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ARTS, CULTURE, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE Dr Serote
5 March 2002
SOUTH AFRICAN HERITAGE RESOURCE AGENCY: ANNUAL REPORT
Documents handed out:
South African Heritage Resource Agency: Annual Report for the year ended 31 March 2001 (document available; please email
ARTS, CULTURE, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
email@example.com for a copy)
New South African Heritage Resource Agency (Pamphlet)
A General Introduction to Archaeology, Fossils, Meteorites and the Law (Pamphlet)
Registration of Archaeological, Fossil and Meteorite Collections (Pamphlet)
please see http://www.sahra.org.za
Unity in Action for Change: Committee Programme of Action for 2002
The South African Heritage Resource Agency faces difficulties in implementing National Heritage Resource Act of 1999 because of certain inconsistencies in the Act. They were asked to suggest amendments to the Act in conjunction with the Committee.
Members noted that most of the SAHRA council members were from Gauteng and that even in its Executive other provinces were not represented. However, SAHRA is not responsible for appointing members to the council and that the council was responsible for electing its own executive.
The South African Heritage Resource Agency (SAHRA) gave a presentation of their annual report. The SAHRA delegates (Mr Scholtz, Ms Leslie, Mr Right) presented the report by focusing on both the administrative aspects of the agency and the projects that the agency was undertaking.
The only aspect that was not reflected in the report was that SAHRA was facing difficulties in trying to implement the National Heritage Resource Act of 1999. The reason put forward was that there were some inconsistencies in the Act that made it impossible for the agency to implement the Act. He also emphasised the need to establish Provincial Heritage Resource Agencies.
Ms Van Wyk (NNP) agreed that there might be inconsistencies within the Act because it was drafted without broad consultation. She suggested that SAHRA should list all the inconsistencies and try to suggest some amendments in conjunction with the Committee.
Mr Cassim (IFP) did not fully agree with SAHRA and Ms Van Wyk. He suggested that the Agency must try to do its best within available resources. He asked whether the Agency communicated the matter to the Minister and why was the Committee was not informed about such problems in writing.
Mr Scholtz (SAHRA) said that the Minister was informed and that the process of informing the Committee was also in motion.
Prof Mohamed (ANC) asked the SAHRA to provide the Committee with the copy of the letter that they claim to have sent to the Minister. SAHRA agreed to give the Committee a copy if such a request was procedural.
Mr Cassim asked for some clarity of pages four, five and six of the report. On page four, he asked what the mission and vision of the SAHRA was.
Mr Scholtz referred him to page two of the report.
Mr Cassim also commented that the SAHRA have indicated that there was a list of matters which required policy alignment according to the new Act but that such matter were unknown yet very crucial to the Committee. On page five, he asked the SAHRA to give evidence of productivity for hiring a person for six months to campaign for the publicity of SAHRA.
Mr Scholtz listed some of the work (pamphlets, publications, and training) that has been done to create awareness among the public about the agency.
Mr Cassim was satisfied. On page six, Mr Cassim asked who was referred to as the architect. This was not answered.
Ms Motubatse noted that on page four of the report the SAHRA indicated that they had devised an organogram and that Erf 51 needed to be protected for two years. She argued that the SAHRA is supposed to diagrammatically explain the organogram and needed a list of the properties. She argued Her argument was that the Committee could not make sense of the summary of the Annual Report. SAHRA needed to commit itself to making sure that the Committee knows the details of the operation of the agency in every respect. The Committee agreed to the view that they needed more information on what the SAHRA was doing.
Ms Van Wyk noted that most of the SAHRA council members were from Gauteng and that even in its Executive other provinces were not represented.
Mr Scholtz said that SAHRA was not responsible for appointing members to the council and that the council was responsible for electing its own executive.
The Chairperson also noted that the overrepresentation of Gauteng might not be due to regionalism but to some practical technicalities known to the Minister.
Ms Van Wyk noted that the SAHRA had forty-eighty staff. Did this not hamper the capacity of the agency to perform its duties? She asked the SAHRA to supply the Committee with information on its staff job description and the accompanying budget. The SAHRA agreed that due to budget constraints they had limited staff but that they were trying their best to be productive and were working on a budget of R 12 million over three years.
A Member asked about the status of Lillie's farm. The response was that the farm was provisionally protected and would soon be graded as a heritage site.
The Chairperson asked if there was any interim report on the graves of exiles. The response was that the Department was not co-operative in searching for names and that the SAHRA was initiating it. It would appreciate the assistance of the Committee in the matter.
Mr Mahomed asked how heritage site properties were used and what publicity has been given to national property.
The SAHRA delegates said that some of the property has been rented to NGO's at reasonable rates with an average lease span of ten years subject to review after expiry date.
Ms Mpaka asked how the SAHRA get it databases on archaeological, palaeontological, meteorites and heritage objects. Ms Leslie said that it was through legislation that provides for permits and registration of acquiring culturally significant objects.
Mr Le Roux asked what the SAHRA was doing to stop treasure hunters from defacing heritage objects.
Ms Leslie said that it was a difficult task but that measures are being devised for the hunters to co-operate.
A Member asked if the SAHRA compensated people who have some cultural claim to heritage objects.
Ms Leslie said that according to legislation heritage objects belong to the state and that no financial gains should be expected.
Mr Opperman asked if there was any link between SAHRA's and archaeologists or palaeontologist at universities. He also suggested that SAHRA should try to have programme for novices in archaeology and palaeontology. Ms Leslie said there was no formal link but rather a practical one whereby they require permits from SAHRA and that programmes for novices are being considered. She however, warned that such programmes need careful consideration because the search and acquisition of heritage objects require skills.
Ms Van Wyk wanted to know what students was the report referring to. Ms Leslie said that it was heritage students from Robben Island.
A Member asked if SAHRA considered South African heritage objects that were now the property of former colonising countries like the United Kingdom. Ms Leslie said that legislation provides for procedures for the return of such objects. However, for now the SAHRA was building capacity to collect and register objects that are in South Africa.
Ms Van Wyk congratulated the SAHRA for some of its progress and urged the Committee to help the SAHRA in establishing Provincial Heritage Resource Agencies.
Mr Mohamed asked why the R117 413 owed to the agency was not reflected in the financial statement.
Mr Scholtz said that it was a temporary oversight and was reconciled in the final statement.
Mr Mohamed asked why the agency was still using provident funds as that was outlawed.
Mr Scholtz responded that provident Funds were not outlawed.
The meeting was adjourned.
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