Department of Arts and Culture 2012 Strategic Plan, in presence of Deputy Minister

NCOP Education and Technology, Sports, Arts and Culture

30 May 2012
Chairperson: Ms DZ Rantho (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Department of Arts and Culture (DAC), in the presence of the Deputy Minister, outlined its strategic plan and budget vote for the 2012/13 financial year. The Department aimed to create 150 000 jobs over the next five years within the sector, contributing significantly to the country’s gross domestic product and increasing investments in arts and culture from international and business stakeholders. Its successes would depend largely on its effectiveness at ensuring good governance, the development of human capital, sustaining an effective infrastructure, as well as promoting partnerships and funding. This Department had declared 2012 to be the ‘Year of Heritage’ and would therefore be unfolding a range of heritage related projects. The total budget allocation for the 2012/13 financial year was R2.686 billion, an increase of 8.8% from the previous year. The specific additions to the budget, and cuts across some programmes were detailed. It was noted that 78% of the budget was transferred to outside entities, and the most significant spending within the Department itself was taken up by goods and services, which accounted for 68% of internal spending. The Department aimed to maintain its unqualified audit status, achieve at least 98% spending, keep the vacancy rate below 10% and achieve 50% female representation at senior management levels.

The Department outlined the objectives and outputs of each programme. Specific highlights were named as the National Social Cohesion Summit in July, and the aim, in conjunction with the Department of Basic Education, to place 700 arts professionals and facilitators in schools, thus hoping to have 500 000 people access arts, culture and heritage facilities. There were also programmes targeted at vulnerable groups such as women, children and people living with disabilities. The National Language Service Programme provided bursaries to undergraduate and postgraduate students. The Cultural industries’ sector policy would be developed by the Cultural Development Programme and it also would identify programmes that could be funded through the Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) programme via National Treasury. The Heritage Promotion Programme aimed to promote the country’s cultural and heraldic heritage, through a newly drawn up national database, and also would award bursaries to encourage youth into heritage related professions. The National Archives and Library Services Programme hoped to code a number of archival records and increase the understanding and use of archival and library services, offer outreach programmes and promote oral history conferences.

Members asked whether the 10% vacancy rate had improved and what measures were being taken towards the 50% female representation, as this did not appear to have improved in recent years. They asked how graduates benefited from the bursary schemes and whether they would be employed by the DAC. Members wanted more information on the creation of jobs, and asked if the DAC could give an indication of its percentage contribution to the gross domestic product. Members questioned the absence of any mention of the Languages Bill in the Annual Performance Plan, also questioned what budget was given to Northern Cape and North West, and noted an apparent lack of interest in libraries and heritage programmes in North West. They also commented on the small amount allocated to the Northern Cape Province for their theatres and Heritage Programmes. A COPE Member wondered, in the light of the recent controversy about a painting in the Goodman Gallery, whether the DAC exercised any preliminary adjudication procedures on paintings and exhibitions. There was a concern that for the past few years the San and Khoi communities were being sidelined, with insufficient attention given to protection of their language and culture. Members also asked for clarification on the duties and responsibilities of the Pan South African Language Board, and the steps being taken by the Ministry and Department.

Meeting report

Department of Arts and Culture 2012/13 strategic plan & budget vote briefing
Ms Veliswa Baduza, Chief Operating Officer, Department of Arts and Culture, said that over the next five years the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC or the Department) hoped to create 150 000 jobs. This Department saw itself as creators of jobs, not seekers of jobs. This newly revised vision and mission would contribute to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country, and, through social cohesion and nation building, increase the level of national pride. The Department would be a major contributor to the economic development and social cohesion of the country by the year 2016. The Department had declared the year 2012 as the ‘Year of Heritage’ and would therefore also be unfolding a whole range of heritage related projects.

Ms Baduza said that in 2011 the DAC had consulted with its stakeholders and had held a summit, which came up with a new strategy:  “Mzansi’s Golden Economy” (MGE). In order to execute that mandate, four pillars of focus were identified. These were the development, preservation and promotion of Arts and Culture, heritage promotion and preservation, access to information and promotion of linguistic diversity. The DAC also aimed to also strengthen its governance, contribution to infrastructure development, as well as partnerships and funding, to ensure that the sector remained sustainable.

Ms Baduza then listed the six strategic outcome-oriented goals. These included the four pillars she had already mentioned. In addition, the DAC aimed to deepen democracy and meet constitutional imperatives, and strengthen governance and accountability.

Six programmes would help realise the objectives which she proceeded to outline, and she dealt with them in more detail later in the presentation. Ms Baduza summarised that the Department had received a total amount of R2.686 billion from the National Treasury (an increase of 8.8% on the budget of R2.537 billion in the previous financial year). The 2012/13 budget included additions for the improvement in the Department’s conditions of service that amounted to R3.67 million, as well as R12.8 million for the improvements in the conditions of public entities’ conditions, R50 million for the Mzansi Gold Economy programme, and R10 million for the Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB). There were some cuts across all the programmes, totalling R16.4 million. Of the R2.686 billion, an amount of R1.3 billion was deemed as ring-fenced, and had to be used solely for the purposes stated.

Ms Baduza noted that 78% of the Department’s budget was spent externally. The largest portion went to capital works, public entities and community libraries. In the 2012/13 financial year, most of the funds would be spent on agencies and accounts (35%), conditional grants (21%), capital works projects (18%), and goods and services (15%). The Department’s internal spending was 68% on goods and services, 31% on compensation of employees and 1% was allocated for capital assets. Expenditure outside the Department was accounted for by splits between agencies and accounts (45%) and conditional grants (27%),whilst and 23% was allocated to capital works. Household expenditure made up 4%, while Non-Profit Organisations made up 1%.

Ms Baduza then elaborated on the strategic objectives and outputs of the Department.

Programme 1: Administration aimed to provide leadership to the Department and high standards of corporate governance, as well as maintain unqualified audit reports. It hoped to remain at the approved vacancy rate, below 10%. At the moment, the DAC had a vacancy rate of 9.4%. It also hoped to have 50% female employment at senior management service (SMS) level. Increased media awareness would be promoted through media briefings and interviews. The DAC would also be hosting a National Social Cohesion Summit in July. In order to realise these objectives and outputs, the programme had been allocated R209.687 million.

Programme 2: Performing Arts Institution and Playhouses aimed at increasing access to culture and heritage programmes. Programmes would be targeted at vulnerable groups such as women, children and disabled persons. DAC had set aside an amount of R639.966 million. The bulk of that budget of the programme was allocated to Playhouses.

Programme 3: National Language Service, focused on the issues of promotion and development of languages as well as translation and editing services for the Government departments. The DAC had a bursary scheme, which was an attempt to encourage graduate and undergraduate students to take up careers in languages. In order to achieve that, the DAC had allocated R111 million, the bulk of which was transferred to the PanSALB.

Programme 4: Cultural Development and International Relations aimed to develop, approve and implement cultural industries’ sector briefs, specifically for craft, music, design, film and visual arts and cultural observatory. This should assist the conducting of research and innovation, to inform policies and strategies for a sustainable enabling environment, and to improve the regulatory framework. On the international front, DAC wanted to ensure that it had programmes that were funded through the Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) programme, via National Treasury. An amount of R180.4 million would be utilised for this programme, and a huge allocation was set aside for the MGE programme, as mentioned earlier.

Programme 5:  Leadership and Management of Heritage, aimed to preserve, protect and promote the country’s cultural and heraldic heritage. The DAC would do this through the commemoration and celebration of historic and national days, as well as by promotion of national symbols and geographical names. It also awarded bursaries to the youth to encourage them into the heritage professional sector. R744.243 million was allocated for the programme. She noted the list of various heritage institutions in each province and the budget allocated to them (see attached presentation for details).

Programme 6: National Archives and Library Services, aimed to administer legislation and collect, manage and make archival records. The Department had identified, inventoried and data-coded archival records. It was busy with the Community Libraries Bill.

Ms B Mncube (ANC, Gauteng) noted that, in the plans, the DAC had mentioned a vacancy rate of below 10%, and had also set out its aim of having 50% female representation. Only three women representatives were present at the meeting, and this had been in the case in 2009. She asked if there had been improvements in gender representivity.

The Chairperson asked about the timeframes for filling the posts.

Mr Conrad Greve, Chief Director: Human Resource Management, DAC, noted that the DAC was aware of the national targets for the filling of vacancies, and ensuring good gender representivity. Currently, the DAC had a vacancy rate of 9.5%, and was hoping to reduce this to between 5% and 10%. It was confident that the Department could move down from its current rate. In 2010 the Department had hoped that National Treasury would give funding to fill additional vacancies, but those funds were not forthcoming, and the unfunded posts were abolished. The DAC had now come up with a new Macro structure, which it was currently implementing, and hoped to have established its micro-structure by the end of the quarter. It had also come up with a vacancy management plan. It intended to advertise and fill positions by the end of the third quarter, or the end of December. It furthermore planned to ensure that vacant positions did not remain vacant for a long period of time, and, if they could not be filled within one month, consideration would be given to doing away with that post or converting it to something else.

Ms Mncube asked who was responsible for the public awareness on Arts and Culture as well as Heritage. During the imbizo, a non-organised structure was identified by the people.

Ms Mncube asked how many people had benefited from bursaries, and at what stage of their studies were the bursary holders. She also enquired where they would they be placed once their studies were complete.

Mr Vusi Ndima, Chief Director, DAC, said that in 2011/12 the DAC gave 31 bursaries, and in 2012/13, 75 bursaries were given out. These were both in the undergraduate and postgraduate fields. The Department gave the opportunity for internships, although this must be distinguished from a promise of an actual full-time job. The internships were intended to give interns the chance to sharpen their skills and gain work experience.

Ms M Moshodi (ANC, Free State) asked in which part of the sector were the 150 000 jobs mentioned under Programme 1 created, and how they were divided between rural and urban areas.

Dr Sakiwo Tyiso, Chief Director: Coordination and MonitoringDAC,  said that the 150 000 jobs mentioned was a projection for the next five years, and was not supposed to suggest that the DAC had created that many jobs already. The initiatives that would result in those jobs would be, for example, the MGE strategy and the Capital Works programme.

Ms Moshodi asked how much the DAC contributed to the Gross Domestic Product of the country, in terms of percentages.

Dr Tyiso said that the DAC had not yet substantially quantified that, in order to be able to express it as a percentage as yet.

Ms Moshodi asked how the Annual Performance Plan addressed the issue of the South African Language Bill.

Dr Tyiso noted the point, and said that the lack of a mention of this Bill would be corrected and there would be a specific reference to it in the revised Plan.

Mr S Plaatjie (COPE, North West) said that he had observed very little mention, if any at all, of North West, in most of the DAC’s heritage programmes, He asked what interest the DAC had in this province, and whether Mabana was a national or provincial responsibility.

Mr Ndima said that the DAC conceded that when it came to projects of infrastructure in the North West, Mpumalanga and Limpopo, these provinces were definitely lagging behind.

Mr Plaatjie asked whether the DAC did any preliminary adjudication of artworks submitted into galleries. He asked this in light of the recent controversial painting exhibited at the Goodman Gallery, which caused him to wonder if the Department had any way of ensuring that artists’ freedom of expression did not infringe on individuals’ dignity.

Ms Baduza said that the issue of preliminary adjudication of artworks raised by Mr Plaatjie was difficult to answer, because galleries such as the Goodman Gallery were private entities and so she would imagine that they had their own structures of deciding what was exhibited, and when.

Mr Plaatjie said that he was not happy with this response on preliminary adjudication of artworks. He did not understand the differentiation between private and public within the art sector. He pointed out that in other sectors, such as education and health, even schools labelled as “private schools” had to follow national benchmarks, and they were not completely free institutions. He wondered if the Department could not ensure that even private galleries were accountable to the DAC.

Mr Joe Phaahla, Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture, said that the Department of Arts and Culture was in a different position to the Departments of Education and Health, since in both of these sectors, everyone operating in the sector was obliged to maintain the minimum basic standards, due to the governing legislation. There were frameworks that required qualifications according to the legislation. There was no such statutory requirement in the Arts sector or professions. Anyone could declare himself an artist, poet and singer, so the emphasis really lay on public responsibility and self-regulation. If the Department were to push for laws that required anyone to be certified as an artist, this could potentially be found to be unconstitutional.

Mr W Faber (DA, Northern Cape) acknowledged the DAC’s plans to upgrade the Northern Cape’s Playhouses within one of its programmes but said that the budget showed no allocation to the province. He called for clarity.

Mr Faber wanted to know what the Department was doing about the language and culture of the San people. Every year, this issue was brought up, but the Department was not seemingly doing anything to ensure that the San culture was maintained, and they tended simply to migrate to the townships in Kimberley.

The Chairperson agreed that the San people, and said that they definitely needed special attention from the Department.

Mr Ndima said that the DAC was currently doing a baseline study on the Khoi and San community heritage projects. It had been a challenge to work with the Khoi and San communities, because of the diversity, but there had been a breakthrough with the recent establishment of the Khoi Council, which has been helpful in moving forward.

Mr Faber asked why the Northern Cape and North West province were allocated such a small amount in the budget.

The Chairperson asked for clarity on Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB) and its duties and responsibilities as a body.

Ms Baduza noted that the DAC had been looking at how this body was delivering on its mandate. The Department would look at the governance of this body, and the Minister would be taking interventions on the problematic issues within this body.

The Chairperson noted that the so-called “community” libraries were often located in urban spaces or the CBD, and although there were many children wanting to make use of the facilities, they were simply unable to access them because they lived in, or went to school in rural areas or townships. She felt that the DAC really needed to go back to the people and touch base with them at ground level.

Mr Plaatjie wanted to know the state of library projects that were reported in the 2010, 2011 and 2012 Strategic Plans, especially in the North West.

Mr Plaatjie asked if the DAC had any plans to move towards e-libraries or e-books, in light of the fact that South Africa was part of the technological era.

Mr Puleng Kekana, Head: Meta-Information, DAC,  responded by firstly giving some contextual information on the management and implementation of the library grant for library projects. Although the provinces were the main role players when it came to infrastructure implementation, the Department did provide oversight. The provinces would then entrust municipalities to manage the facilities. In the North West, the province would transfer funds to municipality over the years, and for various reasons those projects were not completed on time within the municipality. However, the latest development was that the province had elected a strong Project Management team in order to fast track those library projects. A number of libraries had been completed. The various challenges in the provinces also needed to be kept in mind, such as problems with unreliable contractors. The Department was encouraging other provinces to follow North West province’s lead and elect a Project Management team for better implementation.

In regard to questions about e-facilities, Mr Kekana noted that the DAC was working closely with the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) to provide public internet access, and that this was currently in place in libraries in the North West, Limpopo and Mpumalanga. The DAC was also trying to make sure that there were libraries in each and every community.

The Chairperson asked the Department to explain why the community art centres in Eastern Cape, particularly the centre in Motherwell, Port Elizabeth, were closed or had no activities scheduled, even though the DAC had assured the committee that renovations had been done on community art centres. This led her to ask how many of the centres had been renovated.

Mr Ndima said that some projects had been completed in the present year, such as the Steve Biko Heritage Centre and the Freedom Park. Other projects that had only just begun, such as the Saartjie Baartman project, where the rollout date was estimated as 2014.

Ms Baduza said that the DAC would do more research on the community art centres in the Eastern Cape, and submit a response in writing. There was knowledge that these art centres were being used for alternate purposes such as weddings and funerals. The Department would look into remedying this problem.

Ms Mncube asked how far the Department was with the documentation of oral history.

Mr Ndima answered that the documentation of oral history was an annual problem.

Ms Mncube noted that the media, in the last week, had carried stories about the Windybrow Theatre which was in the news for the wrong reasons, and asked what the Department would do to address this.

Ms Baduza said that she would follow up on Windybrow Theatre situation.

Ms Mncube asked whether the Department had a document outlining the MGE strategy in detail. If there was such a document, the Committee had not received it. She asked if the DAC had integrated the “Investing in Culture” programme somewhere else, after this programme had been brought to an end.

Ms Baduza responded that the Department had phased out the ‘Investing in Culture’ programme and introduced the MGE strategy. The DAC’s Marketing and Communication officials would be developing a booklet that summarised the MGE strategy, as requested by Ms Mncube.

The Chairperson asked Mr Phaahla to elaborate more on the PanSALB issues, and to set out the Department’s progress on the investigation.

Mr Phaahla said that the investigation into the governance issues at PanSALB confirmed that there were areas of concern. PanSALB was found not to be in a position to perform a number of duties forming part of the mandate and statutory function. There were other problems around the focus on the core mandate. The body had been given a chance to respond to these issues, and the subsequent problems.

The Chairperson thanked the Department and said the Committee and provincial legislatures looked forward to working with it.

The meeting was adjourned.


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