conducting outreach programmes and exhibitions to improve public access to information. There had been completion of public consultations on the Library Transformation Charter, infrastructure development in six community libraries, the opening of the new building of the National Library of South Africa at its Pretoria campus in August 2008, and financial support to the South African Library for the Blind - to which the Department gave special importance. There had been inauguration of the new library and archives in Timbuktu by heads of state as part of the South Africa-Mali Project Timbuktu Manuscript, the handover of Rivonia Trial documents to the Minister in the presence of former President Nelson Mandela, and installation of flags and flag poles in schools, Government buildings and entry points to cities and towns
Mr Wakashe attached especial importance to the Department's continued work with the community libraries. It was sad to record that one of the new libraries in Mpumalanga was burned down as part of the service delivery protests. It was hoped that, after tempers had cooled, it would be possible to assess the damage and rebuild, since it was a service of critical importance to the community.

Repatriation of South Africa's heritage was important since few researchers could afford to travel overseas to conduct research in such places as New York. However, the Department did not want to set a precedent of buying back heritage, and financially it was impracticable. Some apartheid era records were in Tanzania and formed part of the continental heritage and memory.
Mr Wakashe then outlined the Department’s performance in financial matters. The Audit Committee had reported that: the Department had operated on the approved strategic plan for 2008 to 2011.  The Audit Committee and Internal Audit unit were now established and effective, and the Audit Committee operated in accordance with approved and written terms of agreement, whilst terms of agreement for the Internal Audit unit were also approved. A risk assessment strategy was developed. A fraud prevention plan had been developed and was currently being implemented.

The Audit Committee had noted a lack of appropriate systems to facilitate the preparation of performance reports, and inadequate control processes and procedure to ensure the accuracy and completeness of reported performance information. The Department took note of this and had drafted a plan to implement the resolutions of that Committee. There was also progress on implementing recommendations of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA): Asset management was developed and approved by the accounting officer, and was being constantly reviewed and updated. Various appointments of personnel were made. Enhanced financial management control measures were implemented. Training sessions on supply chain management policies were continuing. A monitoring and evaluation (M & E) policy was developed, approved, and was being progressively implemented. A framework for programme performance and management had been developed, approved and was currently being implemented.

The Auditor-General had given the Department an unqualified audit opinion. However, the Department's attention was drawn to four areas. There must be preparation of the financial statements in accordance with the modified cash basis of accounting determined by the National Treasury. There had been some fruitless, wasteful, and irregular expenditure. There was under-spending of the allocated budget - this was mainly in capital works. There were inadequate information systems, policies and framework for preparing performance information. The Auditor-General was assisting the Department in correcting these points.

In respect of Freedom Park, Mr Wakashe described that the completed portion had been opened, and the remaining construction began in April 2009 and should be complete in June 2010.

From 01 April 2008 to March 2009 the Department had filled 166 of its 327 vacant positions. The service provider had been appointed to conduct an organisational development exercise in the Department and the results of the exercise were now with the Department of Public Service and Administration for approval, which should hopefully be done by the end of December 2009. The vacant posts had been advertised in the national newspapers, but it was not thought necessary at this stage to link with the universities as there were many unemployed graduates already in the marketplace. A  policy on retention had been developed. 

Mr S Tsenoli (ANC) commended the Department for the discussion of the issues raised by the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, the unqualified audit report, and greater detail on a useful range of issues. However, he asked about the fruitless and wasteful expenditure, and how it explained under-expenditure. He also asked if there were any outstanding disciplinary cases.

Mr Wakashe responded that the Department had been obliged to suspend an official following a forensic investigation, consequent on the Auditor-General's detecting some irregularities. A disciplinary hearing was under way, so the outcome was awaited. The Department had tabled 135 charges against the official concerned. The Department had won a case against a former Chief Executive Officer, and was now head-hunting for a replacement. It was the policy of the Department to institute disciplinary action when required. There were other cases, such as the junior official who had forged Mr Wakashe's signature. The Department had dismissed her, yet she had the audacity to appeal. Other cases were sub judice. The Department had made considerable progress over the past two years, but now needed to focus on its associated institutions.

The Chairperson questioned a media report that English was to be the official language in courts.

Mr Wakashe said that he thought the use of other languages to be permissible.

Mr Tsenoli observed that unless a court was labelled an indigenous court, it could not use an indigenous language as the language of record. Only three or four courts were designated as indigenous.

The Chairperson observed that the presentation made no mention of the trafficking of valuable assets.

Mr Wakashe replied that the Department was collaborating with the South African Police Service on this matter. It was concerned with Government assets such as paintings. The Department sought to list such assets across the spectrum of Government, but it was a costly exercise.

The Chairperson said that she wanted assurance about national symbols.

Mr Wakashe replied that the Department's target was to have a flag in each of the 27 000 schools in the country and instruction given to the learners on the national symbols. Each future report would reflect work in progress on this project.
The Chairperson said that it was very important to establish libraries in rural areas.

Mr Wakashe responded that the Department was making inroads in the establishment of libraries in rural areas, but much remained to be done.

The Chairperson asked the Department to update the Committee on Robben Island and its officials.

Mr Wakashe reported that the Department had suspended Robben Island's former Chief Executive Officer, the Chief Financial Officer, and the Chief Operating Officer. Then the Chief Operating Officer contested his case and the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) ruled in his favour on a technicality. The Chief Financial Officer (CFO)  and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) were no longer employed at Robben Island. The Department had appointed an interim CEO, but there were major disagreements between him and the Board on the restructuring, which created major difficulties in all areas of governance of the institution. Eventually the interim CEO had resigned, and the Board, having met with the Minister, also resigned. The Department then called upon the Executive authority, as provided for in the legislation, and had appointed  Professor H Bredekamp, the Chief Executive Officer of Iziko Museums in Cape Town, to be the Acting CEO of  Robben Island, reporting to the Minister directly. In the meantime the Department advertised for positions of board members. There had been a good response from well-qualified candidates. On 29 October a meeting would be held in Pretoria to finalise the selection of the new board for the Robben Island Museum. Professor Bredekamp was expected to remain at Robben Island Museum until March 2010. The post of CEO been advertised, but the quality of respondents had been most disappointing. Other matters were in progress, such as the management of Robben Island, and reconciliation with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) over the rabbit population of the Island. Mr Wakashe believed that the situation on Robben Island was stable and it was hoped that the new Board Members could be appointed by the end of the year by Cabinet.

Ms D van der Walt (DA) asked for a copy of the forensic audit report on Robben Island, which the Committee had previously requested. She said that although the CCMA case was still in process, Members should obtain other information from the forensic report, to assist them in performing oversight. She was still awaiting an answer from the Minister on that subject.

Mr Wakashe said that he would ask the Minister for the forensic report and was confident that the Minister would respond to Ms Van der Walt's question.

Ms Van der Walt said that it was a disaster that the Robben Island ferry broke down on Heritage Day, thus preventing South Africans and other tourists from visiting this World Heritage Site. She asked why there was no back up plan. She was also waiting a response from the Minister to her question on what provisions existed in the contract for breakdowns, and why the other ferry was not available on such a crucial occasion as Heritage Day.

Mr Wakashe said that he did not know what penalties were contained in the contract for the ferry. In situations like this there should be penalty clauses.

Ms Van der Walt asked how Professor Bredekamp's dual role impacted on performance.

Mr Wakashe indicated that adequate arrangements were in place for the management of the two institutions.

Ms Van der Walt asked for names of members of the task team for the moral regeneration movement and their job descriptions. There was a huge gap on moral regeneration.

Ms Van der Walt said that there were more race-accusations making headlines in the media. She commented that there was not yet success in building a united South Africa; and that the Minister was the custodian of nation building.

Mr Wakashe responded that while the issue of religion impacted on morality, and morality extended beyond the religious groups. Morality needed to be linked to social cohesion. When two people disagreed, they often accused each other of being racists. It was too easy to throw labels, and it appeared that people were losing their humanity. Although he did not think that the nation was falling apart, he did believe that it was necessary for people to ask themselves what was the core of the South African nation, and build on that to find one another. He note that the concept of the “rainbow nation” had created breadth, but not depth. It was necessary to find the depth. It was important to look at the Free State at the present moment, and ask if society should accept that a part of a population should remain in the dark ages. In the United States and in Europe there had been a proliferation of right wing web sites. South Africans had to ask themselves how to deal with these challenges. That was the reason for the forthcoming conference on building a caring nation. Americans knew their place in the world, and confidently stated that nobody should mess with them, but the same did not pertain in South Africa.

Mr H Maluleka (ANC) asked about staff turnover.

Mr Wakashe replied that staff turnover was not high, The Department had advertised for candidates for senior posts. There was one Deputy Director-General whose disciplinary case was pending, so no new appointment could be made for that position. The Department had also suspended the Chief Financial Officer, but he was challenging his suspension.

Mr H Maluleka (ANC) asked about over-expenditure.
Mr Wakashe denied that there was any over-expenditure.

Mr Maluleka asked when the Department would table pending legislation.
Mr Maluleka asked about celebrations of national days.

Mr Wakashe replied that there was a worrying trend regarding national days. Freedom Day celebrations were well patronised by whites from the diplomatic corps, and this was considered a day for a braai. It was necessary to review the approach to national days, since there was an erosion of their meaning. It was wrong to regard them as mere holidays, and it was deplorable that employees should return the following day to work with a hangover. He suggested examining how other African countries celebrated national days.

Dr A Lotriet (DA) asked Mr Wakashe about the language units, and whether they reported to the Department. She also asked about the staff complement, and developing the link between arts and culture and heritage tourism.

Mr Wakashe replied that there needed to be cross-fertilisation between languages. There was a danger of duplication, and perhaps the language units should be clustered. Another issue to be considered was who had oversight over these units.

Mr M Mashamba, Acting Deputy Director-General, said that the Director-General had instructed the Acting Deputy Director-General of Heritage to facilitate a meeting within the Department to enable an understanding of the contribution of cultural heritage to South Africa's economy in general. Thus that matter was being attended to.

Mr Tsenoli asked why it was left to the Auditor-General to detect irregularities, as surely the Audit Committee should have done so.

Mr Wakashe responded that the matter had begun in 2005 or 2006, and the Auditor-General had detected it. The official concerned was asked to provide an explanation, but the matter was never really concluded. Mr Wakashe's predecessor informed the Standing Committee on Public Accounts that he was dealing with the matter, but by the time he left the matter was not concluded. Mr Wakashe became aware of the matter when he received a letter from the Department of Public Service and Administration in July 2009. It was then that Mr Wakashe began the proceedings. The internal audit process had failed to scrutinise and follow-up adequately on this matter. Mr Wakashe admitted that the unit had not received sufficient attention in the Department, and previous audit reports had criticised that failure. The Department had now addressed that matter by raising the unit from a Deputy Director level to the level of a Director. He would be chairing an interview for the position on Saturday 31 October 2009.

Mr Tsenoli said that this question had arisen from a study done by the Department of Public Service and Administration on the capacity within departments to deal with disciplinary matters expeditiously. Often,  disciplinary cases remained long outstanding, and this gave a bad impression of the public service as a whole. It was also partly linked to corruption. This was why this question about the audit committee was crucial. If there was even a hint that departments were turning a blind eye to things that they should be pointing out, then questions must be raised about the competency and consideration given to changing the situation. Audit committees must be doing their work, and their integrity was critical to the work of the rest of the Department. The Auditor-General must receive a report from the Audit Committee that it had found out about certain matters, and took appropriate steps, which must be listed. The fact that the Auditor-General, and not the Audit Committee, had discovered the irregularities was a poor reflection on a department.

Mr Maluleka said that this was a serious question, because sometimes officials were suspended, and it was not possible to replace them. Moreover, while suspended they were being paid, which was costly.

Mr Wakashe responded that it was incumbent on the accounting officer to take a keen interest in the work of the Audit Committee, and he had made it a point not to miss their meetings. His attendance at audit committee meetings enabled him to detect irregularities early. The Department had conducted a verification of the qualifications of all employees in the Department. There were certain matters that could not be delegated. As an accounting officer he had to take responsibility.

Ms Van der Walt said that the Department took care of English, but not of Afrikaans. This needed some investigation.

Ms Van der Walt said that the matter of the Castle of Good Hope had not been completed. A joint committee meeting with the Portfolio Committee on Defence had not materialised.

Ms Van der Walt also said that the report of the ad hoc Committee on the Chapter 9 institutions still must be discussed. She further thought it was important to have an extensive session on national building. This would lead to discussion on the challenge of finding a different mode of dialogue, the political nature of language, the rich potential of developing and improving languages to achieve better social integration, and reconciliation.
Mr Maluleka added that reconciliation was a serious challenge; it was not an event that could be declared: it was doubtful that Members would witness completion of that process in their lifetimes. Foreign advice was often ineffective and he commented that in about 1994, American and British advisors were invited to help deal with the taxi wars, despite the fact that those countries had never experienced any taxi wars. With regard to national days such as Freedom Day, he said that he related to the Day itself, but had difficulty in relating to the event and it was not realistic to expect everybody to attend such an event, because not everyone would be attracted to what the event offered. The issue of nation-building was raised every year when the Committee discussed the Annual Report: it was necessary to examine what South Africa was doing wrong and stop accusing people of not being patriotic or loyal to South Africa.

Mr Maluleka said that the Department needed the right people to implement its budget, and to realise the resolution of those challenges. It was necessary to examine the reasons for employees resigning. He said that it was unfair to dismiss a group of employees as useless if the employers were to blame for appointing the wrong people. He asked Mr Wakashe to list the challenges on which he sought the Committee's help.

The Chairperson observed that, from her perspective, some questions had been rather comments or suggestions that the Department should study with a view to implementation.

Mr Wakashe replied that indeed most of the questions had been comments. He listed the challenges as he saw them. Firstly, South Africa did not invest enough in developing the minds of children. Although there was a focus on youth, they were already “damaged” by the time society attended to them. It was necessary to use the resources available to reverse that situation, and then invest again. When discussing social cohesion and nation-building, the first port of call should be the minds of South African children. This did not mean pumping them with propaganda, but encouraging them to think creatively and critically. It was doubtful whether the present environment in schools was sufficient to stimulate them to do so. Any nation that lacked people unable to think critically and creatively lacked a leadership able to lead. The second challenge was the one that had been identified as social cohesion. He agreed with Ms Van der Walt that this was a national conversation that needed to happen. Some people would emerge from such a conversation feeling bruised but it just needed to happen and was long overdue. The third challenge was scholarship in the area of arts and culture, where there was a large gap. There was very little input and output. Quality was lacking. Scholarship in a broad sense, including research, was urgently required. He could not remember within the past two years finding a new book with fresh research on the area of arts and culture in South Africa, but only generalisations, such as how much arts and culture contributed to the economy. That situation was dangerous, since it led to policy-making and policy-measuring in a vacuum, meaning it was  not possible to assess whether progress was being made or not.

If the above three challenges could be prioritised during the term of this administration, the Department would be very happy. If the Portfolio Committee could assist, it would be very much appreciated. Mr Wakashe did not think that a long list was required, but rather strategic areas of focus.
The Acting Chairperson concluded the discussion by saying that the briefing had reminded Members of what they had left behind and what their focus ahead was. Henceforth the Committee and the Department should work together and allow for mutual advice, because together they were trying to build a new democracy. The issue of racism was still coming through the back door. The Committee and the Department must work together as a team, helping one another.

Other Committee Business
The Committee Secretary confirmed that the Committee's workshop scheduled for the weekend of 31 October/01 November 2009 would proceed but  its programme remained an outstanding issue. The Committee then began a closed session.

The open part of the meeting was adjourned.


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