Minister, Deputy Minister & Department of Arts and Culture on Annual Report 2012

Arts and Culture

17 October 2012
Chairperson: Ms T Sunduza (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Minister, Deputy Minister and Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) presented the Annual Report for 2011/12. Of the 200 key performance targets, the DAC had managed to achieve around 50%, partially achieve 30% and not achieve 12%. Its performance overall had improved from the last financial year. About 95% of the budget was spent, and although all programmes had under-performed, Cultural Development managed to spend only 86%. Overall, when considered across the Department and all entities, 99% of the budget was spent. The DAC continued to have a high vacancy rate, but had closed one unit and then had to reinstate some provincial coordinators, with backdated salaries. Some summits and workshops could not be held in this financial year, and only about half of the intended number of flags could be procured for schools. Although the DAC had transferred the funds for the Community Libraries Grant, there had been underspending, mainly linked to contractor shortcomings. The full budget for departmental agencies had been allocated, and was spent. However, an amount of R10 000 was not transferred to the Film and Video Foundation (NFVF), because this entity failed to give a report-back on the first tranche of funding. Capital assets and capital spending both showed underspending.

The performance of each of the programmes was outlined in some detail, indicating areas where the targets were not achieved, or where they were exceeded. Particular achievements were outlined in stakeholder engagement, holding of imbizos, award of 312 bursaries, and participation in Continental programmes, and the establishment of 24 mini libraries and 13 new libraries.

In relation to the financial statements, it was noted that an external firm had been appointed after Manager of Internal Audit had passed away, but the Audit Committee had met regularly and had been satisfied with the quality of the quarterly reports prepared. However, the Auditor-General had suggested that attention was needed to Human Resource management, supply chain management, infrastructure management and the Department’s Monitoring and Evaluation Unit. Furthermore, the systems to prevent irregular expenditure were not satisfactory, and amounts were being carried over from previous years, on which the DAC had now sought condonation. There were four instances of irregular expenditure.

Several Members indicated that they were not happy with the quality of the monitoring and evaluation being done by the Department and said that it must improve. They also commented that the handling of legal cases should be strengthened, and that employee compliance still needed further improvement. They questioned the payment of funds, both as conditional grants and to NPOs, asked why there had been under-expenditure, questioned the payment to the Industrial Development Trust, and the National Film and Video Foundation funding, and asked what was being done to monitor. They asked how more bursaries had been possible, with the same amount of funding, and questioned if the bursary holders and those trained were taken into the Department. They felt that more skills were needed in–house and raised several questions about employment, staff retention, disciplinary processes, including damage to vehicles, and the new staff structure. The Chairperson thought that the Department was not communicating effectively with the media. Members also asked about the status of the artists into schools, questioned if this would be extended to rural provinces. Further questions were asked on preservation of archives at heritage sites, progress on named sites and the library projects. 

Meeting report

Department of Arts and Culture Annual Report 2011/12 briefing
Mr Paul Mashatile, Minister of Arts and Culture, and Mr Joe Phaahla, Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture, were in attendance, together with officials from the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC or the Department), and gave a brief introduction to the Annual Report for 2011/12.

Mr Sibusiso Xaba, Director-General, Department of Arts and Culture, outlined what the presentation would include. He then noted, as a performance overview, that the DAC had about 200 key performance targets for the 2011/12 year. It had met or exceeded around 50% of these targets, 30% were partially fulfilled, and 12% were not achieved at all, the reasons for which would be outlined later. The performance had improved when compared to the 2010/11 financial year.

He said that the budget allocation for the 2011/12 financial year was R2.5 million, of which R2.4 million was spent, showing under-expenditure of 5%. Mr Xaba further outlined the spending per programme. Of the programmes, he noted that Administration, spent 99% of its budget, Performing Arts spent 95%, National Language Services (NLS) spent 99%, Cultural Development spent 86% of its budget, while Heritage Promotion and the National Archives and Library Services spent 95% and 98% respectively.

Mr Xaba further outlined that in respect of all the Departmental agencies and accounts, 99% of the budget was spent. The variance of R10 million in all would be clarified during the presentation.

Mr Xaba then went on to explain the expenditure per economic classification. Under compensation of employees he stated that 99% of the budget was spent. He acknowledged that the Department had a high vacancy rate and that the reason for most of the budget allocation being spent, regardless of this, was that nine provincial coordinators were dismissed but then reinstated by the Department, and upon reinstatement R8.5 million was spent on their backdated salaries for 22 months.

Mr Xaba stated that under the goods and services budget, 93% of the budget was spent, and outlined the reasons for the under expenditure. Firstly, the geographical place names Workshop was postponed and held only in April 2012. Secondly the Social Cohesion Summit was postponed to July 2012. The procurement of flags for schools experienced delays in the appointment of a service provider.

Mr Xaba said, in regard to the Community Libraries Grant, that the DAC had transferred the funds to the various provinces. However, there was underspending of that grant in the provinces, the main reason linked to sub contractors who fell short in delivering on the set objectives, for a variety of reasons.

Mr Xaba then moved on to outline the progress with regards to Departmental Agencies. The full budget was allocated to, and utilised by the various playhouses, heritage institutions and libraries nationally. Some of these institutions had been invited by the Committee to present their financial reports.

The Capital Works programme had spent 84% of its budget. Most of the funds were transferred to provinces for the construction and upgrading of playhouses. However, an amount of R10 000 was not transferred to the Film and Video Foundation (NFVF), because this entity had failed to give a report-back on the first tranche. These funds were earmarked for the piloting of digital screens.

Under Household expenditure, the Promotion of Performing Arts, and Investing in Culture sub-programmes both showed substantial levels of under expenditure.

The Capital Assets budget was spent only to the extent of 56%, which had included the purchasing of machinery and equipment.

Under Programme 1, Mr Xaba noted that the Department did not achieve its target of employing 49.5% of women and 1.8% of people with disabilities, reaching figures, respectively, of 40% and 1.6%. There was a partial moratorium on the filling of posts, which meant that only the priority posts were filled, in anticipation of the re-aligned organisational structure. The Department had intended to hold 10 Imbizos and stakeholder engagements. However, it had managed 46 engagements, thus exceeding the target. The Department had intended to hold four media briefings on arts, culture and heritage, but it had substantially exceeded this target by holding 17 media campaigns and releasing 75 media statements.

Programme 2 related to the promotion of performing arts. In respect of development of plans for Youth months, the DAC had held a cultural programme at Orlando Stadium in June 2011, and a youth seminar in Mamelodi. The Department further managed to achieve its annual target of placing 50 artists in schools in the Western Cape and Eastern Cape, through the Artists in Schools Programme (AiS). 25 artists were placed across the provinces. The DAC had managed to partially achieve its target of holding three programmes nationally to raise awareness on violence against women and children, with two programmes being held. The delay in holding the last was due to the fact that an accredited shelter could not be secured in time.

Programme 3 was National Language Services, and Mr Xaba stated that one of the purposes of the Department was to promote the official languages of South Africa and to enhance diversity. The DAC achieved its target of developing terminologies for HIV/ AIDS and elections, in three official languages. Furthermore, under this programme, the DAC intended to award 180 undergraduate and postgraduate university students with bursaries, but had managed to exceed this, by awarding 312 bursaries.

Programme 4 focused on Cultural Development, and the DAC, through this, aimed to improve economic and other development opportunities for South African arts and culture nationally, whilst also increasing opportunities globally through mutually beneficial partnerships, to ensure the sustainability of the sector. The National Book Week was held in September 2011, and the Moshito Annual Music Conference, Exhibition and Showcase were also successfully held in Johannesburg. The DAC did not manage to achieve its target of training 40 new playwrights, having managed to train only 30, due to budget constraints. The Department did manage to participate in a number of Continental programmes, such as the Festival of Pan African Music (FESPAM).

Programme 5 dealt with heritage promotion. Mr Xaba stated that the Department had not yet completed the Sarah Baartman Centre of Remembrance, but the budget had been approved and the construction of the Centre would commence during the 2012/13 financial period, being completed over five years. In regard to the Legacy Projects, he highlighted that the construction of the Ncome Project was almost complete, and that the Museum would be officially opened on 16 December 2012. The first phase of the JL Dube Project, by rehabilitating the graves of JL Dube, his wife and children, had been completed. Mr Xaba repeated that the Department had not managed to achieve its annual target of putting up 6 000 flags in schools, achieving only 3 000 because the service provider ran behind the set schedule.

Programme 6 related to National Archives and Library Services. The Department exceeded its annual target of constructing six mini-libraries, by establishing 24 mini-libraries as well as another 13 new libraries nationally.

Mr Xaba then moved to present on the financial statements. The Manager of the Internal Audit Unit had passed away, and therefore the National Treasury had appointed an external firm to manage the Unit. However, five meetings were held in the period under review, and the Audit Committee was satisfied with the quality of the quarterly reports that were prepared. Mr Xaba also noted that the Auditor-General had recommended that the Department pay more attention to Human Resource management, supply chain management, infrastructure management and the Department’s Monitoring and Evaluation Unit.

Mr Xaba noted that the Auditor-General (AG) had reported that the Department’s systems to prevent irregular expenditure were not satisfactory. Mr Xaba also noted that the Department’s unauthorised expenditure was R41 million for the 2008/9 financial year, and this was carried through to the following year, because R35 million was allocated for funds from the 2010 FIFA World Cup budget during the 2008/9 financial year. Mr Xaba noted that the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) was concluding the investigations on the matter and that the Department would be applying for condonation, so that the Department could proceed to improve its audit outcomes. In the 2011/12 financial year, Mr Xaba noted that there were four instances of irregular expenditure. Three quotations were accepted without proof of tax clearance, and there had also been use of suppliers who, according to the National Treasury database, were prohibited from conducting business with the public sector.

The Chairperson suggested that the Members ask questions per programme, but general questions could be addressed first.

Mr N van den Berg (DA) wanted clarity about the verification measures that the Department had in place to assess whether funds were being utilised for their intended purposes.

The Chairperson raised a follow up question, saying that the Committee was not satisfied with how the entities were being monitored. Their audit reports had not been satisfactory.

The Deputy Minister responded that the Department had a governance body which dealt with accountability, therefore micro-management by external monitors should be avoided.

The Minister added that when the Department transferred funding it would apply the monitoring system. In addition to this a “shareholder agreement” had to be signed, declaring that strategic plans were in place for the proper use of the funds. The Department did have a fully-fledged monitoring and evaluation committee in-house.

Mr P Ntshiqela (COPE) wanted to know what measures the Department had put in place to strengthen its legal systems, in order to avoid court cases or to achieve better results in cases.

The Minister assured the Committee that the Department had its own good lawyers but in some instances Senior Counsel were brought in to assist.
Ms H Van Schalkwyk (DA) wanted to know why managers were failing to comply with performance management and development systems, and what measures had been put in place to address these.

Mr Conrad Greve, Chief Director: Human Resources, Department of Arts and Culture, responded that in comparison to previous years, there had actually been a vast improvement in employees complying with performance measurement systems, as the Department has become stricter on this point. He added that there were, however, a number of reasons why employees did not comply with performance measurement systems, and these might include disputes between the employee and the manager.

Ms L Moss (ANC) noted that the Department had a high vacancy rate at senior management level, and asked what was being done to address that.

Mr S Ntapane (UDM) referred to page 23 of the Annual Report, and asked, in relation to the irregular and fruitless expenditure, what systems of control the Department had in place to increase efficiency and effectiveness on spending. Secondly, he questioned why Sizwe-Ntsaluba had been paid by the Department, having apparently failed to identify the fruitless and irregular expenditure during its audit. Mr Ntapane also raised a concern about the fact that the Department’s audit outcomes were not changing.

Mr Xaba noted that the variances that Mr Ntapane had alluded to on page 23 of the annual report had been explained on pages 26 and 28.He added that the reason why the Department had to make use of external auditors, such as Sizwe-Ntsaluba, was that the Internal Auditor had passed away. The figures that the Committee had requested on how much was paid to this firm would be provided at a later stage. Mr Xaba reminded Members that the Department had made an application for condonation, from National Treasury.

Ms Veliswa Baduza, Chief Operating Officer, Department of Arts and Culture, responded that Sizwe-Ntsaluba was paid R1.6 million for the work it had done for the DAC. The thefts or losses related to equipment handed over by the DAC to officials, which was damaged or lost.

Mr Ntshiqela wanted to know why conditional grants were given to municipalities instead of to provinces. He also wanted to know about the Not-for-Profit Organisations (NPOs), whether they formed part of community initiatives, and how government entities were linked to them.

Mr Xaba said that the NPOs that Mr Ntshiqela were section 21 companies.

Ms R Morutoa (ANC) wanted to know what measures the Department had in place to avoid under-expenditure. She referred to page 28 of the presentation and said that the R49 million pre-payment to Independent Development Trust (IDT) should not have occurred.

Mr Xaba explained that the delays with the IDT were linked to land transfers, a long process, and that the Department had sourced private sector organisations to assist.

Ms Lindi Ndebele-Koka, Acting Chief Director: Cultural Development, Department of Arts and Culture, responded further that the initial appropriation of the funds for the NFVF was intended for the rollout of the digital screens project and to build new cinemas. However, the NFVF then stated that, instead of building new cinemas, digital screens could instead be installed in multi-purpose centres around the country. This failed to align with the initial approval of that funding and for this reason funding was withheld.

Ms Morutoa noted that students in the Western Cape and Northern Cape were receiving bursaries from the Department and wanted to know whether the Department had any plans to extend employment to them after the completion of their studies.

The Chairperson raised a concern over the Department’s use of consultants, rather than creating permanent posts. She pointed out that some of the skills should rather be created in-house. The Committee had requested the DAC organogram. She agreed with other Members that high vacancy rates, especially at senior levels, were of concern, as this would have an impact on the delivery of key objectives.

The Minister responded that the organogram had been approved and that interviews were already taking place. However he noted that the process for employing senior management was lengthy as these appointments had to be approved by Cabinet. The need to speed up the process and reduce backlogs had been communicated to the Cabinet and the President.

Mr Xaba added that the Department had submitted the requested organogram to the Portfolio Committee on various occasions already.

The Chairperson was concerned about communication with stakeholders, and said that the DAC was not using the media well enough. 

Ms Lisa Combrinck, Chief Director: Communications, Department of Arts and Culture, said that one of the reasons why the Department did not communicate well enough with the media was related to under staffing.

Mr Xaba added that the Department was mostly targeting community media as a communication tool, to ensure that those without access to mainstream media would nonetheless receive the information.

Ms Van Schalkwyk wondered whether the 50 artists in the schools in Northern Cape and Western Cape formed part of the school curriculum.

Mr Xaba and Mr M Ledumo, Acting Chief Director: Arts, Social Development & Youth, DAC, both responded that the Department of Basic Education’s curriculum did allow for invitations to be extended to professional artists to assist with the teaching of arts and culture programmes in the schools, from both an academic and practical stance. The artists did not become part of the schools’ permanent staff.

Mr van den Berg stated that performance, in each of the programmes, for the 2011/12 financial year seemed to display many administrative challenges and that the Department failed to implement evaluation tools. He wanted to know precisely how the underperformance of entities was being addressed and corrected.

The Minister responded that the Department, during the 2011/12 financial year, did not have a Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Unit. The next Annual Report would reflect improved monitoring and evaluation for all entities.

Mr S Ntapane (UDM) asked for clarity about how an amount could be declared “immaterial”, referring to the quotation on page 89 of the Annual Report.

Mr Ntapane asked what had caused the delays in the Social Cohesion Programme.

Mr Ntapane drew attention to page 115 of the Annual Report and wanted to know what the Department was doing to deal with the problems in supply chain management.

Ms Ntombi Skhosana, Acting Chief Financial Officer, Department of Arts and Culture, responded that those dealing with supply chain management were currently undergoing training, to improve their results.

Mr Ntapane enquired whether the Department had allocated funds for the training of Human Resource Management staff.

Mr Greve referred Mr Ntapane to page 136 of the Annual Report, noting that the DAC had a target of training 500 staff, and had achieved training of 563 staff. The training was done under the Goods an Services budget, not from the budget of Human Resources.

Mr Ntshiqela (COPE) asked about the nine provincial coordinators who were dismissed and where they were reinstated.

The Minister responded that the nine provincial coordinators were employed under the former ICC, a unit which had since closed down. The coordinators were thereafter reinstated in various units within the Department.

Mr Ntshiqela was not happy with this answer and demanded more clarity.

Mr Greve added that there were still five employees who were wrapping up the work of monitoring expenditure for the ICC for the previous year. They were reinstated after having been retrenched on closure of the units because there was a shortage of skills in the Department.

Mr Ntshiqela asked for further clarity on what “stakeholder engagement” meant and who these stakeholders were.

Mr Xaba responded that stakeholders would include community groups such as artists and the people outside the departments governing system.

The Chairperson enquired about the delays in the achievement of departmental goals and objectives, and whether these could be attributed to capacity constraints.

Mr Xaba responded that these delays were due to lack of management capability. The Department had a system in place to pick up transgressions and fraud, in order to recover losses incurred.

The Chairperson also asked about the roll out of arts and education teachers in rural provinces such as the Eastern Cape.

The Minister responded that that there were currently budget constraints around the rollout of arts and education teachers in the provinces, but the Department aimed to appoint about 3 000 new teachers, increasing the number of teachers provincially from the current figure of 500 teachers, over the next three to four years.

Ms Van Schalkwyk also asked questions about the target of 180 bursaries awarded for the enhancement of skills development, enquiring where the budget came from to achieve 312 bursaries.

Mr van den Berg repeated the question of whether the bursary holders would be invited to work for the Department after the completion of their studies.

Dr Mbulelo Jokweni, Acting Deputy Director General: Arts, Culture, Promotional Development, and Cultural Development and International Relations, Department of Arts and Culture, responded that the target for offering bursaries for students at university was 180 students. However, because universities allocated the funding received in different categories, for instance, books, tuition or study fees, those universities with lower costs were able to spread the funding over more students. He noted that the purpose of the bursaries was to build capacity that would enable these students to enrol in various internship programmes, so there were no job guarantees given by DAC for the learners after completion of their studies.

Ms Ndebele-Koka added, specifically in regard to script-writers, that after completion of their programme most would be absorbed into the film industry. The DAC’s own budget was not sufficient to retain the writers itself.

The Chairperson wanted to know whether the Department had a target for employing arts specialists in rural areas, and where the budget allocation for that would be shown.

Mr Xaba responded that the Department did not fund artists at the schools fully, but only a partial “participation fee” was awarded to these artists.

Ms Van Schalkwyk  wanted to know where the R20 million for Downtown Music came from.
Mr Xaba responded that the Downtown R20 million upgrade was for the infrastructure and that there was a need for similar infrastructure upgrades in other provinces such as the KwaZulu Natal music house, and that the North West is also in the process of renovations.

Ms van Schalkwyk asked if the archives for heritage sites such as Robben Island had been preserved, and whether there were backups of these documents in case the originals were permanently destroyed.

Dr Vusithemba Ndima, Acting Deputy Director General: Heritage, Department of Arts and Culture noted that at Robben Island and other heritage institutions, the recording and preservation of cultural property was the responsibility of these institutions. He would, however, make further enquiries about what was being done and give the information back to the Committee.

Mr Ntshiqela was concerned that there seemed to have been a communications breakdown between the Department and the Dube family.

The Chairperson wondered the learners of the school that was situated in close proximity to the JL Dube Memorial Site would not be disturbed by visitors to the site.

Mr Xaba said that this project was divided into three phases. The Department had made progress by completing the first phase, which was the identification of the family graves. The next step would be to purchase the Dube house and turn it into a memorial site. The Dube memorial site would not hinder the learning processes at the school in the area, since it was not located near to, and would be completely separate from that school.

Mr Ntshiqela still had concerns that the Department was failing to maintain communication with the family.

The Minister responded that he had met with the Dube family on the 30 August 2012 and that the delays here were actually caused by the need still to have funding transferred from the Department of Public Works.

Mr Ntapane wanted to know why hired vehicles damaged by members of the Department were written off, rather than the officials being held responsible.

Mr Xaba noted that when vehicles were hired and damaged, the staff members would be subjected to disciplinary proceedings. If found responsible, they would be required to take responsibility and the cost of the damage would be recovered.

Mr Ntapane asked why there seemed to be such low levels of evaluation of senior management. Drawing attention to pages 146 and 149 of the Annual Report, he wondered why the staff turnover rates were so high. He also questioned the sick leave figures.

Mr Greve stated that the evaluations related not to performance, but to the evaluation of posts to determine salary scales. A new post would need to be evaluated, as well as an existing post in which the job description had been amended. Staff turnover was actually at 4.9%, which was far less than expected in many departments. With regard to sick leave, he noted that an average of eight days in a financial year was also not high.

Ms Moss enquired about the tender process within the Department.

Ms Moss asked what the Department was doing about contractors for the libraries in the North West.

Mr Ntshiqela asked how 24 mini-libraries were constructed, if the target was only 16.

Ms Mushwana asked for an indication of how many libraries were built in villages, and whether the Department had any plan to expand this initiative.

Ms Moss also wondered why libraries in the North West were not completed, and what plan the Department had to fast track the issue of underperforming contractors

Mr Xaba stated that, in respect of the library projects and the development of infrastructure, there were delays in the design and preparation phases, by various contractors. Since then, the DAC had developed a standardised design for all libraries that would cut down on design time.

Ms Morutoa expressed her concerns that there was insufficient monitoring by the Department.

Ms Morutoa wanted to know about the date for the completion of the rock art project, the Sarah Baartman project, and the Gumede Grave in KwaZulu Natal.

Ms Mushwana enquired what informed the division of the revenue in provinces that would explain, for instance, differences in Western Cape and Limpopo.

Dr Ndima responded that the way budgets were allocated was determined by business plans.

The Chairperson wondered why the Solomon Mahlangu project was not approved by the Department, and repeated Ms Morutoa’s question as to how sixteen heritage projects were being evaluated by the Department. Some of these heritage projects, such as the ones in Angola, were not being adequately supported by the Department, and that was of concern.

The Chairperson wanted to know why the funds allocated to Moeshe Heritage Project were not spent.

Ms Baduza stated that the Moeshe Project was a Departmental response to the need for social cohesion. The intention was to build an Arts and Heritage Centre that would cost about R33 million, but this was not done due to a change in the portfolio leadership. However there was a service provider working closely with the department to ensure speedy delivery.

Ms Morutoa enquired about how a tendering committee could overlook a missing Tax Clearance certificate from a contractor.

Mr Mandla Langa, Director: Finance and Administration, Department of Arts and Culture, responded that the prevention of irregular expenditure was reviewed on a monthly basis.

The Chairperson noted that the preservation of national archives was a key concern, and wondered whether the Department had a plan to allocate funds for this purpose, as the survival of these archival records was of utmost importance.

Ms Mandy Gilder, Acting National Archivist, Department of Arts and Culture, responded that the Department was looking into digitalisation of information, for preservation and sharing of archives both nationally and internationally. Annual history conferences focused on bringing in learners, researchers and community members, and providing a platform to share personal stories and interpretations of historical events.

The Minister responded that information on Imbizos would be provided at a later stage as well as a list of which villages were visited.
The Chairperson thanked those participating and expressed the hope that the Department of Arts and Culture would be able to get a clean audit report. The Committee wanted to see improved communication from the Department about various projects, more social cohesion programmes and the efficient monitoring and evaluation of entities.

The meeting was adjourned.


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