National Heritage Council turnaround strategy, SA Traditional Music Achievement Awards briefing
Arts and Culture
13 June 2012
Chairperson: Ms T Sunduza (ANC)
The National Heritage Council (NHC) returned to the Committee to give a briefing on its turnaround strategy, following concerns by the Committee in the last year about its performance. Members were appreciative of a full and frank presentation, which outlined governance issues, gave an overview of the financial results over the past two financial years, and detailed the problems that were highlighted during the audit and what had been done to address them. Many of the past challenges were related to financial issues. There were various supply chain management and bidding and tender irregularities. Procurement policies were not aligned to National Treasury regulations and practice notes, and there was inadequate reporting to National Treasury on bids exceeding determined thresholds. There were also problems with contracting on funded projects, inexperience in dealing with unsolicited bids; inexperience with dealing with sole service providers and management of partnerships. Staff were not sufficiently trained or competent, in particular, about supply chain. There were also problems with the strategic plans, because the objectives did not meet the National Treasury prescripts, and targets were not always measurable, and did not specify timeframes. Information included in the annual report was not adequately reviewed prior to submission for audit. The Auditor-General made a finding that the Accounting Authority did not review financial and performance information sufficiently. However, it was explained that during the 2009/10 financial year, the Council, which was the Accounting Authority, had been in existence for only four months before being dismissed by the Minister. In the second quarter of 2011/12, the Chief Executive Officer was appointed as interim accounting authority but there were problems with the exercise of powers and conflicts of interest. A new Council was appointed only in September 2011. In addition, the baseline budget from the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) had been cut by R5 million, despite the growing public interest and demand for heritage information, and the NHC was simply not able to increase its capacity to do the necessary research. It was noted that it also had severe problems in sourcing and hiring competent staff. There was lack of cohesion with the programmes of the DAC.
Members were generally appreciative of the presentation, which contained a great deal of relevant detail, but questioned what support was given to artists and their families, whether heritage was sufficiently promoted in schools, how the NHC attended to education and public awareness. Members asked whether sufficient attention was paid to the role of the sangomas, noted that better understanding was needed of this calling, and stressed that the organogram of the National Heritage Council was needed to illustrate the turnaround strategy. Members asked about audit concerns, and the training being given to financial staff, and questioned why insufficiently-skilled staff had been hired. They also enquired about the racial composition of the NHC itself and its efforts to promote wider participation of all races in heritage events. Further updates were sought on the Sol T Plaatjie project, the books produced on intellectuals, and the need to promote heritage uniformly. The NHC also detailed some of the suggestions in relation to having an overarching heritage body and better coordination of the work of museums.
The South African Traditional Music Achievement Awards (SATMA) presentation covered the objectives of the SATMA awards, the background to its establishment, stakeholders, strategic objectives, and how the awards were run and judged. The highlights over the last six years, and some of the challenges, were also described. The challenges included insufficient funding for the Awards, resulting in lack of growth, and challenges in retaining talent because of insufficient funding. It was pointed out that the SATMA was started in KwaZulu Natal and were unfortunately viewed as regional or provincial, and had not received sufficient publicity through the DAC, although there were now stringent efforts to move the awards into all provinces. Members asked questions about the support given by the President, the support given to artists and their families, the origins and eventual roll out to other provinces of the South African Traditional Music Achievement Awards. Members stressed that heritage needed to be taken to the communities in all provinces.
National Heritage Council : Turnaround Strategy
The Chairperson reminded Members that the National Heritage Council (NHC) had reported to the Committee in the previous year, and the Committee had asked it to return to brief Members of its turnaround strategy. Members had been unhappy with some issues, including the organogram and Human Resources (HR) matters. Although the Committee had asked for another briefing within six months, the Committee’s other commitments had prevented this.
Advocate Sonwabile Mancotywa, Chief Executive Officer, National Heritage Council, said that the National Heritage Council had been asked to address certain issues highlighted in the 2010/11 Audit Report.
He gave an overview of the NHC mandate, vision and mission, and reminded Members of the strategic objectives for 2011/2012 (see attached presentation for details). He tabled the problem statement on the General Audit Challenges, and described the turn around strategy employed by Management, as well as detailing some general governance issues. The main challenges were all reflected in the audit report. Supply chain management-related challenges, which were diagnosed by management, had included the fact that the NHC’s procurement policy was not aligned with National Treasury imperatives. There had been inadequate reporting to National Treasury on bids exceeding determined thresholds. There were also problems with the contracts for funded projects. The NHC had inexperience in dealing with unsolicited bids, and the presentations at the Bid Adjudication Committee were found to be introducing a new requirement, which was contrary to National Treasury Regulations and applicable Practice Notes. This made the process unfairly prejudicial to those who did not get short listed. Further to this, management had inexperience with dealing with sole service providers, insufficient experience in management of partnerships, and insufficient training on procurement and supply chain activities.
Adv Mancotywa also said that the NHC had some challenges around predetermined objectives, since these had not met the SMART principles set out by National Treasury. Not all of the planned and reported targets were measurable, could not identify the required performance, nor did they specify the time period or deadline for delivery. In addition, the information included in the annual report was not adequately reviewed prior to submission for audit.
The Auditor General had made a finding that the Accounting Authority did not adequately review financial and performance information. This was attributed in part to the absence of the Council / Accounting Authority and sub-committees, which played a vital oversight role in the implementation of programmes, during the 2009/10 financial year. Although an Accounting Authority was appointed in 2010/11, this was for a short term of four months. There was then again a gap in appointment until the second quarter of 2011/2012. The appointment of an interim Accounting Authority came with limitations, and this person could not exercise certain duties in a way that would avoid a conflict of interest. For this reason, the interim Accounting Authority could not verify the financial and performance information reports prior to their submission for audit.
Adv Mancotywa added that the NHC had been without a Council between October 2010 and 29 September 2011. The previous Council had operated for only four months. The NHC’s baseline budget had been cut by R5 million by the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC), which impacted on full implementation of programmes in the subsequent Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) period. However, there had been increased and growing public interest, appreciation and confidence in the heritage sector, and the NHC in particular, and this placed enormous pressure on the organisational resources. Since its inception, NHC had always had a demand for funding that far exceeded its allocations, so that there was insufficient capacity to match growth and expectations. There was also lack of cohesion between the NHC and the DAC’s Heritage Branch in regard to programming during 2010/11 and 2011/12. Despite the increased public demand also for researched heritage information, the inadequate capacity meant that the NHC could not in fact increase its knowledge production through research.
Adv Mancotywa tabled an overview of the financial results for 2010/2011 and 2011/12, the highlights of programmes, and the indications for progress (see attached presentation).
Mr P Ntshiqela (COPE) said that the mission statement had made it clear that the goal of the NHC had been to transform, whilst the strategic objectives outlined a goal for 2010/11 as the facilitation, monitoring and coordination of transformation of the heritage sector. He wanted to check what transformation had been achieved.
Mr Ntshiqela also wanted to check that the NHC had an avenue for poor citizens and artists at the grassroots level.
Mr Thendo Ramagoma, General Manager, National Heritage Council, confirmed that one of the main aims in funding was to reach out to the grass roots levels, and this included the funding of workshops. In addition, community newspapers and other channels had been used to reach out to people at this level.
Mr Sabelo Silinga, Chief Executive Officer, South African Traditional Music Achievement Awards, added that in the lead up to the Awards (SATMA), his organisation had held workshops that dealt with the image of the artist, which helped artists invest in themselves, establish a brand, and gave advice and training on financial matters, including investments, and emotional training.
Ms F Mushwana (ANC) wanted to congratulate the NHC on the document provided, which had captured everything that the Committee had requested.
Ms Mushwana asked what was done for the families of artists who died in poverty, to ensure that they could be supported and did not remain poor.
Ms Mushwana noted that NHC had invited schools and asked how they were chosen, whether they were all based in KwaZulu Natal, and whether the programme would be extended to the whole country.
Advocate Mancotywa replied that the NHC was looking at this matter this year. Whilst people were told that heritage was part of the education curriculum, it did not go far enough, and he questioned the extent to which children were really being taught their own heritage. NHC ran the programme because of concerns that the education system was not doing enough, but it needed to be better harnessed.
Ms L Moss (ANC) asked whether the NHC was working with the Department of Education for better public awareness. She also asked what specifically was being done for youth.
Ms Mushwana said that heritage needed to be taken to the community. In music, for instance, there was a wide range of music from different cultures and walks of life. She questioned if NHC had time frames to reach specific areas by a specific time. She also asked if the NHC had any time frames in respect of the panel advertisements.
Ms Mushwana commented that the fact that NHC had unqualified audit reports for seven years was commendable.
Ms Mushwana asked if the Committee could get a hard copy of the transformation charter.
Advocate Mancotywa replied that the transformation charter would be sent on. This was a response to all the inadequacies of the past in relation to heritage, and contained the plan for moving forward as a country. He agreed that there was a need to transform heritage, so it became part of national pride.
Mr Ramagoma added that policy interventions and policy papers had been developed in the last few years, covering issues such as access to heritage resources, reparation of heritage resources, heritage and development, mining activities (whether these were regarded as positive or negative), professional developments and ethics, heritage in private hands, and monuments and statues.
Ms M Morutoa (ANC) also welcomed the comprehensive NHC report, and said that she was pleased with the way in which the challenges had been outlined, and the fact that the report was comprehensive, touching on many areas. However, she asked what was proposed to correct the inadequate human resources capacity, which seemed to stretch across the whole organisation, and the fact that inexperienced personnel were handling procurement processes at functional level.
Ms H Van Schalkwyk (DA) said the challenges created a bleak picture. She understood why there was a turn around strategy, and agreed that it looked good on paper, but the real test lay in how it would be implemented. She suggested that, when the Committee next met with the NHC, there could be a performance report, and not only the result of the financial audit.
Mr D Mavunda (ANC) asked how far the NHC had gone to rectify the challenges in staff remaining in place, and asked why some people had served for only a short time. He also noted that at times, the NHC had been operating without a Council, and asked what the challenges were, and why these had not been overcome to allow the NHC to meet its mandate.
Ms Nosipo Matanzima, Company Secretary, National Heritage Council, replied that the members of Council had been appointed by the previous Minister for a period of five months, and they were, for reasons already given to the Committee, then re-called, and the Council was disbanded. The Chief Executive Officer had been appointed as interim Accounting Authority, pending the appointment of a new Council. The new Council had been appointed in October 2011, for a period of three years.
Advocate Mancotywa added that the NHC had been open in detailing the challenges, and said that it was important to put them in context. In 2009/2010 the Council had served for a very short period, and this was one of the reasons for the instability in that year. Some employees were terrified of making mistakes, but now the NHC had reached a situation where it was more stable, better focused, and the Turnaround Strategy was driven by the office of the Chief Executive Officer, to ensure that change would happen in each and every unit. The next audit would be the test of whether the turnaround was working. NHC was going to ensure that there was continuous improvement in the research council, and would also look at whether the NHC was sufficiently funding and compiling strategies for grassroots projects. NHC had also made some interventions into the music industry, where there was a need for innovation. He stressed that the music industry was a part of heritage. He said that recently, Umoja had been sued, because it was claimed that Gallo held the copyright to many of the “traditional songs” it had been playing. NHC had found that in fact many songs that were believed to be “traditional” were not, and for this reason Gallo was demanding royalties when songs were played. He said that the fact that a commercial organisation could register a song as its own was detrimental to the country’s identity. This was why the NHC had joined the case, as amicus curiae, or as second defendant. NHC was disputing that the songs should rest in private hands, as it believed that they were part of the country’s identity.
Ms Moss was happy that the NHC had highlighted the auditing and procurement issues, and said that the points raised were very important.
The Chairperson commended the NHC on being honest about its challenges, and said that whilst there were some questionable areas in the presentation, at least the NHC had detailed the challenges. She commented that the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) laid down certain processes where one service provider was to be used, and commented that the Committee had already taken issue about this with the NHC in the past, and had pointed out that there were certain concessions. This institution, unlike others in the arts sector, like the Pan South African Language Board, was at least honest.
Mr Xoli Siswene, Board Member, National Heritage Council, replied the Council had requested the report on deviations around the tenders. This was still with the Chairperson’s office, but it would be discussed.
Ms M Morutoa (ANC) noted that the presentation had not said anything about traditional healers or sangoma. She commented that there was a lot of misconception and lack of understanding about isangoma practices and wanted to enquire what specifically was being done for them.
The Chairperson agreed that they were an important part of the country’s heritage.
Advocate Mancotywa replied that indeed such special practices needed to be preserved. Research had been done in Howick, which showed that in the cities, traditional medicines were regarded as community projects, and that people were still visiting traditional healers. There was a need to consider how to assist indigenous knowledge projects, and cited the research done on imphepo, seeking its origin, how it had grown and its current significance. Sometimes, South Africans themselves had less knowledge about their heritage than foreigners may. There was a need to ensure that the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) gave space to traditional healers. Some traditional healers had even suggested the need for a separate Ministry to deal specifically with their concerns.
Ms Morutoa was concerned that the future generations would not get the correct information about sangomas, and stressed the need to demystify their practices, to build knowledge of what they did, and understand that their work was not limited to traditional herbalism, nor were they psychics, as some suggested. The perceptions that sangomas may be a danger to conservation were incorrect, and she stressed that Sangoma training schools encompassed a very broad education, including morals and respect for others.
Advocate Mancotywa replied that these were real concerns, which he shared, as one of his family members was a sangoma. He had participated in a discussion on heritage conservation and development, where it was noted that sacred areas in
Mr Mavunda noted the NHC’s concerns around funding, and asked if it had submitted its funding proposals, linked to the strategic plan, to DAC or National Treasury, with a full motivation. He wondered if the plans complied with the Treasury Regulations.
Ms L Moss (ANC) noted that, each year, the NHC included “nation building” as one of its strategic objectives. She asked what programmes were in place, and being rolled out, pointing out that the Nation Building Summit was to be held in July in
Advocate Mancotywa replied that in some people’s minds, nation building had been reduced to race relations, with the perception that black and white people needed to understand each other better. However, there was also a need for black people to understand and relate to each other, and to understand how black people related to their animals. In this regard, he noted that the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals had been surprised to learn that animals were given names, and that police had been called when animals were slaughtered, and this raised the question whether there had been enough education, including of the police themselves, about cultural practices. These may seem “soft” issues, but they were important. He reminded the Committee that nations could go to war over identity.
The Chairperson asked what NHC’s main objectives were, for the current financial year, and asked if the Council had approved an annual performance plan. She raised these questions in light of previous recommendations by the Committee that the Council needed to be dissolved. It was usually assumed that an institution failed because of its Chief Executive Officer, but in this case the Council had contributed to the problems, and she reminded everyone that the Council was responsible for oversight, although this did not mean interference with the day-to-day operations of the entity.
Mr Siswene replied that one of the core issues related to compliance. The newly-appointed Council had tried to give support to the NHC, and was currently holding its fifth meeting. In the past, previous councils had focused on compliance issues, rather than dealing with the core business of the NHC. Although compliance was an important issue, there was nonetheless a need for a Council to make strategic input into what the NHC was all about. The new Council had made a point of arranging a strategic session, trying to find common ground amongst all members, and had come up with key objectives to be achieved over the next three years in relation to heritage. The Council had also raised concerns with the Director General of DAC that there was a need to streamline heritage, which cut across many sectors. Different components of heritage, such as music and language, tended to “sit on their own”, but at the end of the day the core business of the NHC could only be achieved if there was collaboration across all elements of heritage. NHC had also observed that many museums tended to operate on their own, and perhaps they should be consolidated, so that an overall South African museum agenda could be achieved. Everything to do with heritage should be brought under one umbrella, and linked across all the agencies. He said that the NHC would, at a later meeting, outlined its key objectives and strategies with regard to the DAC. He suggested that the NHC could be a “super agency” to which all other entities should belong, irrespective of who sat on what board. He also noted that the NHC had signed an Annual Performance Plan, that annual statements had been prepared, which would be submitted for audit, and the NHC had also established sub-committees, in particular an audit sub-committee.
Ms Ndivhu Madilonga, Chief Financial Officer, National Heritage Council, added that an organogram had been developed, but this needed to be funded and there were budgetary challenges.
The Chairperson asked if that organogram was available now.
Ms Madilonga said that it was already drawn, but she did not have it with her at the meeting. It was presently in possession of Corporate Services, who wanted it benchmarked and aligned to the HR policies. The benchmarking had now been finalised, and it would be presented to the Committee.
The Chairperson pointed out that the Committee had requested, and therefore expected to see, that organogram, particularly since during the last engagement with the Committee, the NHC had stated that various people were hired, but were found not to be sufficient skilled. The Committee had been worried how an insufficiently-skilled person could be employed, particularly in positions that called for skills in procurement or financial matters. These had been some of the particular shortcomings of the Human Resources part of the NHC. Although the turnaround was discussed, the HR component was not detailed. She conceded that the Auditor-General’s report did not indicate that the NHC was doing so badly, particularly in comparison to other institutions, but the issue of skills was of concern and had to be addressed.
The Chairperson also pointed out that the racial balance had to be addressed, as there were few white people in the NHC. A related issue was how NHC ensured that all races were part of heritage day, and not only African people. She was aware that this was not solely the responsibility of the NHC but said that it was an important aspect of its work.
Ms Madilonga replied that the NHC tried to train all staff, although there had been some problems with the training from the Public Administration Leadership and Management Academy (PALAMA). All supply chain officials had been trained on supply chain matters. Since inception, the NHC had had three Chief Financial Officers, and the transition from one to another created inconsistencies, but NHC aimed to continue improving.
Adv Mancotywa also apologised for not providing the organogram, which was an omission, but assured Members that he would ensure it was sent on.
Mr Roy Ledwaba, Board Member, National Heritage Council, added that the turn around strategy was a work in progress and there had been work done on risk, and to address the previous audit queries. The internal audit unit of NHC had now finished the risk profile, and it had also reviewed previous risks, detailing what had happened, what was lacking, and what improvements were needed. A new risk profile had been created and submitted as part of the Annual Performance Plan, and a revised charter for audit matters had been created.
Mr Ledwaba stated that another of the concerns related to the salary bill and its levels, and a report would be submitted on this. He agreed that unskilled staff and supply chain staff ha been a problem, and although PALAMA had tried to assist, the way in which training was conducted had to change. It was suggested that PALAMA should in future come to the NHC, because NHC had struggled when so many staff had attended training outside of the organisation.
The Chairperson stated that someone from the DAC needed to explain why there was a budget cut of R5 million, but she would not take an answer from the DAC employee who tried to answer the question, when it was established that this person was not part of top management. She asked if any managers from the DAC were present, pointing to an agreement with the DAC that at least a second-level official must be present, and asked where the Director was of the unit dealing with NHC.
Mr Samuel Mahatlwe, Parliamentary Liaison Officer, DAC, replied there had been no DAC official delegated to attend this meeting.
Ms Moss made the point that the DAC must assist the NHC with its operational structures, and with getting the structure off the ground, to avoid the problems of the past.
Mr Mavunda made a general comment, commending the NHC on its presentation, and noting that Adv Mancotywa had shown in-depth knowledge of the subject matter, and a passion for the issues. He hoped that other entities could learn from this approach. He also said that NHC must be commended on its collaboration with other institutions that had sought to bring the country’s real heritage forward.
Mr Ntshiqela asked for clarity on page 36 of the presentation, relating to the cooperation with the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA), to facilitate the creation of cooperatives and skills transfer to young artists. He enquired when this would be done, and what kind of cooperatives would be formed.
Advocate Mancotywa replied these cooperatives were already supposed to have already been established but the NHC had been held back by other issues. The Young Artists had been trained in Ethiopia, and were doing indigenous art on goatskin, but the question was how these skills would be passed on to others. NHC was engaging with the provinces to ensure that there was space created for the trained artists in turn to train others. NHC believed that cooperatives would be a good structure and was building that project at the moment. Training would be offered through SEDA. This was a work in progress and was going very well.
Mr Ramagoma added that the heritage panel of experts had aimed to increase the pool of experts in diverse areas of heritage. The implementation of the Young Artists indigenous art projects, as described, facilitated youth passing on their skills in their own localities, and generated employment and developed cooperatives. SEDA had been included in the last year, with a focus on the financial and management aspects. He added that the heritage, education and art projects, in partnership with the Department of Education, all aimed to increase pride and ownership of heritage amongst the youth. The Culture, Arts, Hospitality, Sports and Education Sector Education Authority focused on skills development for the youth, and there were partnerships, for the past four years, with the Department of Basic Education on the art projects. A national camp was held every year in September, with the goal of facilitating learning, when one learner would teach other learners in their own respective skills.
Mr Ntshiqela asked if the NHC was still waiting on the service provider in relation to the Sol T Plaatjie project.
Advocate Mancotywa replied that the agreements had been concluded and the service provider was now busy with that project. The first book, on eight African intellectuals, had been produced. The work done had served to demystify a great number of notions surrounding culture and history in the country. The Sol T Plaatje project was an important piece of work, which was currently in progress, and it was hoped that this would be able to be presented as a completed work by the time of the Annual Report. He reiterated that there was much still lacking in the education curriculum, and learners did not know enough about South African history, or even about those in government, and he said that if it was possible to forget those who were still living, then it was even more difficult to remember those from history. Heritage was a battle against forgetfulness, and that was why the intellectuals project was in place.
Mr Siswene thanked the Committee for its time, concluded that NHC had been doing its best and would continue to do so, and was confident of the Committee’s support. NHC had been trying to educate the Council members by ensuring that meetings were held at the various heritage sites, to promote better understanding.
The Chairperson thanked the presenters, and reiterated her appreciation for NHC’s honesty. She reminded the NHC to forward the organogram, and said it would form an essential part of the turnaround strategy.
South African Traditional Music Awards Presentation
The Chairperson said that the Committee had wanted to hear more about the South African Traditional Music Awards (SATMA), to get a better understanding about them. The Committee had already expressed its support for the traditional music awards, as they spoke to the nation’s heritage, but had expressed concerns that these awards were not being sufficiently sponsored, as they were not in the market’s focus. She said that if support was to be promoted for the awards, they needed to move to national, rather than provincial awards.
Mr Sabelo Silinga, Chief Executive Officer, South African Traditional Music Achievement Awards, outlined the objectives of the SATMA, and set out the vision, mission and brief background of its establishment. He also detailed the stakeholders and strategic objectives, and explained the nomination and judging process for the awards (see attached presentation). He also indicated some of the highlights over the six years in which these awards had been in existence, and the categories and programmes that were planned for the future. In particular, he stressed that the highlights had included the growth of the brand, allowing the SATMA to become part of the national psyche, and the support from the Presidency and key national leadership, including other cultural institutions.
Mr Silinga said that the SATMA had faced some challenges over the past six years, with the prime one being insufficient funding for the Awards, resulting in their not achieving sufficient growth over the period. There had also been challenges around talent retention, as a result of the insufficient funding. For the last six years, the awards had been based in
Mr Ntshiqela asked for clarity on the support given by the Presidency, and asked what form this support took.
Ms Van Schalkwyk thanked SATMA for its work, stating that traditional music was an important heritage and needed to be treasured. It was a part of nation building. She also thanked SATMA for including Afrikaans music.
Ms Moss asked in which province the initiative had started. She had heard mention only of
The Chairperson responded that SATMA started in KwaZulu Natal (KZN), even though it was a national award. This was the first time that the awards were moving out of KwaZulu Natal, following recommendations that the Committee had made. It had been insistent that SATMA would not be supported if it stayed in one province, even if the founder and owner had been in KwaZulu Natal. There was a need for SATMA to go outside the province, so that people would become more aware of these awards.
Mr Silinga confirmed that the SATMA awards originated in Kwazulu Natal, but had begun spreading to other provinces. Each province had its own objectives around music development, culture and heritage issues, and it had become apparent that SATMA was important for growth in those areas. He thought that it was necessary to promote the awards vigorously, and consistently, and the objective was that all provinces should achieve the awards, through the partnerships that aimed to promote growth in the cultural sector.
The Chairperson thanked Mr Silinga for clarifying the SATMA awards.
Adoption of Minutes
Committee minutes from meetings on 9 May 2012 and 16 May 2012 were adopted.
The meeting was adjourned.
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