Arts and Culture Budgetary Review and Recommendation Report (BRRR) 2012

Arts and Culture

23 October 2012
Chairperson: Ms T Sunduza
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Meeting Summary

The Committee gave various recommendations after deliberating on the Budgetary Review and Recommendation Report. Recommendations included the need for: timelines to be given, bursaries to be spread to all provinces and the information on this provided, monitoring of entities, reducing the use of consultants, filling vacancies, guidelines for monitoring and evaluation, finalisation of projects in the pipeline, unannounced visits to schools and various projects, training of language professionals as quickly as possible, having information on Memoranda of Understanding, an update on ‘unspent funds’,  the marketing of museums, reasons why targets were not met, bring provinces together, proper management of funds and follow up on recommendations.

Meeting report

The Chairperson presented the draft Arts and Culture Budgetary Review and Recommendation Report. The Committee Secretary had compiled it based on the comments made last week by the Committee.

Mr N van den Berg (DA) said that the statement ‘The Fraud Prevention Implementation Plan was developed and approved for implementation by the end of the financial year’ was far too broad and needed to be clarified. He had a problem with this statement as it did not speak to time lines.

The Chairperson said the recommendation should state that there was a need for a time frame. This target also needed to be met before the end of the financial year.

The Chairperson said that bursaries needed to be spread to all provinces and all disadvantaged communities. This was not just black people as all races had disadvantaged people. When the Department had been asked, it had not provided the information on bursary demographics.

The Chairperson said that the Committee had raised monitoring of entities before. It seemed these entities were not being monitored and there was a need to monitor them. Entities also needed to ensure that they had boards.

Mr S Ntapane (IFP) said the Department had set targets but then seemed not to monitor these targets. When targets were not achieved, the reasons they gave for this were often ones that could have been identified early on, had they been monitored.

Mr van den Berg said in terms of key challenges and successes, the measurements put in place did not speak to each other. There needed to be strong links which would allow for problems to be identified earlier. The various programmes needed to speak to each other in order to prevent further damage.

Ms T Nwamitwa-Shilubana (ANC) said her concern was that an organogram had been shown that was not 100% complete. The question was thus how would one monitor activities if there was no structure that allowed for oversight at all levels? The higher levels could not see what was happening in the lower levels.

Ms L Moss (ANC) agreed that the various programmes did not speak to one another. The structure seemed to not allow for this.

The Chairperson said she wanted to raise the matter of ineffective management. There seemed to be constant delays when one looked at annual performance.

The Chairperson said that there was no need for all the consultants

Mr van den Berg said that the issue of consultants was getting out of hand and was a department-wide problem.

Mr D Mavunda (ANC) asked if it was fruitful to go through the paper in a systematic so that one could properly speak to the various programmes.

Mr Samuel Mahatlane, Parliamentary Liaison Officer in the Office of the Minister, said most of the issues being addressed required the attention of monitoring and evaluation. He suggested that the Committee request that a task team be established that included a representative from each institution to evaluate the plans that had been submitted for a particular quarter. This would also include the Departmental Body Chair who would assist in terms of whatever findings of wrongdoing there were in areas such as finances or asset management.

Ms Nwamitha said what Mr Mahatlane had said was quite clear. However when one spoke of monitoring and evaluation one needed guidelines. This seemed to be one of the weaknesses in the Department. Junior officials came to the Department quite new and there were no guidelines.

Mr van den Berg said that it would seem that projects were devised which were good but the follow through was often lacking.

The Chairperson said that the recommendation needed to be made that on the various boards it was important for some members to have a working knowledge of cultural issues as well as administrative issues. Boards perhaps needed to be trained.

The Chairperson said that the issue of investing in culture and capital projects needed to be finalised. This was also the case with all the lagging projects.

Performing arts
Mr van den Berg said that it was important after the big events that the country was able to reap the fruits. There needed to be something that came after. For example, with National Youth Day, had the seeds of something good been sown?

Mr van den Berg said that there was a need for the Committee to make unannounced visits especially in schools in order to see what truly happened there. This needed to be done in the programmes for schools and the programmes for vulnerable persons.

Mr van den Berg said that when money was not spent it took away opportunities from people. There was a need to monitor money, if it was spent on a project then there needed to be some worth gotten from the project.

Mr Ntapane said when one looked at the key challenges the main question was who was suffering? There were no consequences for the people who caused these failures. R31 million remained unspent which was a great deal of money. There needed to be consequences to these actions.

Mr Mavunda said that vacant posts needed to be filled as quickly as possible. This would help the Department to achieve most of its targets.

The Chairperson asked why programmes stopped because officials resigned. This spoke to the lack of cohesion within the Department.

Mr P Ntshiqela (COPE) said he had a problem with the Department saying ‘civic participation’. It went outside the ambit of what they meant when they spoke of non-profit organisations. He had never seen the Department support any programmes that involved ‘civic participation’. He knew the ‘institution’ being referred to was not government institutions but they needed to continue to term them ‘stakeholders’ as the Department had not participated much with civic organisations or given them a platform.

National Language service
Mr Ntapane said the issue of trained language professionals was very important but how could oversight be done if there was no timeframe?

Ms H Van Schalkwyk (DA) agreed that once the Official Use of Languages Bill came into place the trained professionals would be of utmost importance, there needed to be a time frame.

Mr Ntshiqela asked if it would be possible to recommend that in the area of dictionary production, if there could be a think tank of people who had engaged with the language on a personal level and not just those ‘consultants’.

Mr van den Berg asked for the Memorandum of Understanding with the Dutch Language Union. He said it was important for him as a language speaker to know what was being done with the Dutch.

Ms Moss said there had been a great number of Memoranda of Understanding with various countries but the Committee never seemed to get copies of them.

Cultural Development
Ms H Van Schalkwyk (DA) said that there were 11 official languages and 10 were indigenous languages. She had a problem with the document speaking of nine indigenous languages.

Mr Ntapane said that the fact that strategies were not developed showed that the Department was not serious in implementing its targets.

Mr Ntapane said that the Department needed to unpack the point that they had “acted upon the recommendations of the Committee” as the Committee needed to know what they were being implicated in if anything.

Mr Mavunda said time frames were needed for the various projects mentioned.

Heritage Promotion
Mr Ntshiqela asked about the funds that had been transferred but not spent by the Independent Development Trust in terms of the Muyexe and Ngquza project, why had this been the case? He asked for an update on all the previously stated ‘unspent funds’ as it would seem some of these funds that had previously not been spent, had now been spent. They were however still being recorded as being unspent.

The Chairperson said she did not feel the museums were fully marketed and this was an issue that needed to be taken up with the Tourism Department. Museums could not rely on government support, they needed to support themselves through their own economic activity. Most of the heritage spaces were ‘in a mess’ but they were so important.

Ms Van Schalkwyk asked for information on all the heritage agencies so that the Committee could see what they did and then look to make recommendations on streamlining their functions.

Mr Ntapane said there was no reason given why the Sarah Baartman project competition had not been achieved this year. There needed to be reasons given for why targets were not achieved.

Ms Moss said the Committee had been told that the project would have been completed in 29 months but this had not been the case.

Mr Ntapane said that there was money not accounted for and this needed to be raised.  The money needed to be accounted for.

Mr van den Berg said South African art needed to be cherished as other African artists and Chinese were pushing out South African artists.

The Chairperson said that there was a great amount of competition between provinces with some provinces saying they owned heritage sites. The provinces needed to be brought together.

Ms Moss asked how the people were benefiting from these various projects? Had there been any social investment coming from these projects or did the events just happen for the sake of it?

Ms Moss wanted to know about the Memorandum of Understanding between the Department and the Department of Tourism.  The Committee had never met with the Department of Tourism and it was not right for things to happen behind closed doors.

National Archives, Records, Libraries and Heraldic Services
Mr van den Berg said that there was a great deal of money being mismanaged and the Department and its officials were not listening to the politicians. The Committees had scrutinized the documents and he did not understand why the Committee had to raise these issues. Why did the politicians have to tell the Department how to do their work? There was a great deal of money unspent and he did not understand it. He wanted the officials to come and explain how they understood these documents, as this state of affairs was worrying.  

The Chairperson said the archives and library unit felt like a “by the way” unit. She said it was important that if money was transferred, it was important to monitor it. If it was not used in one province, then it needed to be moved.

The Chairperson said that she had seen the same thing in these reports year after year. It seemed like there was no will to properly implement targets.

General issues
Mr Ntapane said that for the Department to spend more than R14 million on legal costs was unacceptable. The Department needed to find other means of solving problems. The Department needed to be wary of going to court with their employees. It came to an issue of being negligent.

Mr Ntshiqela said when the Committee went on oversight, it made recommendations which were recorded properly. However it seemed that there was a need to do follow up to see that the institutions and the Departments had taken them to heart and things were being done effectively. There was a need to check if the recommendations achieved what they were meant to achieve.

Mr van den Berg said that he felt this Committee was not divided along political lines and all present focused on the issues. The Committee was unanimous about the issues and it was time that the officials got their act together. This could not be allowed to carry on.

The meeting was adjourned


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