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ARTS, CULTURE, SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
26 April 2002
DEPARTMENT BUDGET: BRIEFING BY DEPARTMENT
Documents handed out:
ARTS, CULTURE, SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
Department Budget Analysis by Parliamentary Research Unit
Budget Details - Powerpoint presentation by Department (awaited)
Department Budget: Vote 14
Department's Strategic Plan 2002 - 2005
Department website: http://www.dacst.gov.za
Department's Poverty Relief Programme
National Advisory Council on Innovation
Briefing on Indigenous Knowledge (see Appendix)
Chairperson: Ms Njobe (ANC)
The Director General gave a comprehensive briefing on the programmes and budget of the Department. There will be further meetings on the Department's strategic plan.
Points made by certain committee members were that the mission statement of the Department needed to go hand in hand with its objectives; that the Department appeared severely understaffed and therefore overloaded and that the functions of the Department should be clearly delineated to avoid unnecessary duplication in programme implementation.
Discussion also looked at the insufficient numbers of qualified science and technology personnel in government and the need for science and technology opportunities in rural areas.
With reference to the Durban Playhouse, the Committee was informed that a manager had been appointed to put necessary systems in place in order to avoid allegations of mismanagement. The Committee was assured that the Playhouse was, nonetheless, unaffected by the public controversy, and was going ahead with business as usual.
The Department plans to set up centres for Science and Technology in rural areas to help raise capacity there.
The Chair welcomed the team from the Department. She apologised for the late start, which was occasioned by a clash in meetings. She, however, pointed out that Members were well prepared for this session and that she looked forward to a fruitful interaction.
Briefing by Director General
Dr. Rob Adam said that the budget overview and the activities of the department could be viewed against the background of Minister Ngubane's remark in his media briefing on 14 February 2002 that it has been important for the Department to define its role in terms of how it harnesses the best from the past to inform a prosperous future in improving the quality of life and fostering excellence in industry and society.
Dr. Adam explained that the activities of the department are divided into five programmes:
- Programme 1: Administration
- Programme 2: Arts and Culture
- Programme 3: National Archives of South Africa
- Programme 4: National Language Services
- Programme 5: Science, Technology and Meta-information.
Dr. Adam pointed out that these activities are complemented by a number of initiatives.
Programme 1: Administration
Dr. Adam said that spending on administration increases by an average of 7,8% over the medium term, which should be viewed in comparison with an increase of 10,3% between 1998/99 and 2001/02. He explained that the decrease in spending reflects the stabilising of the Department's corporate services and that the bulk of spending on administration goes towards personnel expenditure at approximately 66%.
Programme 2: Arts and Culture
Dr. Adam noted that the Arts and Culture Budget comprises 38,6% of the Budget over the medium term. The 2001 Budget allocations have been revised upwards by R145, 2 million for 2003/04.
Programme 3: National Archives of South Africa
The South African's national archives' annual increases of 7,5% over the 1998/99 to 2001/02, the expenditure is moderated over the medium term. He added that at least 70% of the funds required for this programme go towards personnel expenditure.
Programme 4: National Language Services
An average growth of the National Language Service from 1998/99 to 2001/02 was 16,4% compared to 26,1% over the medium term. Dr Adam explained that growth over the medium term is mainly the result of expanded translating and editing services and the increased allocation to the Pan South Africa Languages Board (PANSALB).
Programme 5: Science, Technology and Meta-information
Dr. Adam pointed out that the Science and Technology branch strives toward introducing measures that employ science and technology toward growth and development in a sustainable manner and in areas that matter most to all South Africans.
The Budget allocation for this programme increased by R27, 7 million in 2002/03 and R104 million in 2003/04. Dr. Adam explained that these increases were due mainly to additional allocations for the National Biotechnology Strategy. Over the medium term, growth in core funding to Science Councils reporting to the Department will increase at an annual rate of 5,5% noting that growth in competitive funding is more rapid, at almost 13% per annum.
Dr. Adam noted that the Department like other government departments must play an integral role in fighting HIV/AIDS and that in order to meet this objective, the Department focused on awareness and education. He added that the Department was also involved in policy formulation and participated in many campaigns. The Department has committed R20, 000 for awareness and education on the HIV/AIDS pandemic and that approximately R10 million had been set aside for implementing the Department's 2000/01 commitments. He added that another R250, 000 had been set aside for the implementation of the Department's employee assistance programme.
Dr. Adam reported that with the provision of a motivation and an operational plan for its activities, funds were always made available for the Department's programmes such as workplace programmes. He added that the Department has also given financial support to the Medical Research Council for vaccine development.
Ms Baloyi (ANC) remarked that it would be helpful if the vision and mission statement of the Department were to go hand in hand with its objectives. This she said would help gauge the achievements made by the department so far.
Dr. Adam replied that the objectives of the Department are clearly set out in the comprehensive strategic plan handed out earlier. He added that he would invite some of his staff to talk about what achievements the Department had recorded in this area.
Ms Van Wyk (UDM) pointed out that the Committee's interaction with the Department was essential. She expressed her satisfaction with the fact that the Department had acknowledged that its vision and mission statement is wanting and that these need to be looked at again.
She said that the Department's vision and mission statement need to be more concrete and focused. She said that since all fields of human endeavour are rooted in culture, the Department's objectives in this regard are essential and that the same must be practical.
Ms Van Wyk expressed the view that the Department's objective is the assessment of the country's heritage, which is vast, and that it was necessary that it be developed and for the people to be sensitised on important cultural issues.
She noted that the Department is severely understaffed and therefore seems to be 4overloaded. She suggested that the functions of the Department should be clearly delineated to avoid unnecessary duplication in programme implementation.
Finally she asked where in the budget was there provision for capacity building, especially in the area of performing arts and audience development.
Dr. Adam replied that the Department has been working with the Department of Labour on the question of skills development in this area. He said that there is a bursary facility with the National research Foundation for capacity building in this regard.
Ms Mpaka (ANC) asked if the Department had an integrated approach with the Department of Tourism especially in the field of artefacts.
Dr. Adam replied in the affirmative and pointed out that the Department had partnership programmes with the Department of Tourism in the area of promotion and management of Arts Sites resources.
Ms Mbombo (ANC) said that there was an urgent need for policy formulation to target the ordinary person as the ultimate beneficiary. She asked how Arts and Culture was making welfare spin-offs for the rural people.
Dr. Adam replied that the Department was running various projects through which the community in conjunction with the provincial government held a considerable stake.
Ms Mbombo wanted to know whether the Department consulted the provinces in the implementation of its programmes.
Dr. Adam explained that one of the guiding principles in the Department's policy implementation was to ensure that projects are undertaken in conjunction with the provincial governments. He added that the Department had an evaluating structure from which progress was measured.
Ms Mbombo (ANC) asked if there were any community initiatives in the Department's programmes to which Dr. Adam replied in the affirmative. He assured the Committee that allocation of resources have been equitable and well spread out.
Ms Mbombo wanted to know how communities were accessing funds for the poverty alleviation programmes.
Dr. Adam said that his Department partners with the Department of Social Development, which identifies suitable community programmes for the Department to undertake that will benefit the communities involved. He added that the Department engages agencies to bring in modern technology, which helps immensely in bringing capacity to community programmes.
Ms Mpaka (ANC) asked for an update on the Durban playhouse saga.
Dr. Adam replied that the Minister had clarified the position on this issue. He informed the Committee that a manager had been appointed to put necessary systems in place in order to avoid such scandalous allegations. He assured the Committee that the Playhouse was, nonetheless, unaffected by the public controversy since it was "all business as usual".
Ms Mbombo (ANC) said that she had noted the presentation on black empowerment programmes, which was most welcome. She asked if the Department had any plans to categorise cultural industries.
Ms Mbombo referred to Dr. Adams assertion on the quality of the artefacts to be displayed and asked what kind of quality one had in mind here considering products from the deep rural out-posts are made by struggling artists.
Dr. Adam said that each program was evaluated on its objectives but noted that the overriding policy of poverty alleviation was always an important consideration.
Ms Mbombo wanted to know what impact, if at all, science and technology had on the people in deep rural settings. She lamented that most of these innovations tend to concentrate in big cities.
Dr. Adam pointed out that there were clear limitations on infrastructure in the rural areas. This notwithstanding, he revealed that the Department was working on a plan to set up centres of science and technology in rural areas. He added that the Department would seek to partner with the Department of Education in this venture.
Ms Mbombo referred to the science summit the Department said it was organising and asked what cost implication this event carried.
Dr. Adam noted that there was considerable excitement about the summit the Department is to host. The Minister has in the recent past taken a high profile stand on the summit's central theme of environmental protection. He explained that the department has made plans for a provisional budget of 1.8 million and that it was looking for partners to co-fund the event.
Ms Mbombo (ANC) asked whether provinces received any money allocation from Department to which Dr. Adam replied in the negative. He clarified that the Department did not make any transfer payments to the provinces except for a limited area of poverty alleviation.
Mr. Oppenheim asked whether the Department in its endeavour to nurture innovation had programmes in store for primary school institutions.
Dr. Adam replied that his Department was not involved in the day-to-day Arts education programmes in schools but that they partner with the Department of Education in the crucial area of curriculum development. He added that at times his Department picks on selected programmes but that this was done on a very limited basis.
Mr. Gore (DP) wanted to know the Department's position on the exodus of qualified scientists from the Department in particular and in the entire government in general.
Dr. Adam said that in his view the main reason for the shortage of scientists in government was that there were not enough people coming through the system to replace the ageing ones. He attributed this unhappy situation to the negative attitudes towards Maths and Science in tertiary institutions and that those who manage to come through the system take on lucrative career options elsewhere. Dr. Adam clarified that this phenomenon was not peculiar to South Africa alone but that, indeed, development countries were badly afflicted by this irksome malady.
Ms Van Wyk (UDM) wanted clarification on the leadership of the National Department in the running of libraries in rural areas.
Dr. Adam said that at the moment this issue was still under investigation. The Department would be working intensely to map the relevant competencies in this area.
The Chair asked whether there were any targets for the number of museums the Department plans to develop throughout the country.
Dr. Adam explained that the Department was trying to develop a framework on museum development not only in government but also in the private sector. He emphasised that this is a pressing need at the moment.
The Chair wanted to know how the Department works to ensure that people in the deep rural outposts accessed the facility of information technology.
Dr. Adam said that the Department works in conjunction with Universities to develop relevant terminologies for various communities.
Ms Van Wyk (UDM) suggested that another date be set for a meeting to review the Department's strategic plan which she said was very comprehensive.
Dr. Adam said that the Department had taken note of the Committee's desire to interface with
the Department's strategic plan in another forum. He said that the Department would liase with the parliamentary research unit to work on a mutually acceptable date
The Chair agreed that the interaction had created spin-offs for a number of meetings that had become necessary to clarify certain outstanding issues. She promised to look into the issue of programming for these meetings. She then closed the meeting after thanking the Department for what she termed 'a comprehensive in-put on the budget'.
AppendixAt the meeting with DACST Officials on the 12 March, the Portfolio Committee requested a briefing on international agreements and issues that impact the current development of South African legislation in respect of indigenous knowledge.
World Intellectual Property Organisation
The World Intellectual Property Organisation has an international committee working on traditional knowledge, folklore and artistic expressions. This committee meets twice a year in June and December to explore issues relating to indigenous knowledge and intellectual property. The term traditional knowledge is considered by WIPO to be a broader concept than indigenous knowledge. In many cases the intellectual property debate is focussed on the subset of indigenous knowledge that could have significant economic value to traditional communities or parts of communities such as traditional healers.
The issues raised by the World Intellectual Property Organisation initiative are significant for the following reasons:
· Developing countries have either very low or non-existent securement of global intellectual property rights (patents and copyright) and it is therefore questionable whether a global indigenous knowledge "intellectual property system" could achieve wide usage and effective coverage if developing countries already struggle to use existing systems.
· Secondly, by taking the primary policy debate through WIPO, countries may be distracted from taking fairly obvious legislative initiatives in their own country settings.
· By focussing on indigenous knowledge protection as a parallel intellectual property process, creative alternatives that are lower cost and less subject to legal process (which is expensive to all parties) may not be developed.
Convention on Biological Diversity
Separate to the World Intellectual Property process on indigenous knowledge, the Convention on Biological Diversity makes specific reference to the indigenous knowledge rights related to plants. The detailed outcomes related to the CBD and its protocols are still under negotiation. As this is the primary domain that relates to some of the most important and potentially valuable indigenous property rights, it was considered important to track the outcomes of the most recent negotiations which took place in April this year. These outcomes have not yet been fully evaluated but South Africa would seek to ensure that
there is the broadest application of indigenous knowledge rights provided that use these rights can be managed efficiently with the needs of indigenous communities uppermost in respect of this requirement.
A number of countries already have legislation and management protocols in place relating to indigenous knowledge, cultural artefacts, folklore and artistic expressions and related domains. Some of these "early adopter" countries have found significant unintended consequences of adopting legislation without careful thought. South Africa is making use of its bilateral relationships, for instance with New Zealand, and it's multilateral relationships, with the OECD, the EU and SADC to ensure that the final form of the legislation is of such a nature that the unintended consequences already observed elsewhere will not be replicated in South Africa.
Status of draft legislation
It has been agreed that the draft legislation will be presented to the Portfolio Committee following its initial review by the Director General and the Minister and Deputy Minister. This process is likely to happen during the course of May and therefore the Portfolio committee may well be able to view the draft legislation in late May or early June.
Briefing on Indigenous Knowledge requested by the Portfolio Committee on Arts, Culture, Language, Science and Technology
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