Department of Arts & Culture 4th Quarter 2011/12 Performance Report

Arts and Culture

08 August 2012
Chairperson: Ms T Sunduza (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) presented its 4th quarter 2011/12 performance and expenditure report, highlighting some issues in particular. Challenges included the proliferation of unplanned work, which affected budgets and allocation of human resources. The DAC, in this quarter, had concentrated on aspects that included Limpopo focus, book donations, repainting schools and flag distribution. He noted that whilst some re-naming was under way, other matters had been postponed and referred back for further consultation, after queries about the process. Important highlights included the opening of the road that linked Freedom Park and the Voortrekker Monument, the consultative conference on the Mzanzi Golden Economy, advertising and sales of crafts at that venue, building of new audiences and the new languages legislation at the National Language Forum. He reported that another challenge was that universities were preferring to get blind students to use computers in preference to braille texts, but this posed problems if they did not have their own audio translation packages. On the international front, DAC was working on the signing and ratification of the African Charter on Cultural Renaissance, and noted that despite the global recession, jobs were still being created in the arts and culture sector. Ncome Museum was due to open on 16 December. The spending patterns were detailed, and it was noted that amounts were not transferred to the National Foundation for Video and Film (NFVF), due to its non compliance with conditions set by the Department and National Treasury, and that although some money was committed to projects with the Independent Development Trust, the money was being paid over in tranches once projects were delivered, to mitigate risk.

Members asked a broad range of questions, including questions on the financial figures, including the figures for gifts and donations, the reasons for not paying over money immediately, the effects this had on the financial statements, and the reasons for payments to consultants (which were not answered), the under-spending on community libraries, which was a cause of concern to many, and the reasons why certain provinces had not received allocations in this quarter. Members asked for copies of the Mzanzi booklet and suggested it must be translated into other languages. They enquired whether jobs created by festivals were sustainable, what was done to try to improve this, and questioned why the Cape Town Jazz events seemed to be much better publicised and supported than others, and how the DAC decided which events to support. They asked questions about bursaries, the students receiving them, in which provinces they were given, the split of bursaries across fields of study and whether it was correct that a number of holders were not completing their courses. Questions were asked about the DAC staff complement and the filling of posts. Members, and the DAC itself, commented that roads to various sites and museums were dreadful, and there was little point in building attractions that could not be accessed. In addition, the Chairperson commented that the DAC seemed to have little media coverage, unlike other departments who tried to have positive stories published, and that when the media did pick up on something the DAC tended to give “no comment” responses. Members were not happy with the poor state of flags at schools. They also asked for more elaboration on why the universities were not encouraging use of braille. They were concerned with the film industry, asked about arrangements with the SABC, why local films tended to have such high budgets and what the National Film and Video Foundation was doing to assist. Members also wanted more detail on shareholder compacts, and the arrangements with the Independent Development Trust projects. Members voiced their dissatisfaction that they were often not invited to functions, or, if they were, they were not well treated. They asked that future reports contain more detail.

Meeting report

Chairperson’s opening remarks
The Chairperson introduced Ms A Mthiya, the new Committee Secretary, and thanked the previous incumbent for his work in the past.

She tabled apologies from the Minister of Arts and Culture.

Department of Arts and Culture: 4th Quarter 2011/12 expenditure and performance review
Mr Sibusiso Xaba, Director General, Department of Arts and Culture, tabled the presentation containing the 4th quarter 2011/12 review of performance and expenditure. He highlighted certain points.

He noted, in regard to slide 5, that the
key challenge faced by the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC or the Department) was the proliferation of unplanned work, which was not mentioned in the Annual Performance Plan, but which still had to be managed. DAC needed to ensure that targets were met and unplanned work did not overshadow planned work. The budget also had to be reallocated to address this unplanned work, as well as any new strategies introduced, and any unplanned work also required re-allocation of human resources.

He noted, in regard to slides 6 to 8, that other key highlights also included the focus on Limpopo, book donations, repainting of schools and flag distribution and installation.
 The re-naming of some geographical features, including Tswane, was postponed for further consultation, in light of objections raised by some groups to the process.

He highlighted the opening of the road that linked Freedom Park and the Voortrekker Monument, two very important sites that highlighted the separation of history.

Another highlight was the hosting of the Consultative Conference on Mzanzi Golden Economy, which also aided in the strengthening of ties and the working relationship with the Department of Trade and Industry (dti). He explained, in regard to slide 9 that most of the productions were done in Durban, because of the Mzanzi Golden Economy Guide Book, which was provided for the Conference of Parties (COP17). However, the functions were well attended. The highlight was the ‘Beautiful Things’ exhibition of artefacts and crafts created by rural women, some of whom were refugees, with good advertising and sales, which integrated art with principles of sustainability.

DAC was trying, in respect of international relations, to build new audiences and to open up new markets for South African goods.

He noted also the
project done in ‘Underwater heritage’ was done together with South African Heritage Agency (SAHA) and the South African Navy in Simonstown.

The Use of Official Languages Bill and the Language Professions Council Bill, the latter to be introduced later in the year, were the main points of discussion at the 13th National Language Forum, which was held in Pretoria. The Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities had reported strong discouragement of use of Braille, even at most universities, preferring instead to try to get the students to use computers, although this was problematic if audio-translation devices were not readily available.

The DAC was working on the signing and
ratification of the African Charter on Cultural Renaissance, together with Angola, current Chair of the SADC countries, to strengthen cultural cooperation and integration within Africa. The importance of this was illustrated by a report done by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development to the effect that despite the global economic downturn, cultural and creative industries had grown and jobs in these sectors were being created. Africa, however, contributed only about 1.9% of overall growth in global trade of 30%, so there were many opportunities for Africa to increase its creative industries.

Mr Xaba noted that there were currently about 6 000 young people in the 2011 Field Band Foundation National Championships, which were held in collaboration with the Department of Basic Education (DBE) to promote arts, culture and life skills for the youth.

In respect of slide 22, he wished to note also that the opening of Ncome Museum would take place on 16 December 2012.

Mr Xaba said that R10 million was not transferred to the National Foundation for Video and Film (NFVF), due to its non compliance with conditions set by the Department and National Treasury. This amount had been intended for the installation of digital screens in the Community Arts Centres. He reminded Members that in the previous year the DAC had partnered with the Independent Development Trust (IDT) on delivery of some projects. He noted that the figures seemed to indicate that 75% of that budget was not spent, but said that money had been committed to specific projects and already paid over to the IDT, but was reflected as money pre-paid but not spent. He explained further that when DAC allocated money to certain projects, a budget was allocated but the entire budget was not transferred immediately. As projects were delivered, the relevant money was paid over. This was done to mitigate the risks.

Ms H Van Schalkwyk (DA) asked where Members could get the Mzanzi Golden Economy Guide Book (the book)

Mr Xaba responded that this book was aimed at major events such as the BRICS Summit in March in Durban, and was produced in conjunction with the relevant municipalities and Arts institutions in the are where an event was taking place, to raise awareness.

Ms van Schalkwyk asked whether the jobs created by the Cape Town International Jazz Festival were sustainable.

Mr Xaba responded that there were different categories of jobs, some of which were intended solely for the Jazz Festival, but others were sustainable. He gave examples of jobs in sound and lighting that were specific to the Festival, but noted that other jobs were created in the transport industry, hotels and restaurants. The Makufe Festival was another example and the sector created jobs in this way.

Ms van Schalkwyk noted that the Use of Official Languages Bill had recently been passed and therefore many language professionals would be needed. She asked if bursaries were available for the study of languages.

Mr Xaba said that the DAC itself would not decide on the allocation of bursaries, but simply made money available to the Universities of Zululand, Limpopo, Natal (Durban) and the Free State, as well as Walter Sisulu University. The universities themselves decided which student received a bursary, on criteria suggested by the Department, such as previously disadvantaged students. He added that there were two types of bursary programmes, one in Languages, and one in Heritage.

Ms van Schalkwyk asked for more detail on the heritage assets, noting that 55% of the budget was reflected as spent, on slide 28.

Ms F Mushwana (ANC) said that the country as a whole was grappling with job creation. She asked how many people were employed by the DAC.

Mr Xaba reported that the Department employed 437 people, all of whom were permanent. This staff complement was still increasing but the Department was constrained by budget.

Ms Mushwana asked if the Portfolio Committee was to be taken to visit the Ncome Museum.

Ms Mushwana wanted more detail on why the DAC would not transfer funds, in order to limit the risk.

Ms Mushwana commented that the roads in Qunu were “terrible” and since it was “Madiba Month”, she suggested that this Committee should urge something to be done about this, since Madiba had done so much himself for the nation.

Mr Xaba agreed that poor roads to museums were a problem, including the Nelson Mandela Museum, Ncome etc. He said that currently the DAC was involved in the OR Tambo project, with Department of Roads in the Eastern Cape, and had donated a sum towards the construction of that road. The reason for assisting was that there was little point for the DAC building a site if no one could access it.

The Chairperson interjected that this was unacceptable; if the Departments were working together and splitting budgets, then joint Committees should be sitting. She was unhappy with this response.

Mr Xaba accepted her comment and said that this was an area the DAC needed to address.

The Chairperson reiterated that she was not happy with this issue. She asked what the point was of building museums if nobody could visit.

Ms L Moss (ANC) asked how much had been spent on the Heritage sites, as she was under the impression that not enough was put to them.

Ms Moss asked which schools and projects and schools had received flags, saying that some schools had flags that did not look good.

Mr Xaba said that the DAC requested a list of schools from the Provinces and then appointed service providers to instal the flags. The agreement between DAC and DBA was that although DAC would provide the flags, the maintenance of the flags would be the responsibility of the schools, who should, each day, hoist them, take them down and properly fold and store them. This was the arrangement, but it was not always being fully respected.

The Chairperson asked that the issue of the flags at schools should be raised with Minister of Basic Education, Ms Angie Motshekga.

Ms Moss asked where the re-naming of towns was happening.

Mr Xaba confirmed that whilst a lot of name changes were ongoing, some were corrections, rather than totally new names – for instance, Bizana should properly be called “Mbizana”, and Witbank was now known as Emalahleni. There had been some challenges to some name changes, and these were then to be redebated. Those challenged in court were managed by the Minister together with South African Geographical Names Council.

Ms Moss said that only in one province did the bursaries seem to be offered and asked which other provinces were being assisted.

Ms Moss asked if the R100 million that had not been spent on libraries had been spent elsewhere, and, if so, where.

Ms Moss asked for more detail on the appointment of a final Chief Financial Officer.

Mr Virgil Kruger, Head of Human Resources, Department of Arts and Culture,
stated that on the forthcoming Friday there would be interviews for some senior positions. DAC had recently advertised certain posts and was scheduled to present its new structure at the meeting with the Portfolio Committee in the next week. The Minister had signed off on posts from Director level upwards, and some of the lower level posts were being filled, which might result in some “acting” appointments continuing for a while. There were positions four vacant Deputy Director General positions, which were advertised in June and July, and interviews would be held on 10 August. The Deputy Director General: Group Services, as well as the Chief Financial Officer positions had been advertised, and so had other senior posts.

A Member thanked the DAC for its work, saying that it had improved.

The Member, however, asked why there appeared to be an increase in the undermining of elderly citizens, and was concerned with lack of respect shown by the younger generation to the older generation, including not addressing them properly.

This Member wanted more explanation on why universities were not conforming with use of Braille.

The Chairperson did not think that enough was being done on this issue.

Mr Xaba said that the main problem was that the DAC was not fully aware of all the issues but had started a study on them. However, as far as the DAC had been able to ascertain so far, it seemed to be cheaper for the universities to use computers, which were relatively cheaper than having braille materials delivered. A blind student would need a computer with voice translation packages, but this was too limiting because it restricted the student who may not have such as computer at home, and that student would, for instance, be unable to access newspapers.

The Member understood the practicalities but said that the importance of braille had been illustrated in Grahamstown and was concerned that students would not be acquainted with the alphabet. She asked how a voice translator would help with this.

Mr Xaba emphasised that this was precisely the point that the DAC was also trying to understand, through the study.

The Chairperson was dissatisfied with the amount of positive media coverage that the DAC received. For instance, no news was available on the money it had put to the roads. Newer departments, including the Departments of Women, Children and People with Disabilities, always seemed to be carrying news about their activities in the press. Communities had to know about these issues. The Official Use of Languages Bill had sparked considerable response, even in the community papers.

The Chairperson noted also that many of the invitations to DAC functions arrived late, and it was better if the Parliamentarians were not invited at all than made to look like “fools” at these functions.

The Chairperson recorded concerns about the film industry and said African children were continuously suffering as the film industry was privatised.

Mr Xaba explained that the NFVF attended to funding of films up to R250 000. The problem was that feature films in South Africa were expensive and even the cheapest, so-called “low budget films” could cost about R5 million. The NFVF was limited in how much it could give. Secondly, most of the money went for the hire of machinery. The DAC and IDT were looking at ways in which machinery may be provided to film makers at a lower price. Thirdly, he added that the that the cost of making a movie were higher, if the maker was not sure whether the film would be bought.

The Chairperson asked for the Mzanzi Economy book to be made available in all languages.

The Chairperson commented, in respect of the jobs that were not sustainable, that follow up programmes should be in place, and asked what they were.

The Chairperson said that she was concerned about the bursaries, saying that she had been informed that many students did not finish the programmes. She wanted to know who received the bursaries, and from which province they were.

The Chairperson said that the Khoisan nations felt excluded and wanted to know what DAC was doing about this.

The Chairperson wanted further explanation on the “underwater heritage”.

The Chairperson was unhappy on the issue of libraries and pointed out that Mdantsane, the second largest township, still lacked a library. The money presently being offered to consultants – which was unnecessary, given the small size of the DAC – should instead be put to the libraries project. She wanted a breakdown of all libraries in South Africa.

The Chairperson asked for elaboration on the agreements with the National Youth Development Agency.

A Member also called for more explanation on the figure for gifts and donations on slide 18.

The Chairperson said she had been accused of letting the Department use money meant for social responsibility programmes for consultants. She would like to know how much of the money meant for Heritage and Culture was allocated to consultants.

The Chairperson also raised queries on the expenditure set out in slide 18, especially machinery and capital works. She was unhappy about the provincial allocations detailed on page 21 and felt that some other criteria was needed other than the size of the province.

Ms T Nwamitwa–Shilubana (ANC) reiterated that DAC had done some good work. However, she too wanted to raise queries on libraries in the rural areas, saying that there were none in her area.

Ms Nwamitwa-Shilubana asked about the money transferred to the IDT, as a pre-payment, as set out in slide 26. She did not recall having seen any breakdown of how this money was used, but the Committee certainly needed this. She herself had viewed the negative results on other IDT projects, such as those promised in Mpumalanga, but never completed, despite money having been spent. The Committee had to be aware of the spending, and that it was properly used.

Mr Mandla Langa, Director: Financial Management, DAC, responded to all the issues around the donations and gifts. The total figure was R354 000.00. R50 000 was used for the funeral ‘Fephasi’ President, R72 000 was used for World Cup performing arts, R71 000 was used for commemoration of ‘King’ in Ghana and R70 000 was for musical instruments for correctional centres. An amount of R43 000 was for the Minister’s participation, R32  000 for senior management and the balance for sponsorship for Cape Winelands.

Mr Xaba explained that two representatives from the DAC attended the funeral in Ghana.

Mr L Khoarai (ANC) also wanted clarification on the issue of ‘Allocation per Province’ as discussed on page 21 of the presentation. He said that he did not see the North West Province listed and yet saw ‘Maputo’ listed as a province.

Mr Xaba noted that there was no mention of Mpumalanga and North West because there were no capital budget projects in those Provinces. He emphasised that this slide did not break down the libraries grant or projects. The reason that Maputo was listed was due to the project that the DAC had there in respect of Mandela. He summarised that the  money in each province was used as follows:

Eastern Cape: Nelson Mandela Museum
Free State: Renovation of Parkhorst
Gauteng: Freedom Park development project
Kwa–Zulu Natal: KZN Museum and Playhouse
Western Cape: Iziko and Artscape
Northern Cape: Kimberley Theatre renovations
Limpopo: Community development project

Mr D Mavunda (ANC) said that it was possible that people attached to the declaration of sites may not be fully informed. He thought that the DAC needed to communicate better with those connected, and provide a good programme.

Mr Mavunda was another Member who commented on libraries and asked if, when grants were allocated, it was up to the local government where to locate the libraries, which may result in them being prioritised in urban areas, not rural areas.

Mr Mavunda wanted more detail on the content of the shareholder compacts mentioned on slide16.

Mr Xaba commented on the JL Dube Legacy project: He said that he could make available the figure that was spent on the project but he would also like to mention that this Dube project had three elements – namely to declare and renovate the graves, then to purchase the house on site and turn it into a museum. This aspect was handled with the Department of Public Works, after agreement on the amounts and details with the family. Thirdly, the DAC would attend to the implementation of the broader master plan of the project, which included plans for a recreation and community centre in the next year. The first two phases were complete, and the third was under way. The Department had agreed that this would be called “the Durban-Inanda Project” and was working to consolidate it.

A Departmental Representative commented on the follow up of programming after the declaration of a site. A site should be managed after building as well, as this might include, for instance, management of flags. If a statue was erected, then thought had to be given to how people could access it.

A Departmental Representative explained the Shareholder Compact by saying that institutions falling under the Department were dealt with “at arm’s length” in order to try to give them more autonomy. This Shareholder Compact was more of a contract between the Minister and the board; for instance, the plan would be set at the beginning of the year, but checked by way of the working relationship, by follow up data being provided. The DAC agreed that there was work to be done and would be following up on matters such as the bursary recipients, libraries, and geographical distribution of libraries.

Ms Ntombi Sikhosana, Acting Chief Financial Officer, DAC, commented that some projects were stopped in 2008 by the IDC. There were problems in the monitoring of some, and approval had been requested from Treasury to support about 30, which were currently approved. This programme would be phased out once it had been finalised.

Mr Langa added that not all the money had been transferred because the audit report had noted that many of the so-called beneficiaries in fact did not exist. The DAC preferred to take the risk that it might under-spend, rather than pay all them money at once and risk incorrect payments.

Mr N Van den Berg (DA) asked for further explanation on the relationship with the SABC, which was affecting film makers.

A Member noted that although this was not specifically addressed in the quarterly report, she wanted an explanation of the jazz festivals.  The Cape Town Jazz Festival did not compare favourably to those in Johannesburg and other places, yet seemed to be getting more support. She wanted to know more about the DAC involvement, and asked why Committee Members were not invited.

Mr Xaba clarified that the DAC was involved in all festivals. Cape Town hosted the Jazz Fest as well as the Cape Town Carnival, in line with the principle that each province would nominate a festival in which the DAC should be involved. The Cape Town Jazz Fest tended to be the biggest and best recognised, in terms of performers and audience. The DAC was currently working on the Joy of Jazz Festival, to which Members would be invited. The DAC was now issuing two calls for proposals and funding each year, and an independent body would review the applications and advise the Department.

Mr Khoarai asked what the criteria were for allocation of funds. He wondered who had drawn the Strategic Plan and why not all monies were used. He commented that there was usually a degree of underspending in the DAC.

Ms Moss asked again about the amount of R100 million that was not spent.

Mr Xaba responded that the R100 million represented money not used in the previous financial year; that an application had been made to National Treasury to have it rolled over, which was done, and that money had now been spent. The figures shown reflected the budget but there was a rollover.

He explained, in relation to allocations, that allocations were made for capital works of the provinces and those who were not listed were those that had no ongoing capital works projects.

The Chairperson asked if this meant that money was only transferred if there was a project ongoing.

Mr Xaba said that this was not so, but in the last year there were no projects to which money could be transferred in those provinces, although they had received money in the past.

Mr Xaba then expanded on the points about the IDT projects. Contracts had been signed for the Dube project, Mbuyezwe and other legacy projects. Money was transferred and was not yet used. The DAC and IDT books had been checked. There was an amount of R49.9 million that had to be accounted for as monies not used, even though it was not in the Departments books.

Mr Xaba expanded on some points made earlier in regard to films and said that if a film was made without anyone having promised to buy it, then more money was allocated to marketing to try sell it, even overseas. The movie budget would be much lower if there was already an offer to purchase.

A member followed up on the jazz festivals, saying that the Cape Town one was probably the largest because it was advertised everywhere, but wanted to know who was doing this advertising. If the other festivals were marketed as well, they would also be better attended.

Ms Moss asked who was sending proposals to the National Department of Arts and Culture. She thought that input was needed also from the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform. Activities were tending to happen mostly in the cities; but it must be borne in mind that there was more to the Western Cape than Cape Town alone. The DAC should bear that in mind when looking at proposals.

Mr Xaba said that there were certain things that the Department tried to support and its focus was the benefit of South Africans at large. He said that it was not DAC who attended to marketing of the jazz festivals so he must assume that Cape Town marketed its festival better than the others. Promoters would attend to their own marketing.

Mr Xaba also added that there were some rural festivals that the Department supported, such as the KZN Reed Dance Festival, and Limpopo’s Amarula Festival.

Ms Mushwana wanted to follow up on the question of under spending and wondered if there was a bigger risk in paying late, or in transferring the full amount at once.

Mr Xaba said that the DAC had learnt from poor experiences on some projects in the past. It had been advised to pay in tranches by the Auditor-General, as this tended to persuade people to stay with the project and complete the tasks. Whilst this may not look good on paper, it was considered a preferable way of attending to funding.

Mr Khoarai highlighted that the agencies must simply spend what they requested.

The Chairperson was not happy with the format of the report and said that, for the future, she would prefer to see more detail in the body of the report, rather than relying on Members to raise queries. She commented again that she wanted, for instance, to see who the students getting the bursaries were.

The Chairperson reiterated her points on the invitations extended to the Committee, saying that not only should those invitations be issued in time, but that Members attending a function must be well-treated.

Her point was supported by Ms Mushwana and Mr Van den Berg.

A Member commented that, in general, public representatives were treated badly as opposed to other countries, where their service to the public was respected. Whilst they were not expecting to “pull rank”, they did not expect rude demands as to who they were.

Chairperson specifically asked that officials raise these issues with the Minister.

Ms C Casambe, Departmental Representative, said that all procedures were set in advance, but it did sometimes happen that the instructions were not carried out to the letter.

Mr S Hatlane, Departmental Representative, added that the reason why the Cape Town Jazz Festival was shifted from the Minister to the Director General was testimony to the fact that complaints were passed on. He urged that administrative problems should not be made into political ones. He said that it was easier for the DAC to monitor events in Cape Town than elsewhere. He suggested that perhaps one Member of the Committee could be asked to coordinate seating arrangements at functions.

Ms Mushwana offered her thanks to Mr Hatlane for taking good care of her at one particular event.

Ms van Schalkwyk: she said that the Social Cohesion Summit was very badly run, as people were not even aware whether they should be able to attend.

The Chairperson said that the Minister was offended when she brought this up. She commented that she had refused an invitation to one function, saying that this was during the constituency period when it was hard to find the Chair of Chairs to approve the budget. She thought this message had been properly relayed. She also commented that it was embarrassing when the media picked up on issues but the DAC refused to comment. She stressed that Members did read reports, and it should not be assumed that they would not pick up on the issues.

Ms Shilubane added that it did not help if Members of Parliament attended a function with a huge entourage that added nothing to the proceedings.

The meeting was adjourned.


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