The Acting Chairperson welcomed and congratulated the Hon. Paul Mashatile, Minister of Arts and Culture, and Hon. Joe Phaahla, Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture, on their appointments.
The Department of Arts and Culture, briefed the Committee with pride on the Department's Annual Report 2009/10, a highlight of which was an unqualified audit opinion from the Auditor-General (AG). The Department sought to achieve unity in diversity within a system of shared values while promoting a sense of national identity to provide opportunities and a better life for all. The Department outlined its key programmes: these included developing and promoting the languages of
The Minister said that
Members asked about gender representation; how the success in achieving an unqualified audit opinion reflected achievement of stated objectives; what was the Department's future plan to make impact on the people; how it was possible for Robben Island to have a merely qualified audit report when it seemed that there were so many outstanding problems; and said that visitors received a distorted history of Robben Island from the tour guides. Members also asked what the Department had done, within its arts and culture in society programme, to create a caring society in line with the Department's stated vision, and how many jobs the Department had created in the current financial year. Members further asked the Department if it faced any challenges in service delivery; asked about actual achievements; about irregular expenditure; commended the Department on its unqualified audit opinion; and queried the Department's presentation of figures for the compensation of employees with reference to total expenditure. They asked why the Department's revenue had appeared to decrease; if its employees who had damaged vehicles would reimburse the Department for expenses incurred in repairing them; why the fruitless and wasteful expenditure had not yet been condoned; for the actual expenditure and economic flow in connection with the Department's activities for the 2010 World Cup to create small to medium enterprises; if the Department had conducted any research to see if there were any positive returns from its World Cup efforts; and about the vacancy rate of 26%. Members were worried about the Department's slow progress with policy and legislation: the South African Languages Bill must be tabled to comply with an order of the High Court in March 2010. Members asked why various programmes had underspent; how the Department had aligned its programmes with
Introduction and welcome
Ms M Morutoa (ANC) was elected Acting Chairperson.
The Acting Chairperson welcomed and congratulated Hon. Paul Mashatile, Minister of Arts and Culture, and Hon. Joe Phaahla, Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture, on their appointments.
The Acting Chairperson asked all present to introduce themselves.
Department of Arts and Culture on its Annual Report 2009/10: briefing
Ms Veliswa Baduza, Acting Director-General, Department of Arts and Culture (DAC), briefed the Committee with pride on the Department's Annual Report 2009/10, a highlight of which was an unqualified audit opinion from the Auditor-General (AG). The Department sought to achieve unity in diversity within a system of shared values while promoting a sense of national identity: as mentioned by the former Minister in her budget speech on 19 June 2010 it was a tall order to provide opportunities and a better life for all.
Ms Baduza referred briefly to the Department's mandate derived from the preamble to the Constitution to promote social cohesion and nation-building. She outlined the Department's key programmes and mission – which included developing and promoting the languages of South Africa, improving economic development, and monitoring and guiding the development of archives, heraldry and information resources.
Ms Baduza highlighted the Corporate Services programme's achievements, among which was a colloquium held on 29 and 30 October 2010 on social cohesion. A new organisational structure had been developed and approved. Security systems had been installed to the extent of 80% of the target having been achieved. The verification of assets had been completed in March 2010.
Service delivery achievements included izimbizos in
The Department's internal audit had been strengthened, and the year end audit process had run smoothly.
The Department's South African Languages Bill and South African Language Practitioners Council Bill were to be tabled in Parliament in 2012.
The Department reported on its management of playhouses, and its participation in the arrangements for the 2010 World Cup. The national policy framework had been approved for community arts centres.
Ms Baduza reported on the Department's work with language practitioners, and intergenerational dialogues in association with the Ministry of Women, Children, Youth, and People with Disabilities. The Department’s National Language Services promoted all 11 national languages and enhanced linguistic diversity.
Ms Baduza reported on the shortage of language professionals and the awarding of bursaries to encourage entry to the profession. In Mpumlanga and in the
The Department's various projects to develop arts and crafts industries to help develop the economy were highlighted, and the Department had participated in the second Pan African Cultural Festival.
Ms Baduza reported that the Department's Programme Five for promoting heritage had included a focus on the Khoi heritage; previous achievements of the Programme had included the repatriation of the remains of Saartjie Baartman. Progress was reported on the geographical names.
The Department had completed an audit of skills.
In February 2010 the then Minister had appointed a new council for the Robben Island Museum; a new Chief Executive Officer for Robben Island was due to take up office on Monday, 08 November 2010.
The Department had hosted annual oral history conferences – the most recent had been October 2009. There had been an archives and heraldry week. As part of the Department's work for archive and library services it had set up community libraries, although libraries were a competence of the provinces, the Department had supported and set up community libraries through the conditional grants. Also as part of heraldic services, the Department had conducted the fly the flag campaign.
Ms Baduza reported on the Department’s performance as against voted funds and on actual expenditure and underspending.
The Department saw itself as playing a critical role in alleviating poverty through the contribution of arts and culture to the economy.
Ms Baduza was confident that the Department could reduce its 26.8% vacancy rate. She gave human resource statistics. The Hon. Richard Baloyi, Minister of Public Service and Administration, had concurred with the Department's new organisational structure.
Ms Baduza acknowledged that the Department lacked sufficient women staff, but, with the new establishment approved by Minister Baloyi, the Department had reduced the number of contractors. The Department was, however, worried about heritage promotion.
Ms Baduza reported on misconduct and disciplinary hearings.
Ms Baduza reported on the audit opinions of the Department's entities.
The Department was committed to improving service delivery, and implementing the new organisational structure, and enhancing corporate governance.
Mr Michael Rennie, Acting Chief Financial Officer (CFO), DAC, gave further detail on the audit qualifications received by four of the Department's public entities. There had been an improvement in the audit report of the
Ms J Tshivhase (ANC) asked about gender representation; highlighting that she “still saw a boys' choir or a rugby team when the Department visited the Committee”.
Ms Baduza acknowledged Ms Tshivhase's concern on gender representation and assured her that the New Minister and his Deputy would assist in improving the situation.
Ms Tshivhase asked how the success in achieving an unqualified audit opinion reflected achievement of stated objectives.
Ms Baduza replied that when the Auditor-General conducted the audit, he examined predetermined objectives and the priorities that the Department had indicated. For the time being, the Auditor-General had not given any opinion on achievement of stated objectives but had alerted the Department to the need to strengthen the way it presented targets in terms of what the Department had achieved and to ensure that the Department's strategic plan talked to those stated priorities. The Department had sought the intervention of National Treasury to assist the Department in clearly stating its priorities, indicators and targets.
Ms Tshivhase said that there had been many allegations about Robben Island, and asked how it was possible to have a merely qualified audit report when it seemed that there were so many outstanding problems.
Ms Baduza responded that
The Minister added that
Ms Tshivhase said that visitors received a distorted history of
Ms Baduza replied that the Department would have to examine the alleged distortion of the
The Minister added that the proper recording of the history was essential. Tourist guides must be trained and use a consistent script. This must be reflected in the above-mentioned turnaround strategy.
A Member asked what the Department had done, within its arts and culture in society programme, to create a caring society in line with the Department's stated vision, and how many jobs the Department had created in the current financial year.
Ms Baduza replied that investing in culture was the Department's main project for creating jobs. However, at the beginning of the financial year 2010/11 there had been a moratorium on the investing in culture project while the Department investigated allegations of corruption and fraud. It was only just recently that the Department had begun to resuscitate that project, and the Department had not yet counted the jobs created. However, the Department would keep records of the funding that it had given out and count the employment opportunities created.
Ms Baduza added that creating a caring society was not an easy task. Through the moral regeneration movement which the Department was partly funding, a values charter had been established and launched in July 2009; it was a consultative process to produce a charter that would engage the values that South African citizens would wish to live by, and the National Heritage Council had recently held a conference “on exactly that” - Ubuntu - to the end of promoting a caring society. Ms Baduza emphasised that it was difficult, but said that the Department was laying the building blocks.
Mr S Ntapane (UDM) asked the Department if it faced any challenges in service delivery. If it had such challenges, why did the Department not list them in its presentation document? He regretted that he had received the document only early that morning and therefore had had no time to study it.
Ms Baduza apologised that Mr Ntapane had received his presentation document only that day. She said that the challenges had been listed in the Annual Report. One of the major challenges in delivering on the Department's mandate was capacity. For the past financial year the Director-General had operated on his own in terms of senior management without the deputy directors-general positions being completely filled. He had, however, been able to persuade two of the colleagues to serve as acting deputy directors-general. That effectively crippled their positions, since they had to double up. In June 2010 the Department had advertised all the deputy director-general positions in the new structure. In September 2010 the Department had advertised all the chief director positions.
Mr Ntapane asked about actual achievements. A property management policy had been approved, but not implemented. Why not? This was a very important matter.
Mr Rennie replied that the policy had been implemented since 31 March 2010. Those gaps had been closed.
Mr Ntapane asked about irregular expenditure. When were these investments instituted?
Mr Rennie explained that much of the irregular expenditure of R60 million had been highlighted in 2008/09. It had emanated from an investigation into the hosting of the closing event of the 2006 World Cup – an amount of R54 million. The Special Investigating Unit was investigating that. Then there was R6 million of irregular expenditure in the 2008/09 financial year of which the Department had requested condonement from the National Treasury, but the Department had received no reply as yet; there was also R300 000 that was highlighted as irregular expenditure in the 2008/09 financial year.
Mr Ntapane commended the Department on its unqualified audit opinion.
Mr Ntapane queried the Department's presentation of figures for the compensation of employees with reference to total expenditure (page 110).
Mr Rennie replied that Mr Ntapane had caught out the Department on this subject. He did not know how the mistake had happened and apologised. The figures had been audited by the Auditor-General's Office. He was quite surprised by the discrepancy. He did not have an answer and had not had time in the meeting to examine each figure.
The Minister added that if any figure was wrong the Department would need to review it and correct it, although it might not be possible to do so in the meeting.
Mr Rennie later referred to the Annual Report, pages 110-111 vis-à-vis page 78. The figure on page 78 was about the appropriated amount available with all the virements. The figure on page 110 was the actual expenditure relating to that year. So there would obviously be a difference.
Mr Ntapane asked why the Department's revenue had appeared to decrease.
Mr Rennie replied that the Department was not an income-generating institution, other possibly than income derived from photocopying of archival materials or documents. If funds given to individuals for projects were not spent, these funds had to be returned to the Department's revenue account. So from one year to the next there would be fluctuation on that revenue.
Mr Ntapane asked the Department if its employees who had damaged vehicles were in the wrong. Would they reimburse the Department for expenses incurred in repairing hired cars?
Mr Rennie replied that each case was referred to the State Law Advisor, who made a pronouncement on whether the person concerned was guilty or not. However, a governmental official had a good deal of insurance cover, so long as he or she was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or deviating from the authorised route, or driving recklessly, and by and large the State Law Advisor conceded in the official's favour.
Mr Ntapane asked why the fruitless and wasteful expenditure had not yet been condoned.
Mr Rennie replied that there had been a bad situation in finance. There had been no historical knowledge of things. Resolution of these matters was expected in due course.
The Acting Chairperson wanted to limit the number of Mr Ntapane's questions.
Mr J Smalle (DA) objected. He argued that if a Member was trying to resolve a question, it would be better to let him speak, since the Committee had to prepare its Budget Review and Recommendations Report (BRRR) and link it to the Medium Term Economic Framework (MTEF); moreover, the Minister would be bombarded with questions in the National Assembly, on matters that Members could have clarified in the meeting. It would be better to let Members ask as many questions as possible now.
The Acting Chairperson thanked Mr Smalle for his concern.
Mr Smalle asked how far the Department had progressed on the Cultural Laws Third Amendment Bill.
Mr Vusithemba Ndima, Acting Deputy Director-General: Cultural Heritage and Preservation, DAC, replied that the Department had wanted to present the Bill in the current year; but, because of some further refinements to the Bill, the Department would present it early next year.
Mr Smalle asked for the actual expenditure and economic flow in connection with the Department's activities for the 2010 World Cup to create small to medium enterprises (SMEs). Had the Department conducted any research to see if there were any positive returns from its investments?
Mr Rennie explained that the Department had spent about R150 million on the World Cup in the three years leading up to the 2010 tournament. He did not know what the return on the investment was. He did not think that the Department had investigated this.
Mr Smalle asked about the roll-over on the R407 million that the Department did not utilise. He asked if the R80 million returned plus the R12 million was the balance of the R407 million that was returned.
Mr Rennie replied that on the total amount of saving the Department had received R30 million - R18 million in respect of investing in culture and the full R12 million on the World Cup. These figures represented mostly capital; the saving was not capital, but because of slow spending it was not possible to get roll-overs. There was no way to spend that amount in the current financial year.
Mr Smalle asked about the vacancy rate of 26%. Was that 26% of the Department's actual base? Did the figure take account of the Department's new organogram?
Ms Baduza said that the vacancy rate was for the previous financial year; there had since been approval of a new staff establishment. The Department had, on the basis of these figures approached National Treasury for funding, since the Department did not have enough money in its budget for compensation of employees to fill every vacancy. Therefore the 26% was not 26% of the actual base but of the Department's previous base.
The Minister added that the Department had, in the past, not been funded adequately. He believed that before approaching National Treasury, the Department should re-examine its programmes, to anticipate the question “For what?”
The Minister added that he had agreed with the Department's senior management team to fill all management posts before the end of this financial year. The Department did not want to start the next financial year with anyone acting. The Director-General's post was newly vacant – the former Director-General, Mr Themba Wakashe, had resigned in September 2010. Others had been vacant for more than a year. He asked the Committee to monitor the Department on its progress in filling the vacancies. He was confident that the senior management posts would be filled by the end of March 2011. He shared the Committee's concern over the prolonged holding of posts by officials in acting positions.
Dr A Lotriet (DA) was worried about the Department's slow progress with policy and legislation: every year since 2000 the Language Practitioners Council Bill had been promised but never tabled; the South African Languages Bill must be tabled to comply with an order of the High Court in March 2010 – however, Dr Lotriet saw nothing about it in the Annual Report.
Ms Baduza said that the Department planned to submit the Language Practitioners Council Bill and the South African Languages Bill to Cabinet in April 2011. The Department was hoping to table both bills in Parliament by August 2011.
Dr Mbulelo Jokweni, Acting Deputy Director-General: Arts, Culture and Promotional Development, DAC, added that the delay, over and above the consultation process, had been occasioned by the need for the business case for the Bills to be developed.
The Minister conceded that the Bills had taken too long and had agreed with the Deputy Minister and the Department's senior management team that they would like to see the Bills processed early in the New Year.
Once the Department had gone to Cabinet, it hoped to table the Bills in Parliament sooner. The Department acknowledged that there should not be delays.
Dr Lotriet was also worried about the projects; so many had been postponed because of budget constraints or the reordering of priorities. What was the status of the different projects? Were any to be cancelled or postponed – for example, the community arts centres and libraries?
Ms Baduza said that the funding for community libraries and art centres continued to be a challenge, because in respect of their management they remained a provincial competency. However, for the libraries, the Department had followed the route of the conditional grant. Also the Department would adopt the route of the conditional grant in order to respond to requests from the provinces to upgrade community arts centres.
Dr Lotriet asked specifically about the Downtown Arts Studio. According to the Auditor-General's report R7.5 million had been transferred to the National Arts Council without the Minister's written approval. What was the present status of the Studio? Who managed it?
Ms Baduza replied that the previous Minister had inaugurated a council for the Downtown Arts Studio. The council had since appointed a CEO. Currently the Studio's funding was still administered by the National Arts Council. So the Studio was establishing itself as a Section 21 company, and ensuring that the management was transferred from the National Arts Council to the Studio's council.
Ms Tshivhase asked why Programme 2 had underspent by R13 million; why Programme 3 had underspent by R844 000; why Programme 4 had underspent by R41 million; and why Programme 5 had underspent by R352 million. She asked why this underspending had been allowed when we were in dire need of arts and culture in order to see some changes in our lives. She appealed that the poor should derive some benefit.
Ms Baduza appreciated Ms Tshivhase's concern on underspent Programmes. The underspending in Programme 2: Arts and Culture in Society had been mainly on the 2010 World Cup projects. The Department had asked for a roll-over from National Treasury and had got the money back. The Department could not have spent from it by the end of March 2010 because the tournament was in June – so at least that money was returned. The underspending in Programme 4 was mainly on investing in culture; it was a programme established in the Department to assist in poverty alleviation. The Department had since received R18 million back from National Treasury as a roll-over in lieu of that underspending. The moratorium on spending on investment in culture had been lifted. Programme 5 - Heritage Promotion was a programme of capital works projects. Most of the Department's institutions were heritage institutions. The Department had approached the National Treasury for a roll-over, and obtained one. The challenge with the capital works budget was spending. However, the Department had introduced some intervention strategies, and the Department had engaged with National Treasury to see if the Department could transfer funds directly to the heritage institutions rather than through the Department of Public Works. The Department's capital works committee met on monthly basis.
The Minister stated that he did not want to come to Parliament and sound as if the Department and he were complaining about the Department of Public Works. Where the Department had money to spend on capital projects in institutions it believed that it should be able to channel those resources directly to spend in those institutions rather than going through public works, as long as it was with the agreement of National Treasury. He was sure that the Department of Public Works was overloaded. Even though the R351 million could be brought back to the Department now, the Department might not be able to spend it within the current financial year, unless the Department implemented this mechanism to get this money where it was needed. Some of those institutions were falling apart.
The Acting Chairperson asked how the Department had aligned its programmes with
Ms Louise Graham, Chief Director: International Relations, DAC, replied that the Department had its own mandate and its international programmes were an internationalisation of the Department's domestic mandate. First and foremost the Department examined creating opportunities for South African artists, and promoting South African arts abroad, and in terms of the two way traffic in arts and culture, to bring the benefits back to
Ms E Nyalungu (ANC) said that the Department had reported on seven new community libraries built; two new libraries would be completed during the year; and 43 libraries were upgraded nationally. However, the Department had given only general information; she wanted specific details per province.
Mr Ndima conceded that the report had been general and insufficiently specific on libraries. He said that the Department had reported that seven libraries that had been established in
Mr Smalle asked about compliance with the National Arts Council Act in the appointment of the National Arts Council.
Dr Jokweni replied that the closing date for nominations had passed and the next step was the nomination of the panel to short-list candidates.
Mr Smalle asked about targets for the National Archives of South Africa. What was the actual base? He suggested that the Department adjust its key performance indicators (KPIs) to improve them.
Ms Baduza took note of Mr Smalle's advice.
Mr Smalle asked if the Department did research on the performing arts institutions to determine if the funding given to those institutions was sufficient, and, if not, whether the Department had contingency plans.
Ms Baduza said that this was one of the Department's deliverables in terms of funding models for all the institutions, including the performing arts institutions. The Department had already begun work on the funding model. The Acting CFO was in charge of this project.
Mr Smalle asked about language skills development and if any of the bursaries were formulated towards a disability, such as blindness. Was there any outreach to that sector? It was important also to focus on sign language and Braille.
Dr Jokweni replied that the bursary scheme was open for a wide range of skills within the language professions. The University of the
Mr P Ntshiqela (COPE) asked about monitoring, evaluation and performance measures: how often did the Department apply them on an annual basis?
Ms Baduza replied that Mr Ntshiqela was referring to the Department's projects, where there had been allegations of fraud and corruption. She replied that Dr Jokweni had visited and consulted the provinces. Provinces themselves had submitted proposals to the Department to assist it in monitoring.
Dr Jokweni acknowledged that there had been a major shortfall in monitoring with specific reference to the projects of investing in culture. All provinces, except
Ms Tshivhase asked the Department to tell Members its challenges and problems as to budgeting. She did not consider challenges and problems as synonyms.
Ms Baduza said that the major problem with the budget was that it fell short of what the Department needed to deliver on its priorities. What had been appropriated was not sufficient to assist it.
The Acting Chairperson said that challenges led to problems.
Mr Smalle said that most of the budget transfers were to goods and services. Was there a cap on how much the Department could transfer from one vote to another vote?
Ms Baduza replied that for the greater part of the 2009/10 financial year, the Department's budget was lumped into one. From this year going forward, the Department had decentralised the budget to the programme managers, who would take full responsibility for managing these budgets under the acting chief financial officer.
Mr Rennie had found that Heritage Day had been budgeted for under “household” whereas it should have been budgeted for under goods and services, and then virements would be done. From the New Year the Department had tried to decentralise and allocate the money properly under goods and services. Under the rules, one could transfer from household to goods and services but not the other way around. Also one could not transfer more than 8% from one programme to the next. In 2010/11 it should be much better.
A Member asked about the cost of the suspension of R22 million.
Mr Rennie said that the cost of the suspension of R22 million in legal costs was also the cost of the salaries of the people concerned – it was an enormous amount.
Ms M Nxumalo (ANC) said that the Department had often raised the issue of inadequate funding. What was the Department's plan to make a significant impact on the lives of the people?
Ms Baduza replied that the Department's investing in culture programme was designed to make such a significant impact. The Department had used that programme to provide funding to the budding heritage practitioners – crafters and small designers to ensure that they not only improved upon their skills but that they also provided opportunities for growth in the communities and areas in which they lived. It was a huge task that the Department was not taking lightly.
The Minister referred Members to the foreword in the Annual Report, which he had written as Deputy Minister.The arts and culture sector of the economy had the potential to be a major contributor to growth and job creation, but it was necessary to reposition the sector to do so. It was necessary to create a conducive environment. He had conversed with the Minister of Economic Development who had requested that the Department come with a very comprehensive strategy for the arts and culture sector to include in the growth path in order to impact the whole path of transformation. This would include the film and music industry and art galleries.
The Minister said that it was not the Department's job to provide free tickets for jazz festivals. On the contrary the Department was at the forefront of building social cohesion and national building, and promoting symbols. It was also a major player in the economy. The Department could enhance the potential of the music and film industry, but the Department needed to reorganise itself. He looked forward to the Committee's rigorous oversight.
The Acting Chairperson thanked the Minister for clarifying Members concerns and looked forward to working with him for the remainder of this Parliamentary term of office.
The meeting was adjourned.
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