The Nelson Mandela Museum and the Iziko Museums briefed the Committee on their 2008/9 Annual Reports. The Museum was located halfway between
Members asked about irregular expenditure; unauthorised expenditure; programmes to attract school children, especially young children; the celebrations of Mr Mandela's birthday; how the Museum demonstrated to children that the example of Mr Mandela’s life was a lesson that, regardless of the circumstances in which children found themselves, they could succeed; what the Museum was doing towards achieving social cohesion and true nation building; how seriously the Museum would continue to take Nelson Mandela Day; how it would celebrate its own tenth anniversary; and if the term of office of the Council had been extended. A Democratic Alliance Member commented that consolidation was a bigger challenge than achieving a given position; that the Museum had much to contribute in the process of nation building; and that that an institution carrying the name of Mr Mandela must be well administered. The Chairperson commented that the discussion centred on how to use the heritage of Mr Mandela to build a rainbow nation. Mandela Day was no longer negotiable, since it has been adopted by the United Nations. The Museum’s vision and mission were also non-negotiable. The international community had adopted Mr Mandela. He symbolised the great values that could take the whole world forward. That was why
Iziko Museums’ Council had indicated to the Ministry of the Department of Arts and Culture that its members were willing to extend their term of office. Iziko Museums emphasised that they were not one museum but twelve: each with its own history and character. Iziko emphasised the Museums outreach programmes, and expressed the importance of welcoming parties of young schoolchildren on an outing. Such was the essence of outreach. The growing interest of the general public in the many varied activities and exhibitions of Iziko Museums was evidence of the Museums’ success. International participation and cooperation enhanced the reputation of Iziko. The Council recognised the changing role of museums in society. The Museums continued to emphasise core business but also expanded and modernised the presentation of exhibitions to reach new audiences. Iziko was increasingly invited by national Government to manage exhibitions within
Members asked about the findings of a climate study; the main challenges in exhibitions; if captions could be given in additional languages; the policy on languages; the apparent hiding of the museums’ history; funding; some apparent staff discontent and accusations of racism; renting of cars and copiers; and days celebrated by the Museum. The Museum denied that there was any substance to accusations of racism. The Chairperson commented that all 11 languages were official, and that he expected the Museums to address this issue by way of policy. He asked the Museum to further emphasise transformation. He commended the Museums’ run of five years’ consecutive unqualified audit reports. He asked the Museums to advise the Committee if Iziko needed its assistance. The Chairperson assured the Chief Executive Officer that his deployment on
The Chairperson welcomed Members and delegates, but asked delegates in future to arrive early to set up their equipment to avoid delaying Members of Parliament. He asked that copies of presentations be paginated for ease of reference.
Mr Khwezi ka Mpumlwana, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO),
The Museum aimed to be a living museum that embraced development and was a fitting tribute to the legacy of Nelson R Mandela, a product of Ubuntu. After his release from Robben Island, Nelson Mandela, as the first democratically elected President of South Africa, received a significant number of gifts from the South African and international community in recognition and appreciation of the role he played in the struggle for peace, freedom and democracy in South Africa and the world. He accepted the gift on behalf of all people of
The historic Bhunga buidling was formerly the seat of the United Transkei Territories General Council, the seat of the Transkei Legislative Assembly, and the seat of the
Mr Mpumlwana said that the Council had promised to transform the Museum’s situation, and it was now proud of a clean audit report. The Council had promised that the Museum was to establish a reference library, with books and journals published on Mr Nelson Mandela and in as many languages as possible. The Library had not been completely established but all South African titles in print on the life of Mr Mandela had been acquired. The Museum believed that it was on course to realise the objectives set by Council. In 2010 the Museum would complete its first decade.
The adaptation of the building for museum purposes and the Museum’s operation from two sites had posed challenges. The Museum sought to stay in touch with past in order to help future generations by a process of learning and development. In renewing the Museum’s facilities, it could not be over-emphasised that there was a need to recapitalise physical facilities; this was a need that remained from the previous year.
The Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) had gone beyond pledging money and phase one had started with the appointment of the contractors, after numerous interactions with the Department of Public Works to ensure that all was in order. The Museum’s physical security had been revamped. The Museum had vetted service providers, and required disclosures. New signage had been commissioned.
To meet audit report requirements, an Audit Committee Charter had been adopted; internal auditors had been appointed; additional members with expertise in finance, human resources and supply chain were recruited into respectively the Finance and Human Resources Committee and the Audit Committee; and a governance improvement plan, which included the appointment of external auditors, was adopted. The audit report reflected the progress made in addressing issues raised in previous years. The Council had held seven meetings in 2008/9, three more than normal, because of the extent and nature of the issues that had to be addressed. The Council had written to the DAC to say that the Museum did not have the capacity for all the posts identified as needed.
Major issues related to training and development, and the performance management monitoring system. A competent security manager had been appointed. African representation was very good. Additional appointments to the staff of the Museum would be made according to the budget. The Museum had given special focus to occupational safety and health.
The matter of Mvezo village remained unresolved and the Council had resolved that the Museum would focus in the foreseeable future on the sites that it operated in Qanu and Bhunga.
The core of the Museum’s work was its programming. The Museum had ensured that Mr Mandela’s birthday was well celebrated. The Museum had launched an exhibition of children's letters to Mr Mandela and gifts given to him. There were exhibitions, and a number of youth camps. An artist-in-residence programme had been hosted. A number of outreach programmes, including Connecting Classrooms, in association with the Commonwealth and the British Council had been held in that period. A number of seminars and a colloquium had been held in
The Museum attracted a balance of international, domestic and local visitors. Immediately after the launch of the Dear Mr Mandela, Dear Mrs Parks Exhibition, a sharp increase in visitor numbers was witnessed. The majority of the domestic visitors came from the
The Council Chairperson had always held the vision that the Museum should be a focal point for community cultural life. During 2008/9 the Museum hosted several events that had strong community participation: a Cultural Festival that attracted traditional groups from nine local municipalities in the O R Tambo District Municipality, the start of the Business Trust Marathon, and various family and community events. The Museum continued to house the Ithemba Craft Production Schools for skills training and business development, supported by the Government of Lower Saxony. The Museum branded the launch of the
Professor A Lotriet (DA) asked about irregular expenditure.
Mr Mpumlwana replied that the cleaning and security tenders had been paid despite the period being over. There had been an issue of leave pay, which was not in alignment with the Auditor-General’s recommendations.
Professor Lotriet asked about unauthorised expenditure.
Mr Mpumlwana replied that the unauthorised expenditure was related to the birthday celebrations and expenditure in excess of budget. Mr Mpumlwana replied that the incoming council strengthened the cash flow reporting. This had been linked to the capacity issue. Less work was now done manually.
Ms D van der Walt (DA) congratulated Mr Mpumlwana. She commented that an institution such as the
Mr Mpumlwana replied that inadequate staffing had an adverse impact, and ‘if the ribbon has been cut, you easily get forgotten’. The Museum had been established as a “phase one exercise”. This had not been followed-up as well as it should have been. Everyone was making do with less.
Mr H Maluleka (ANC) referred to challenges, social cohesion and nation building, and noted that the Museum wanted to attract diverse audiences. He asked if it had a programme to attract school children, especially young children, since this would address the question of what we were doing for the future by way of learning about the legacy of Mr Mandela.
Mr Noel Solani,
The Chairperson commented that the discussion centred on how to use the heritage of Mr Mandela to build a rainbow nation. He observed, acknowledging, Ms M Nxumalo (ANC), that all official languages were recognised but unfortunately no interpreter was present.
Mr Mpumlwana replied that the Council had reviewed the continuation of Mr Mandela’s heritage.
Mr Solani said that the Museum’s Council had approved nation building youth camps with a view to using the name of Mr Mandela for nation building. The Museum co-operated with the Robben Island Museum (RIM), and selected particular themes focused on nation building.
Mr Mpumlwana added that local communities benefited from the Museum’s programmes, especially the
Mr Maluleka asked about what kind of celebrations had been organised for Mr Mandela's birthday.
Mr Mpumlwana replied that Mandela day had now been adopted as the day of service. The scale and size of birthday celebrations differed.
Mr Solani said that the birthday was a very special event for the Museum. Among the celebrations for the 90th birthday, the Museum had organised a colloquium jointly with the University of Fort Hare, Mr Mandela’s alma mater.
The Chairperson said that the question was maybe unfair, as Mandela Day was no longer negotiable, since it has been adopted by the United Nations. It was not for the Museum to say whether there should be celebrations of not. It would not be acceptable for the
Ms Van der Walt said that she was disappointed with the responses on nation building. She was interested in the future of the icon and the results of Mr Mandela’s life. She asked how the Museum demonstrated to children that the example of Mr Mandela’s life was a lesson that, regardless of the circumstances in which children found themselves, they could succeed. She asked what the Museum was doing towards achieving social cohesion and true nation building. She observed that an institution carrying the name of Mr Mandela must be well administered.
Mr Mpumlwana responded that the new exhibition would answer some of the questions raised by Ms Van der Walt.
The Chairperson thanked Ms Van der Walt for the issues that she had raised. He noted that if people learned from their mistakes, then they need not repeat them. It meant that each of us from our own cultures must go to the Museum. This was a collective effort. No single group could do it alone. We must make that humble contribution. He said that the Museum’s vision and mission were non-negotiable. The international community has adopted Mr Mandela. He symbolised the great values that could take the whole world forward. That was why
Ms M Morutoa (ANC) asked why the Museum had closed a certain office.
Mr Mpumlwana said that the office concerned had been a project office that closed down - there was a change in administration, and the new board had reprioritised what was initially a pilot initiative. So many sites needed to be interpreted and commemorated primarily for cultural preservation and leveraged for tourism and other creative industries.
Ms Morutoa asked about the strategic direction of the present budget. Ms Morutoa said that there was a museum in Orlando West. She asked about the relations between the Museum and the
Mr Mpumlwana said that the other sites associated with Mr Mandela were all independent sites. However, the Museum was the official institution commemorating Mr Mandela. It was a trust museum at this stage.
The Chairperson asked if the Museum had a video.
Mr Mpumlwana replied in the affirmative. Copies were available to members.
The Chairperson asked about the Museum’s goals for the next five years, and noted that it had not said much about tourism. He asked if it had projections of the number of visitors in 2010.
Mr Mpumlwana replied that the Museum sought to extend its outreach. Because it was a rural museum, catering to tourists was an essential part of its work.
The Chairperson asked if the term of office of the Council had been extended.
Mr Mpumlwana replied that extending the term of the Council was not in the Museum’s control. Whenever there was lack of continuity, difficulties could be expected, but he was sure DAC was aware of the situation and would attend to the matter.
The Chairperson asked if the Museum had saved copies of the proceedings of the United Nations relating to Mr Mandela.
Mr Mpumlwana replied that detailed research was needed on all the different kinds of artefacts. If the Museum’s library had enough support, more important research on Mr Mandela could be done.
The Chairperson asked the Museum to inform the Committee if it found lacunae in the applicable legislation. As the Committee also monitored and had oversight of the DAC, the Museum should not hesitate to contact the Committee. If there were great things to celebrate, the Museum should please let the Committee know. Members would be happy to receive copies of books published by the Museum, or written by its staff, or under its auspices. The Committee could not overemphasise that the Museum Council and staff were administering an institution that made known to the world all those good things associated with Mr Mandela.
Iziko Museums Presentation
Advocate Dave Mitchell, Deputy Chairperson, Iziko Museums, began the presentation by saying that the Museums’ Council had indicated to the DAC and Ministry that its members were willing to extend their term of office beyond 30 September 2009 and had suggested that an extension to 31 March 2010 would be appropriate; they themselves were not able to do so. The matter was now in the hands of the Minister and the DAC. The Council would appreciate the Committee’s support. Council members were uncomfortable without the proper authority. He spoke of Iziko Museums as a place of excitement, a place that was, and needed to be, alive. He emphasised the Museums outreach programmes, and expressed the importance of welcoming parties of enthusiastic young schoolchildren on an outing. Such was the essence of outreach and Iziko Museums.
Professor H Bredekamp, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Iziko Museums, continued the presentation. He said that the Annual Report had been tabled on time and in accordance with the applicable legislation and regulations. He referred Members to the Report for further details. The Report was available on the website of the Iziko Museums.
The growing interest of the general public in the many varied activities and exhibitions of Iziko Museums was evidence of the Museums’ success. International participation and cooperation stood out again as elements that enhanced the reputation of Iziko. The Council had taken cognisance of the changing role of museums in society. The Museums continued to emphasise core business but also endeavoured to expand and modernise the presentation of exhibitions and to reach new audiences. Iziko was increasingly invited by National Government to manage exhibitions within
At the same time, the operational efficiency of the Museums improved further. Its governance once again proved to be of the best in the heritage sector thanks to a fine organisational structure that involved everyone in achieving the strategic goals of Iziko. International cooperation remained one of the most exciting initiatives where, through Iziko’s leadership,
Professor Bredekamp emphasised that Iziko Museums were not one museum but twelve, each with its own history and character: the South African Museum, the South African National Gallery, the South African Maritime Centre, the Slave Lodge Museum, the William Fehr Collection (at the Castle of Good Hope), the Michaelis Collection (the Old Town House, on Greenmarket Square), the Rust en Vreugd Museum, the Bertram House Museum, the Koopmans-De Wet House Museum, the Groot Constantia Museum, the Planetarium, the Bo-Kaap Museum, and the SAS Somerset (a museum ship at the V&A Waterfront). The name ‘Iziko’, which meant a ‘hearth’ in isiXhosa, symbolically positioned the Museums as centres of cultural activity.
Professor Bredekamp said that good governance had been a high priority. A highlight in this regard was the development of a policy on the Management of Programme Performance Information in accordance with Treasury guidelines of 2007, and Council’s submission in February 2009 of a new format Strategic Plan for 2009–2012 to the Department of Arts and Culture. The achievement, once again and for the fifth time of a clean audit report reflected what the senior management had achieved.
The CEO had succeeded at governance level, and also as President of ICOM-South Africa, to forge a closer professional relationship between the South African Museums Association and the South African national committee of the International Council of Museums (ICOM). An agreement for closer cooperation was signed at the
Iziko Museums set high standards of service excellence through management and development of human resources. Through a concerted effort of appointing candidates from designated groups during recruitment and selection processes, the composition of the workforce profile continued to improve.
Professor Bredekamp emphasised that people were very important to the Iziko Museums. The Museums were meeting the requirements of transformation, had appointed the first black director of an art gallery in
The public programmes made a significant contribution to achieving the strategic goal of unlocking the educational potential of Iziko and innovatively showcasing the art, culture and natural history of
In October 2008, for instance, performances were presented at the Iziko Slave Lodge to dramatise the Slave Rebellion of 1808 and make this significant moment of resistance by slaves in
Professor Bredekamp said that in preparation for the 2010 World Cup, the Iziko Summer School hosted a Soccer Indaba which focused on the tourism potential of 2010, and the Museums had already submitted their programmes. The Indaba was but one of many successful workshops and discussions that encouraged public debate on current topics ranging from climate change to contemporary art. Popular publications, educational brochures and catalogues were produced for major exhibitions.
Professor Bredekamp attached much importance to interpreting Iziko’s collections is so important to us. That was why there was an outcry in the media from time to time that Iziko did not have enough funds. Iziko wanted to show the Museums to be proud of Africa; hence, the importance of co-operation with
Professor Bredekamp said research was very important to the Iziko Museums, whose staff had written many papers; and, needless to say, in respect of custodianship, Iziko’s collections were once again managed professionally in accordance with best curatorial practice. Researchers distinguished themselves in the fields of palaeontology, entomology, marine biology and archaeology. Some 22 research papers in natural history were published and Iziko was proud to be training one of the few black entomologists in the country. DAC interns were included on research fieldtrips, and all of the three DAC interns who were placed at Iziko have now found permanent employment in their fields of interest.
In respect of the strategic goal of improving and broadening accessibility to Iziko sites and collections, the programme to enable people living with disabilities to appreciate and enjoy Iziko exhibitions reached people with visual, hearing and physical impairment. Iziko Museums committed themselves to growing this programme when more of the museums were fully accessible to users of wheelchairs. Thus far seven of Iziko’s museums had been made disabled-friendly through the installation of lifts and appropriate access routes.
Furthermore, security in five of the twelve Iziko museums had been enhanced and upgraded through the installation of CCTV cameras.
Professor Bredekamp said that the Museums had introduced a new pricing strategy. As part of Iziko’s marketing and communications strategy, Iziko Museums were free to all under the age of sixteen, and were places where stories were told. Iziko Museums sough to change visitors’ perspectives. Signage had been refined in a better effort to welcome visitors.
Iziko’s sound financial management continued and the introduction of a supply chain management section led to the execution of 13 tenders and streamlined procurement processes. In short, Iziko was successful in achieving its strategic objectives and in adding value to the wider heritage sector in
Professor Bredekamp thanked the Committee for its support during his time as CEO. This was his fourth, and probably last, presentation to the Committee.
Professor Lotriet said that she and Ms Van der Walt had visited Iziko Museums in Heritage Week; she was pleased that admission had been for free.
Professor Lotriet asked about the main challenges in terms of the existing exhibitions that the Museum held.
Professor Bredekamp responded that Iziko had three main types of exhibit: art exhibitions; social history collections exhibitions; and natural history collections exhibitions. He invited the Committee to visit the
Professor Lotriet asked if captions could be given in additional languages. In some instances she had found captions in Afrikaans and English, and some only In English.
Ms Morutoa asked how the Museum had improved accessibility in terms of its use of languages, and how it had evaluated its improvement.
Professor Bredekamp responded that Iziko had considered the importance of Braille too. Iziko had made special efforts to introduce language diversity in the art collections. However, essentially it was a matter of funding. ‘You can do what you want to do with the money that you have.’ There were other priorities that had first to be addressed. Also text became more crowded when captions included many languages. However, there was a need for a multilingual approach and to show respect to the various languages. However, he admitted that it was an urgent challenge.
The Chairperson commented that the DAC appreciated the efforts of every South African towards nation building and social cohesion. On the issue of languages, past indoctrination had simply denigrated the indigenous languages, and had had a huge impact on the self-consciousness of the people. He was aware of people who spoke languages, but were proud that their children failed to do so. All the 11 languages were official. He expected Iziko to address the matter of languages in policy not in terms of the attitudes of a few.
Ms T Tshivhase (ANC) said that she had visited the Museums. However, it appeared as if the history of the Museums was somehow hidden. The name ‘Slave Lodge’ was no longer heard. It seemed that children were being denied the history of the institution. One would like to know why the history was hidden from the public.
Professor Bredekamp responded that he liked the question about hiding the history of the museum, although he did not fully understand it, because people had become so much aware of the Slave Lodge. In 2003, when he took up his post, people were still talking about the South African Cultural History Museum. Iziko had made a deliberate effort to convince people that it was no longer the South African Cultural History Museum but the Slave Lodge, to the extent that when the President of France visited South Africa in 2008 and attended a function at the South African National Gallery, the then Mayor of Cape Town and others arrived at the Slave Lodge, thinking that Iziko was the Slave Lodge. Perhaps the history that was hidden was the history of how the old South African Cultural History Museum had progressed to the present.
Ms Van der Walt commented that the Committee had wanted to visit
Ms Van der Walt asked the source of the Museums’ external funding, referred to in the Auditor-General’s Report.
Professor Lotriet asked about the findings of a Climate and Culture study, for which consultants had been commissioned during the reporting period. She recalled that there had been a report about some apparent unhappiness amongst staff at the Museum.
Professor Bredekamp responded that the Culture and Climate survey had been done by a reputable service provider and in accordance with supply chain management principles. The surprising finding was that Iziko’s core values and practices seemed not to be any more of dissatisfaction to the staff who responded to the survey. In other words, Iziko had succeeded. Iziko was much better than average. One could not deny that there had been some negative findings, but those had been dealt with by ‘theme teams’, into which the staff had divided themselves. They had reported data and have had chance to make proposals, and early in December 2009 there would be a big staff meeting, at which they would have the opportunity to make presentations. The person who had complained in the newspapers had written the same letter to all the newspapers. There was a second person who had resigned recently. That person had written only to one newspaper. That person had challenged Iziko about the introduction of performance assessment.
Mr Maluleka said that he had heard of some unhappiness and accusations of racism at the Museums and a case referred to the Human Rights Commission. He asked for comments.
Professor Bredekamp asked for proof of accusations of racism, and more details of human rights issues.
The Chairperson said with regard to racism that it was necessary to engage those issues robustly, honestly and frankly. Actions spoke louder than words. Included in the composition of staff, for example, the Museum had 51 male coloured, 28 male Africans, and four male foreigners, but he conceded that the figures might be outdated. Transformation must be a key issue for Iziko. The Museums must not be ‘reckless’, but they must follow through on transformation. It was critical that Iziko played that role and addressed those issues.
Mr Maluleka asked if it made business sense to rent cars and copiers, instead of purchasing.
Professor Bredekamp replied that the Museum rented only a facility at the Waterfront for which the contract expired in 2011.
Mr Maluleka said that he did not see Nelson Mandela Day among the days that the Museums celebrated; although maybe it would feature in the following year.
Professor Bredekamp referred to Iziko Museums’ programmes for the New Year.
The Chairperson interrupted Professor Bredekamp’s response.
The Chairperson said that he was personally very happy at five years of consecutive unqualified audit reports, and moreover it was the Committee’s duty to commend the Iziko Museums, if only to encourage other entities that had not done so well. He told the Museums to continue in that vein. He thanked the Museums for the invitations. It was of critical importance that the Iziko Museums informed the Committee if they needed assistance. Professor Bredekamp’s deployment to
The meeting was adjourned.
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