The Committee considered and adopted (with amendments) its Report on Budget Vote 14. Members briefly discussed what recommendation should be made regarding the Pan South African Language Board. The Chairperson argued that the funding to the Pan South African Language Board should be cut as it had failed and had no mandate. Another Member differed with this view and countered that it was not the role of Parliament to collapse bodies but rather to provide guidance and leadership.
It was agreed that the recommendation had to be rephrased so as to state that the budget of the entity should be decreased until such time that it got its house in order.
Committee Report on Department of Arts and Culture 2012 budget
The Chairperson proceeded to take the Committee through the Report page by page.
Mr P Ntshiqela (ANC) referred to the Department of Arts and Culture’s expenditure of R46.7m on consultants as mentioned in the Report and said that the figure was way too high.
The Committee agreed that the issue of consultants needed to be addressed.
Mr J Thibedi (ANC) referred to paragraph 3.1.4 of the Report and asked what was meant by, “money was being spent outside the Department”.
The Chairperson replied that it referred to entities. She suggested that the paragraph be amended to state that money spent outside of the Department was being spent on entities.
Ms J Tsabalala (ANC) referred to the recommendation made by the Committee on the issue of the Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB).
The Chairperson pointed out that the Committee had already agreed that the funding to PanSALB should be cut as it had no mandate.
Mr M Booi (ANC) said that the role of Parliament was to assist institutions. Parliament should assist PanSALB in meeting its mandate. Parliament could not cut the funding allocated to PanSALB.
The Chairperson responded that the Board of PanSALB had failed and had no mandate. She suggested that perhaps it should be placed under administration. The Committee had asked the Minister to intervene but to date no action had been taken.
Mr Booi noted that it was not the role of Parliament to collapse bodies but rather to provide guidance and leadership. The Report stated that the mandate of PanSALB should be collapsed. The Committee could not state that PanSALB should be collapsed.
The Chairperson stated that the Committee had tried everything. The Speaker of the House had even been involved.
Mr Thibedi noted that the problem lied within PanSALB and an intervention was needed. The problem at hand was the way in which the PanSALB issue was captured in the recommendations. The formulation in the recommendations needed to reflect the intention. The recommendation should perhaps state that PanSALB’s budget should be decreased until such time that the organisation got its house in order. A corrective measure should also be reflected in the formulation.
The Chairperson stated that even the Chief Financial Officer and the Chief Executive Officer did not wish to account for their actions. She had spoken to the Chairperson of PanSALB’s Board and even he had a corruption case lodged against him. The dire state of affairs at PanSALB had been going on for 2 years. As time went by PanSALB was getting more in debt. PanSALB spent all its funds on court cases.
The Committee was in agreement that a proper formulation would be included under the recommendations regarding the PanSALB issue.
Mr N Van de Berg (DA) noted that PanSALB even asked for an increase in funding notwithstanding the fact that it could not spend its existing funding properly. Why should PanSALB get more funding? If PanSALB could not fulfil its mandate how could its funding be increased. Parliament after all had to see to it that taxpayers’ funds had to be spent properly. PanSALB staff received salaries for doing no work. PanSALB had to fulfil its mandate before the possibility of increasing its funding could be considered.
The Chairperson wished to close the matter.
Ms Tshabalala wished it to be noted that the reason for her bringing up the PanSALB issue as reflected in the recommendations of the Report was not to move away from the decision taken by the Committee ie that the Minister should decrease the budget of PanSALB as it was not fulfilling its mandate.
She stated that her intention was to highlight the fact that Parliament should assist institutions like PanSALB.
The Chairperson replied that PanSALB received its funding from the Minister and hence reported to the Minister. She noted that there were constitutional issues at play regarding the accountability of PanSALB.
Mr Van de Berg said that the Committee needed to keep watch over the Performing Arts Programme. The South African Youth Choir and the South African Ballet Organisation no longer received funding.
The Chairperson agreed that the issue raised by Mr Van de Berg would be looked at and a recommendation would be made at a later time.
The Report was adopted as amended.
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