Minister and Department of Arts and Culture & Entities: Strategic Plan & budget 2011 briefings

Arts and Culture

12 April 2011
Chairperson: Ms T Sunduza (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Minister and Deputy Minister, and Department of Arts and Culture (DAC), National Heritage Council of South Africa, National Arts Council of South Africa, South African State Theatre and South African Heritages Resource Agency briefed the Committee on the 2011 budget and strategic plans. An improved relationship between the Ministry and Committee was noted. Throughout the presentation it was stressed that the DAC had received cuts in its budget both in the previous and current financial years and that it would experience difficulty in addressing all issues in the strategic plans, given the shortage of funding. A total allocation of R2.46 billion was given. Each of the Department’s programmes was geared towards achieving the overall mandate to develop and preserve South African culture and ensure social cohesion and nation building. Key priorities for 2011/12 included nation building and social cohesion, economic development, skills development, preservation and promotion of arts, culture and heritage, and preservation of information for access. Additional allocations had been made to the National Film and Video foundation for development of the film industry, but cuts were made from goods and services, the National Arts Council and Household heritage. The cuts from the National Arts Council were of particular concern since it was responsible for seven genres and could now not fulfil all indicators. The moratorium on the programmes for Culture Development had been lifted, and although the amounts allocated for Investing in Culture were insufficient, the DAC would approach National Treasury for funding for programmes not implicated in financial misappropriation. The National Heritage Council noted that it was facing financial pressures to address its needs for capacity building and human resources, and had taken up the issues and submitted a business plan to the DAC. The National Arts Council would also ask for increased funding, as it was critical in achieving the objective to make the arts a priority in South Africa and contribute to job creation. The South African State Theatre had found itself in competition with other venues and was attempting to partner with producers to guarantee a certain number of productions, but would also require more capital for maintenance and development. The South African Heritage Resource Agency also would have challenges in delivering fully on its mandate on the allocation provided, but had approached the DAC for further funding and had closed its provincial offices.

Members asked when the acting positions would be filled, why so few libraries were built during the 2010/11 year, and how the National Arts Council could be protected and funded better. They asked about the budget cuts and when councils must be elected for entities. They also questioned whether Ifa Lethu Foundation discussions had taken place, what the Department was doing to educate and assist artists that it was supporting to fulfil the DAC’s requirements, what the position was with the Noria Mabasa property, and how monitoring and oversight was done in respect of funds spent outside DAC. Members also asked for a report on the outcome of the investigations into allegations of fraud and corruption in the Culture Project. Members were interested what efforts were being made to ensure social cohesion and nation building, including collaboration with other departments and clusters, encouraging attendance at celebration days, and promoting the flag, as well as specific work to affect rural communities in a positive way.  They asked for reports on international relations and activities. Members asked if DAC had finalised the policy on charging entrance fees for heritage institutions, the role of the Department of Public Works in upgrading physical structures, how the forthcoming Language Bill would promote jobs, and for clarity on the relationship with non-profit organisations, communication and marketing, and monitoring of skills and internships.

Meeting report

Chairperson’s opening remarks
The Chairperson welcomed the Minister and Deputy Minister to the meeting, and said that, after lengthy discussion with the Minister and Deputy Minister, relations between the Ministry of Arts and Culture and the Portfolio Committee were expected to improve. She reminded Members that Parliament had oversight over the budget and strategic plans of the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC or the Department). It was important that Members of Parliament, not only officials of the Department, should be involved in events.

Hon Paul Mashatile, Minister of Arts and Culture, noted the comments on the important relationship between the DAC and Committee, and noted that this relationship would continue to be addressed over the years to come.

Department of Arts and Culture 2011 Strategic Plans and budget)
Ms Veliswa Baduza, Acting Director General, Department of Arts and Culture, presented on the vision, programmes, priorities, budget and allocations to each programme, and the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) adjustments, between 2007 and 2014. She also indicated that she would be speaking to cuts, additions and key priorities.

Ms Baduza noted that each of the six programmes of DAC had a specific objective geared to enhancing delivery of the DAC’s mandate to develop and preserve South African culture and ensure social cohesion and nation building. The key priorities for 2011/12 included nation building and social cohesion, economic development, skills development, preservation and promotion of arts, culture and heritage, and preservation of information for access.

Ms Baduza then listed the budget allocations as follows, breaking them down by programme. The total was R2.46 billion, broken down into:

Programme 1: Administration R178, 757 million
Programme 2: Performing Arts R549, 379 million
Programme 3: National Language Service R101, 570 million
Programme 4: Cultural Development R180, 717 million
Programme 5: Heritage Promotion R763, 702 million
Programme 6: National Archives & Library Service R694, 452 million

She noted that R66, 927 million was added to the original MTEF allocation, and of that R33, 538 million was to go to the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) for development of the film industry. There had been R15, 779 million cut from the MTEF, and this had been removed from the allocations for Goods and Services (R5,302 million), the National Arts Council (R1,977 million) and the Household Heritage(R8,500 million).

She referred Members to the attached presentation for a note of the ring-fenced funds and how funds would be spent for 2011/12.

She then expanded on some points. The National Arts Council (NAC) was allocated R68, 485 million. Since it was responsible for seven genres, this amount was insufficient for full delivery on the key performance indicators. R41.2 million was directly controlled by DAC and was spent on music festivals, skills development, workshops, and programmes for promotion of talented artists, and for programmes involving youth, women and education. The income generated during the jazz festivals contributed to economic growth and heritage and nation building.

The moratorium on Culture Development had been lifted and DAC had engaged with the Members of Executive Councils and heads of provincial Departments for rollout of programme 4, to alleviate poverty and to create jobs through the programme.

Ms Baduza noted that the amount of R105,028 million for Investing in Culture was insufficient and DAC would approach National Treasury for additional funding to ensure delivery on the five priorities.

National Heritage Council of South Africa (NHCSA) briefing
Advocate Sonwabile Mancotywa, Chief Executive Officer, National Heritage Council of South Africa said that the R47 million allocated to the Council (NHCSA) was appreciated. However, the National Legacy Project was now facing pressure to address capacity building and human resources, and its national and trans-national responsibilities. There were other constraints around the application for funding which included the National Liberation Struggle Project, of R70 million, where the funding mandate was that of the National Arts Council of South Africa (NACSA). These financial constraints had been shared with the Minister and Acting Director General and a business plan had been submitted to the DAC.

National Arts Council of South Africa (NACSA) briefing
Ms Annabell Lebethe, Chief Executive Officer, National Arts Council of South Africa, welcomed the allocation of R68 million and said that the National Arts Council (NACSA) would continue to engage with DAC on how best to make a positive impact with the available funds. However, NACSA would also be asking increased funding, in order to be able to have the maximum impact. Only R51 million was available for disbursement to the seven sub-sectors of visual arts, crafts, music, theatre, literature, dance and choreography, and multi-disciplinary arts. This amount also had to be used to address issues within the sectors, such as assisting communities to access funds, and promoting allegiance, transformation and language, as well as dealing with disparities between urban and rural practitioners. NACSA’s role was critical in meeting DAC’s objective that the arts should be a priority in South African society, in a way that contributed to both socio and economic well-being and contributed to job creation in the arts.

South African State Theatre (SAST) briefing
Mr Arthur Makoena, Chief Financial Officer, South African State Theatre, said that the State Theatre (SAST) envisaged having to raise R20 million to cover its necessary expenditure. One of the reasons for this was that old institutions had been inherited, and only ad-hoc maintenance could be covered with the allocation. The State Theatre would require a doubling of funds allocated to infrastructure, to deal with the core arts and culture. The State Theatre was also suffering from loss of income from theatre rentals, because competitive theatres, such as Monte Casino, were more attractive to producers. SAST was therefore currently endeavouring to partner with producers to attract more productions to its theatre, but he pointed out that this also required that additional capital be provided.

South African Heritages Resource Agency (SAHRA) briefing
Ms Busisiwe Khumalo, Chief Financial Officer, South African Heritages Resource Agency, said that the Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA) welcomed the allocation of R38 million, but had challenges in delivering fully on the mandate with this amount. SAHRA had approached the DAC to assist with getting further resources so that aspects of heritage of the country should not be compromised. It had achieved some savings by closing the provincial offices, and this exercise had allowed SAHRA to take stock of its structure and create a new organogram.
Mr L Khoarai (ANC) asked when the acting positions and other vacancies would be filled.

Ms L Moss (ANC) added that programme 1 was most important and could not afford to sit with key vacancies. She asked if the 2011/12 budget would address vacancies and the running cost of DAC.

Ms F Mushwana (ANC) commented that while those in acting positions were not defined as employed individuals, they were the very people who were supposed to be creating jobs.

Ms Baduza replied that the DAC indeed had a plan to fill the vacant positions, particularly the acting positions in senior management. The position of Deputy Director-General had been advertised and the new Director-General, who was expected to be appointed by 1 June 2011, would then choose his of her preferred Deputy Director-General. The Chief Financial Officer position had been filled in the previous year but had fallen vacant again two months after appointment. DAC was in the process of head-hunting a new CFO. The Chief Director of Human Resources Management should be appointed by 1 June 2011. DAC would report back to the Committee on DAC's plans to fill positions, as also on what positions had actually been filled.

Dr A Lotriet (DA) asked for clarity on why so few libraries were built during the 2010/11 year, and how the funds were spent.
Ms Mushwana commented that the allocation towards libraries was low. She felt that the importance of libraries should be emphasised, to combat illiteracy.

Mr Vusithemba Ndima, Acting Deputy Director General, Department of Arts and Culture, acknowledged that the process of infrastructure development and building of new libraries was slow because of internal processes, particularly provincial capacity. However, he explained that upgrading of existing libraries was not only a question of building, but included processes such as purchasing of books and electronic systems, as well as the reprinting of classics. The upgrading process had progressed further than the establishment of new infrastructures. DAC had enlisted the support of the National Treasury Assistance Unit to improve delivery on that particular mandate.

Mr Mike Rennie, Acting Chief Financial Officer, Department of Arts and Culture, said that the 26% allocation to libraries was part of the larger business plan. From 2008/09 there was a massive increase in the funds allocated to DAC for the Community Library Project, and this would continue throughout the MTEF period. The provinces were required to submit a business plan for their community libraries, and the allocations would then be divided in accordance with requests. Unfortunately there was under-spending of R50 million, which was likely to be rolled over to the following year.

Ms Baduza added that her understanding was that the Community Libraries grant one way of assisting the provinces, but did not take the risk and responsibility for budgeting away from provinces. Provinces were struggling with delivery on unfunded mandates.

Dr Lotriet said that she was extremely concerned about the future of the performing arts. She could not believe that R68 million was sufficient to fund artists in the country. It was generally accepted that the arts were not self-sustaining, and would always require support. She asked if it was possible to protect NACSA in the future during economic difficulties and improve on its budget.

Ms Baduza replied that at a meeting at Artscape, DAC had presented its programme, strategic intentions and goals to all the performing arts institutions, and had mandated the Chief Executive Officer of NACSA to work together with the performing arts institutions or playhouses, in submitting comprehensive funding applications to the National Lottery. The Lottery was amenable to receiving proposals of substance that outlined areas where intervention was needed. The deadline for applications was the end of April 2011. DAC would follow up on progress and report back to the Committee.

Mr Paul Mashatile, Minister of Arts and Culture, agreed that there was a need to review the funding for the performing arts. DAC did not wish to complain to National Treasury, but would rather formulate and present a plan to the Treasury. A further report would also be given on this in the future.

Dr Lotriet asked if DAC had embarked on discussions with Ifa Lethu Foundation, pointing out that at a previous meeting it had become clear that Ifa Lethu could barely meet its operational costs with its current funding allocation.

Mr Ndima replied that DAC had met with Ifa Lethu in Pretoria the previous week. It had been requested to provide DAC with a strong business plan, which DAC could then present to National Treasury.

Mr S Ntapana (UDM) asked why the budget for cultural development had been cut, and the reasons for the allocations set out in slide 8.
Mr Rennie replied that the allocation for cultural development was a historical allocation with a minimal increase per year. The 2010/11 to 2011/12 increases had been normal increases from National Treasury.

Mr Joseph Phaala, Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture, added that DAC continued to look at alignment of mandate, programmes and functions within the DAC and its agencies, checking that the allocations were in line with the priorities, and ensured value. Some allocations were historic but others were ad hoc. In some cases, there might be a need to review structures or legislation. The Committee would be kept advised of these points.

Ms Moss said that while she welcomed the allocations for investment in culture, she needed to know the outcome of the DAC’s investigation into allegations of fraud and corruption of ten officials involved in the Culture Project. She suggested that if these officials were found guilty, taxpayers’ money should be returned to the DAC to accommodate shortages in funding for 2012/13.

Ms Baduza replied that the Minister had been informed that the report on the outcome of the special investigation into funds allegedly misappropriated by provincial coordinators would be given to the DAC by 18 April 2011. If there were any findings of misappropriation, steps would be taken to recover the funds. Separate processes had been followed for disciplinary processes and dismissals.

Mr Ntapana asked what efforts had been made to ensure social cohesion and nation building.

The Chairperson asked for clarity on the plans for the DAC to link with other clusters to generate income, in line with the economic growth path envisaged by the President.

Ms Dudu Nchoba, Chief Director:Social Cohesion, Department of Arts and Culture, replied that DAC could not address the mammoth task of building the nation and social cohesion alone. DAC would be hosting a summit involving a variety of stakeholders in July 2011. In the lead up to that summit, DAC would also be exchanging views with communities and broader society, including all sectors of government, the private sector, and businesses. DAC would use ensure that the key strengths in arts, culture and heritage contributed towards nation building and social cohesion. It was important that DAC be a leader, and it would monitor the progress of programmes of other departments and would ensure that provincial government took responsibility for departments at provincial level. Government outcomes included societal re-engineering and public participation, which would be achieved by the citizens, and by education on Constitutional rights and responsibilities. Social capital was about rallying the nation behind a common goal that erased differences. The summit was expected to produce action plans and programmes to lead the nation.

Ms Baduza added that DAC planned to hold the national summit during Mandela week

Mr Ntapana asked why household heritage costs were cut, when that aspect was important for the people of South Africa.

Mr Rennie agreed that this was important, but DAC had received R45 million cut in the previous year, and further cuts in the current year. It had had to accept the cuts for heritage only, of 8.5%, in the household heritage allocation.

The Chairperson asked how DAC was monitoring and performing oversight over spending of money outside DAC. On a recent oversight visit, the Committee learned that some artists had not seen anyone from DAC since first being allocated money, and funding was lost because the artists were not being advised or supported to submit the necessary documentation, particularly when they could not read or write.

Ms Baduza acknowledged that DAC could perform better in this regard but was pleased to advise that DAC had appointed a Chief Director for Monitoring, Evaluation and Governance, who would drive the process of support for artists who required assistance.

Dr Mbulelo Jokweni, Acting Deputy Director General, Department of Arts and Culture, confirmed that a plan was in place to improve monitoring and educate the beneficiaries rather than to find fault with them.

The Chairperson said that the issue raised by almost half of all entities was that they could not perform without a council and political direction. She asked about the deadline for councils to be elected. 

Ms Baduza replied that DAC deadline for appointment of councils for all performing arts institutions
was the end of June 2011.

The Chairperson commented that income from heritage sites was linked to tourism and that communities could benefit from museums and other cultural sites offering community-based goods for sale.

Ms Mushwana asked for clarification on how DAC planned to charge for visits to institutions.

Ms Baduza said that the question on whether to levy a charge for visiting heritage institutions had not been fully debated. Some people in South Africa could not afford to visit their own heritage sites, as opposed to other galleries that were free. A differentiated fee structure for locals and foreigners was one option. However, no final decision had been made as yet.

Mr Mashatile added that visitors would be attracted to institutions not because they were free, but if they were properly preserved and operated, and offered information on heritage, art and culture. He would support a fee structure to generate income for the proper functioning of the institution and the growth of the economy. He agreed that there should be differentiation between fees charged to tourists and those charged to scholars. Heritage institutions contributed greatly to the economy and during the national summit DAC would be addressing cultural heritage economy.

The Chairperson asked how DAC would ensure that national days and commemorative events were attended by all South Africans.

Mr Ndima said that DAC tried to ensure that national days were attended by all population groups in South Africa, by developing culture programmes that appealed to different communities. DAC planned to conduct a research survey to assist with research on how national days could be made meaningful to all population groups.

Mr Mashatile said that Cabinet had agreed that April was Freedom month, and that Freedom Day celebrations would be at the Union building each year. This would allow for improved planning, and involvement of as many South Africans as possible on celebrations on 27 April. A military parade would emphasise that police and military were not about force but part of protecting freedom and nation building. Each year DAC tried to include activities that were diverse, and encouraged provinces to plan public activities where all citizens could witness the President’s speech.

He added that DAC would continue to drive all aspects of culture and the creative industry through the programme 'The Golden Economy', which would be discussed at the summit meeting. Culture and the creative industry, together with Tourism, were part of the six key job drivers in the New Growth Path defined by Cabinet. The results of the summit would be relayed to the Committee.

The Chairperson asked if DAC was informing municipalities of the proper procedure for name changes.

Mr Ndima replied that only one court case had been lost, in the former Louis Trichardt Municipality, due to inadequate consultation. Since 2008, DAC had undertaken road shows to ensure that people on the ground understood the standard processes and procedures around name changes. The national summit would attempt also to deepen this understanding with joint responsibility for the new South African identity.

The Chairperson asked for more information on International Relations activities.

Mr Ruphus Matiba, Director: International Relations, Department of Arts and Culture, replied that DAC would be making a comprehensive presentation on its international participation on 25 May 2011. International bilateral agreements involved exchange programmes, skills development and training and DAC also played an active role in construction and development of African countries who had endured war, through associated institutions of DAC offering skills development.

Dr Lotriet commented that it was laudable that R5 million had been allocated to bursaries for language. However nothing in the South African Languages Bill and the Language Practitioners Council Bill would provide jobs in the language industry.

Dr Jokweni agreed that it was absolutely necessary not only to provide skills but promote jobs. The South African Language Bill was being fine-tuned, and should be presented to Cabinet in April 2011.

Mr D Mavunda (ANC) asked how inherited structures were maintained and questioned the role of the Department of Public Works (DPW) in upgrading heritage sites and museums.

Ms Baduza replied that ideally DPW would drive the process of upgrading old buildings that were declared as heritage sites. DAC would budget for restoration costs and advise DPW of the institutions requiring assistance. The Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) named a threshold for institutions to perform their own repairs, but DAC experienced challenges in that, although it had the funding to undertake renovations, DPW’s backlogs prevented the work from being done. The performing arts institutions were also transferred from provincial to national government, but the processes for buildings had not been finalised. DAC had suggested to National Treasury that funding be increased, and that performing arts should be allowed to fund their own restorations provided they appointed experts in restoration of heritage buildings, through the normal tender process.

Mr Mavunda asked what the process was for privatisation of Noria Mabasa.

Ms Baduza said that, historically, there was an agreement that the structure built for Noria Mabasa would be maintained by DAC, so that she could perform her art and transfer skills to budding artists in the area. However municipal and local structures were not involved, and she conceded that this could have been done differently. Unfortunately, no reports or documents were submitted to DAC, because of lack of capacity, and this needed to be addressed carefully, since DAC had built an institution at the homestead of a private individual. A trust had now been set up to see to the running of this structure as a government structure, and a further report could be submitted on the final resolution.

Ms H Msweli (Alt)(IFP) asked what criteria were used for Programme 2 (Performing arts) to decide on the allocations for youth and women.

Mr Rennie replied that the overall budget for the programme was low, and the decision was based on affordability.

Mr P Ntshiqela (COPE) asked how monitoring and evaluation would guarantee no corruption.

Ms Baduza replied that the ideal would be a guarantee that a person would not be corrupt. However, DAC had appointed a Director for Risk Management, and the drawing of a Fraud and Corruption Plan should dissuade people from corrupt activities. This plan had been launched and popularized, and processes had been tightened. All requests for payment now had to be approved by the Programme Manager before DAC would authorise payment.

Mr Ntshiqela asked for clarity on the relationship between non-profit organizations and DAC.

Ms Baduza replied that non-profit organisations in some provinces had historically been funded by DAC to assist with fulfilling the mandate. However, they were not necessarily a declared or associated institution of DAC.

Ms Mushwana commented that she expected that South African flags should, 17 years after democracy, be more visible at all institutions.

Mr Ndima said that DAC aimed to have flags in all public institutions around the country. It had embarked on a project for schools but only R7.2 million had been allocated, which was very small.

Ms Mushwana commented that technological mobi-guides should not replace the work of people.

Dr Jokweni said that technology was not meant to replace human beings, but to enhance the quality of translation. However, he agreed that the situation should be controlled.

The Chairperson asked what efforts DAC had made to affect communities in a positive way, since many were not aware of community programmes. The Committee had recently seen that no money had been invested in two of the deepest rural communities.

Ms Baduza said that a funding model would assist with ensuring that the Investing in Culture programme funds, which were managed directly by DAC, would indeed create jobs and alleviate poverty in the rural areas. DAC acknowledged that it had until now been investing in crafts, not in culture. An internal task team was now examining how to turn the process around and develop a strategy for including all genres of culture, to better serve communities.

Dr Jokweni agreed that it was necessary to revisit the funding for the Investing in Culture programme. Some of the projects approved prior to the moratorium, which were not implicated for wrong-doing, had been assisted with disbursement of funds, whilst those that were implicated required verification for funding. Once all the problems had been resolved, DAC would address investment in rural communities afresh.

The Chairperson suggested that DAC should negotiate a Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Education to cater for artistic children, similar to that done by the Department of Sport for those showing sporting talent. She asked what plans had been implemented to monitor development of skills, internships and experience.

Mr Ndima replied that after DAC did a skills audit to identify skills gaps in the sector, it then developed a Heritage Development Strategy, whose final draft was being finalised. National Treasury had allocated funds for human resources, and DAC was currently in discussion with institutions to address scarce skills in object restoration and conservation technology, and identify students studying in those fields.

The Chairperson asked what DAC had done to advance communication and marketing of its programmes.

Ms Baduza replied that in the last financial year, DAC had engaged an external service provider to assist in developing a marketing and communications strategy, which was still to be finalised.

The Chairperson thanked DAC, noting that its accountability seemed to have improved. She urged a focus on monitoring and evaluation to ensure proper accounting for money, and also asked for more focus on people with disabilities, instilling traditional moral values and social cohesion. She asked that it link with the Departments of Sport, Education and Tourism to promote national symbols, and that it also promote local artists through the media. She would like to hear what impact international relations would have on strengthening the economy. She suggested that DAC should be very open about its achievements and challenges when it approached National Treasury for funding.

Mr Mashatile noted that the DAC would try to improve in many areas that had been discussed.

The meeting was adjourned.


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