The Ditsong Museum briefed the Committee, noting that its last five audits had been unqualified, with no matters of emphasis raised in 2011/12, although the Auditor-General did comment on several technical issues, which were fully set out and explained. Ditsong was formed following an amalgamation of three museum, in 1999, and consisted of natural history, military and cultural history branches. Its Council currently comprised of six members, and had a number of committees, including an audit committee. For many years after the amalgamation, the various museums had simply continued with their work, without any proper assessment or reorganisation. In 2010, a full study was done of each museum’s needs, assessed against its core responsibilities, and budgets were then matched to functions. The ideal staff structure was 331 staff, although presently there was only budget to employ 201 people, 25 contract workers and 22 interns, and many employees were required to multi-task. The mandate and current work on exhibitions were explained. The budget was outlined, noting that income came from entrance fees and hiring charges. Ditsong was requesting additional funding from Department of Arts and Culture and National Treasury, to supplement the grant that it received, and it would sometimes also ask for money from a reserve fund. This would be done to pay for extra staff to implement accounting systems and deal with backlogs in collections in the coming year. It had a challenge in trying to implement the new Generally Recognised Accounting Principle (GRAP) 103, and was seeking permission from National Treasury to delay the changeover until it had capacity to deal with it. Other challenges, for which solutions were also suggested, included valuation, record keeping and accounting for all collections, the urgent need to upgrade electronic security, the backlog in curatorship, which was exacerbated by the advanced age and pensioning of many curators, and the difficulty in attracting more youth to work at the Museum. Visitors were dropping, partially because money was tight, and also because the exhibits needed updating. Ditsong also had difficulty now finding the budget to pay its utilities bill as this was no longer taken care of by the Department of Public Works. The various findings of the Auditor-General were outlined. These included documents not always being available for inspection, incorrect names, non-compliance with National Treasury regulations, inaccurate figures, the need to improve the effectiveness of the audit committee, some payroll and leave discrepancies, failure to sign all performance agreements, and declarations of interest, lack of IT controls, stock counts and updates of the asset register.
Most of Members’ questions centred on employment and staffing issues. The Committee had received a number of letters alleging that there were problems with the unions not being consulted, discrepancies in treatment of black and white staff, problems with pay and other unhappiness. Members asked why staff were required to multi-task, how the shortages of staff and vacancies were addressed, and asked why the reserves could not be used to employ more people. They questioned the equity statistics and compliance. Members of the union NEHAWU spoke about some of the grievances, but noted that the Union had not approached the Council. It was agreed that a meeting must be arranged between management, Council and the Union. Other questions related to the security of collections, the use of the reserves, policies in place, what was being done to encourage employees at the lower ranks to further their qualifications and what was done to promote youth interest. Members also questioned the policies on exhibits, said why Ditsong was concentrating on provincial matters, asked about fund-raising and the investment funding. One Members suggested that not enough time and money was spent on core functions.
Ditsong Museums Audit report 2011/12, and turnaround strategy briefing
The Chairperson noted that this was the first time in seven years that Ditsong Museum (Ditsong) had been before Parliament. The meeting would focus on the audit outcomes for 2011/12 and the turnaround strategy. She noted that some allegations had been forwarded to Parliament that would be clarified during questions by Members. Every citizen had the right to voice grievances, and nobody should be victimized for approaching Parliament. The Committee wished to assist. She stressed that all questions must be answered clearly and fully.
Mr Sibusiso Xaba, Director General, Department of Arts and Culture, introduced Professor Oliphant, Chairperson of Ditsong Museums.
Professor Andries Oliphant welcomed the opportunity to come to Parliament. He noted that for the last five years, Ditsong had received unqualified audits, without matters of emphasis in 2011 and 2012, although there were some other issues that needed to be addressed.
Mr Makgolo Makgolo, Chief Executive Officer, Ditsong, noted that the reason Ditsong had not been invited to Parliament previously was probably due to its unqualified audits. He noted that Ditsong was an amalgamation of three national museums and five historical sites; namely, the Ditsong National Museum of Military History in Johannesburg, the Ditsong National Museum of Natural History (formerly known as the Transvaal Museum), and the Ditsong National Museum of Cultural History. The three museums had amalgamated in 1999, and government had established the Northern and Southern flagship museum institutions. The Southern one was Iziko Museums of Cape Town, and Ditsong was the Northern flagship. The five historical sites were the Kruger House Museum, the Sammy Marks Museum, the Tswane Meteorite Museum in Pretoria, the William Prinsloo Agricultural Museum, and the Pioneer Museum in Pretoria.
Ditsong was overseen by a Council of Trustees appointed by the Minister of Arts of Culture. The current Chairperson was Professor A Oliphant. There were six sitting members as one had recently resigned for pressure of work. Council has committees that met with management on specific issues, prior to the Council meetings. Because there were so few council members, there was some overlap in their responsibilities, as set out on page 5. He named the other Members (see attached presentation for details). The committees included the Committee on core functions, the Committee on corporate services, and the Audit Committee, with an independent chairperson. Council and these committees met four times a year, but other meetings could be called if necessary.
He explained that when he had joined Ditsong in 2003, there had been some discrepancies in the organisational structure, including on employee conditions of service, so job grading was done. Although the amalgamation happened in 1999, the three former entities had continued to act autonomously. To address this, a proper amalgamation was done, focusing on each museum’s core responsibility, and the budget was matched to the functions to correct the situation that previously, more had been put to corporate services than to the core functions. The operations function was also better defined, and the internal audit was now accountable not to management, but directly to the Council. The restructuring was done in consultation with Council, the unions and all members of staff. Although an ideal structure had been formulated, the budget was not large enough to staff it fully, but attention would be paid to this in the future. The position of Executive Director responsible for Core business was not filled yet, but other members of staff had been requested to take over some responsibilities to ensure smooth operations.
At executive level, there were three executive managers, the Chief Executive Officer, the Executive Director: Core Functions and the Executive Director: Corporate Services. There were also two vacancies. There were eight senior management positions, of which four were filled and four vacant. There were 29 middle management and specialist posts, of which 14 were filled. There were 86 supervisors and high skills posts, of which 50 were filled, and 187 at lower grades, of which 107 were filled, and 18 low-skill workers, with 16 filled. In total, the new structure as approved by Council in 2010 comprised 331 posts, and 201 were filled. Employees were being asked to multi-task and would be rewarded for performing over and above what was expected with performance bonuses. There were also 25 contract workers, and 22 people undergoing experiential training.
He then outlined the equity statistics. African employees comprised 72.15%, Indian employees 0.46%, Coloured employees 0.45% and White employees 26.94%.
Mr Makgolo then moved on to describe the main activities of the institution. The core mandate was to deal with collections, conservation, safe management of national heritage collections, research and publication of resulting documents for use by other researchers, the public and students in and outside South Africa. Ditsong would also participate in relevant meetings and conferences nationally and internationally. It rendered heritage-based services to the national, provincial and local government departments, other museums and tertiary institutions locally and internationally, and also the general public. The organisational development was ongoing, as well as two major exhibitions at the Museums of National History and Cultural History, and others were being worked upon. He pointed out that, for those familiar with the National History Museum, the elephant at the entrance had been in the same place since 1959, and the current management was re-working that exhibit, amongst others. He added that Ditsong management also coordinated Council and its Committees’ meetings, prepared quarterly and annual reports, attended Council and management meetings and participated at meetings of the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC or the Department), where necessary.
Ms Noluthando Sakawuli, Internal Audit Unit, Ditsong, tabled the budget highlights (see attached documents). She noted the income from museum revenue, and grants, but said that from time to time Ditsong requested Council to boost this from the reserves, or it could also request additional funding from the DAC if Ditsong was required to take on extra responsibilities. Revenue comprised admission fees to the museum and rental of facilities. Interest was accrued on the reserves. She pointed out that after amalgamation in 1999, each entity had been required also to amalgamate accumulated reserves. There was currently about R30 million, deposited with the Reserve Bank. Ditsong had received a grant also, which comprised 6.9% in 2013/14, but this was expected to fall to around 4.6% of revenue by 2016. Ditsong was currently requesting additional funds from the Department for core functions, as it had not received sufficient additional funding. Ditsong had requested reserve funding to fill seven posts on a three-year contract, mostly to investigate and comply with the Generally Recognised Accounting Principle (GRAP) 103, and to deal with the backlog in collections. She further noted that Ditsong, since the previous year, had had to pay its own water and electricity accounts, which were previously handled by the Department of Public Works (DPW), which impacted on the budget. She outlined the functions handled by Programme 1 and Programme 2, which included inventory track location that was responsible for implementation of GRAP 103, which currently posed some challenges, conservation and restoration, public programmes and exhibitions, natural collections, cultural collections and military collections.
Mr Makgolo reminded Members that of the 331 ideal positions, only 201 were currently filled, partially due to budgetary constraints. He expanded on the GRAP 103, which was a standard that National Treasury required all museums to adopt in order to value, keep records of and account for their collections. This was something that the Auditor-General (AG) would require to be in place. However, no additional funds had been allocated to ensure that this was done, and it carried quite serious cost implications. It would cost several million rands to employ private auctioneers to value some collections, such as artwork, and security would need to be considerably upgraded when people became aware of the values. Theft at museums internationally was on the increase. At the moment, there was insufficient electronic security at the museums, although DAC was addressing this. Some projects had been completed with the help of the DPW, at two museums, but the military museum in particular needed more electronic security. He urged Parliament to assist Ditsong with its application for funding and extra personnel.
Another challenge was the backlog in the curation of collections, coupled with the fact that many of the current curators had already resigned due to their age, were about to go on pension, or had left for other institutions. Many youth were not showing any interest in working for museums, but the DAC was awarding bursaries to students to major in museum-related fields and the museums were hoping to absorb these students when they graduated. Socio economic issues and poor exhibits affect the number of visitors to the museums, which meant that their income was low, and in this regard he noted that exhibitions needed to be constantly changed to maintain interest. He repeated that the utility bill was also affecting the budget, and Ditsong had brought the difficulties to the attention of DPW.
Mr Makgolo said that he was a firm believer in not merely listing challenges but attempting to think of solutions. On the organisational development, he reiterated that staff were multi-tasking, that they were taking on extra work and had shown excellent cooperation. Ditsong was trying to re-align the budget creatively to implement the structure. Both Ditsong and the Director General of DAC had told National Treasury of their plight, but had been told that there were insufficient funds to allow for increases. In regard to the implementation of GRAP 103, Ditsong knew it would be difficult, that it was not ready, and that it would involve major cost implications, all of which had also been conveyed to National Treasury, and DAC would be meeting with Treasury again to discuss the matter, and had requested that the changeover to GRAP 103 should be held back until institutions were ready to implement. Ditsong had indicated to the Auditor General that every effort would be made to update the register and account for all collections, and it was currently doing this. To try to retain staff, Ditsong had training and development programmes. It recognised good performance, undertook ongoing reviews of conditions of service, employed of retired staff on contract when this was deemed necessary, or ran mentorship programmes when it was not possible. A survey on security at museums had been done in 2009, which highlighted problems, and Ditsong was trying to implement the necessary measures, but again was short of funds to complete the exercise. Ditsong had utilised some reserve funding to address some of the problems, but did not want to exhaust this funding in case it was required in the future to fill other needs. The funding it had received via the DAC, from DPW, for security upgrades at some museums had helped, but it was still seeking more. There had been some break-ins, especially at the Cultural History Museum, with a suspicion that the security staff were implicated, but there had been breaches at all. Ditsong was designing new exhibitions.
Mr Makgolo commended his staff for their hard work that had ensured an unqualified audit opinion with no emphasis of matter for 2011 and 2012. There we no material findings on the annual performance report concerning the usefulness and reliability of the information. However, there were 23 findings in relation to the implementation of the organisational development exercise.
The Chief Financial Officer set out the findings, and reported what had been done to address them. The AG had requested a document, and it still reflected the name of the “Northern Flagship Institution”, so this had to be corrected, which was done. There was not alignment with Treasury Regulations, but it had been agreed with the AG that the amendment would take place at the start of the new financial year, to bring the documentation in line with the new pending Treasury Regulation. The revised policy would also be submitted to the Audit Committee and Council. The Action Plan included deadlines now for employees, and quarterly reports were being submitted to the AG. An inaccurate surplus was reflected in the January and March budgets, and Ditsong was now required to submit monthly reviews to ensure that there were no discrepancies. The AG had made a finding on the effectiveness of the audit committee, and Ditsong had undertaken to make the necessary changes by April. Their effectiveness would also be assessed quarterly and submitted to the AG. Some supporting documents could not be produced for inspection, but to address this, a document movement register was being put in place, and only authorised personnel would have access to the filing room, monitored by the Finance Manager and Clerk.
The AG also made a finding on payroll, and all unsigned certificates had been returned for signature, and the Human Resources (HR) manager had followed up to ensure that supporting documentation was available. The AG commented that leave balances were not reconciled properly, and management was now reviewing the forms and reconciling these against the records. Provision for leave was also calculated incorrectly, and again, this was being reconciled. The AG found that not all performance agreements had been signed. The Chief Financial Officer noted that there were some difficulties with some union members but the position had improved, with 93% of agreements now being signed. The AG commented that employees had not declared their interests as required, and this too had been addressed, with two declarations outstanding.
The AG found lack of general controls over the IT environment. The DAC, in collaboration with the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) had now committed to address the gaps, SITA had conducted a survey and Ditsong was awaiting a quotation on the costs to submit to the AG. The AG had found that no proper stock counts were done. New procedures were being developed, discussed and distributed at the road show procedures scheduled for 20 March 2013. The fixed asset register had not been updated, but that had since been addressed, with assets disposed of being removed, and new ones added. From March 2013 the asset register would be uploaded on ACCPAC and maintained on a monthly basis. The AG found a technical error on the Accounts Payable Module, that did not update when an Age Analysis was being done, and this would be addressed on the upcoming week. The suspense account was not reduced to zero at year end, but here it was noted that the AG did not understand that this was not a typical account, and that unidentified deposits would continue to be shown in the financial statements until they were identified or could be transferred to the correct accounts. However, the name of the account had been changed from “Suspense Account” to “Unidentified Deposits Accounts”. The AG reported that certain items were not included when reporting on the pre determined objectives, in one of the quarterly reports, but this had since been resolved.
Ms Neo Malao, Acting Executive Director: Core functions, Ditsong, noted that this museum followed the S-M-A-R-T principles for the strategic objectives. She noted that the quarterly reports were drawn, but the second, third and fourth were based on the revised strategic plans that were approved in mid-August. She noted that issues raised in relation to the operations had been addressed and Ditsong had implemented combined assurance whereby all management and council had to endorse the reports. This would become more evident as Ditsong moved on.
Mr Hlophe, Finance Manger, Ditsong, noted that the AG had found that the credit policy was not adhered to, but he attributed this to the lack of capacity, staff movement and non-completion, at the time, of staff training. The training was now complete, all personnel were compliant with the policy and Ditsong was now engaging with debt collectors to improve collections. The next finding by the AG was on a similar issue; at the time of the audit, Ditsong had a once-off arrangement with a client for use of facilities but had not finalised the contract and therefore had not billed. Controls were now in place and were functioning very well.
Mr D Mavunda (ANC) sought more clarity on the three national museums and two historical sites.
Mr Makgolo explained that amalgamation had meant the integration of the structure of the museums, which was done when government realised it should not continue to fund several museums, all with different concepts and different boards, but rather to try to share services in a more effective way. The museums were integrated in name, but had continued to operate with the same staff and structures, with little separation for instance between core business and corporate services. The integration exercise should have been done earlier to identify the needs of the integrated organisation, such as deciding how many curators were needed. This exercise was done when he took office, and that had resulted in the figure of 301 staff, although it was realised that there was not sufficient budget at the time.
Mr N van den Berg (DA) said that the vacancy rate was very high, particularly at lower levels, and he wondered why the jobs were not filled. He questioned if people were not interested in working at museums, and how the wages were in comparison with other institutions.
He also wanted more information on the contract workers
Mr S Ntapane (UDM) also questioned the vacancies and thought that perhaps the money in the reserve fund should be used to employ more people. He also questioned why there were so many contract workers employed.
Mr Ntapane noted the comment on multi-tasking but asked if the employees were not being over-worked, and what the reason was for doing this rather than employing more people.
Ms H Msweli (ANC) also questioned why funds were still being held in reserve although there were insufficient staff.
Ms Msweli asked how Ditsong would ensure that it employed more African people in management positions. She noted that there was no reference to disabled employees.
Mr D Mavunda (ANC) asked for a gender breakdown of the staff.
Ms L Moss (ANC) asked if Ditsong Museums was compliant with Employment Equity Policy, asking for an assessment by the Department of Labour.
Mr Morutoa was also concerned about the demographics and questioned why African people were placed in the lower posts, and how Ditsong intended to address this point.
The Chairperson made reference again to the letters that the Committee had received, noting that they had been submitted by individuals and unions. She noted the presence of the union NEHAWU. Ms Heydenrych seemed to have a major problem with the institution. She asked whether Ditsong and the unions would have regular meetings on staff issues, and what the relationships were like, saying that if they were healthy, she doubted whether she would have received these letters. She stressed again that it was the right of anyone to address Parliament and nobody should feel victimized because they had done so. She noted that there were allegations of white and black staff being treated differently.
The Chairperson differed with Mr Makgolo on the attitude of the youth, and felt that instead of making the statement, the Museum should actively seek out youth, and raise awareness of the careers that could be available to them. She suggested that it should be partnering with the Department of Education.
Ms Moss asked about the learnerships, saying that this consumed quite a large percentage f the budget, and wanted to know what goals this programme had within Ditsong.
The Chairperson also noted the comment on low-skilled staff and believed that the institution should be training its own staff to move up through the ranks. She urged that the curators’ skills must be passed on to younger staff.
The Chairperson asked why the performance management agreements were still not signed by some employees.
Mr Ntapane agreed that this was a vital point that must be addressed.
Ms F Mushwana (ANC) said that South Africa had a problem of unemployment and felt that the Museum should be attempting to employ more people.
Mr Makgolo linked his response on these questions to his earlier explanation of the whole reorganization of the design, and the staff complement, which Ditsong knew it did not have sufficient budget to fill, at the moment. That was why employees were required to multi-task. He was only too well aware that there was a danger that they would be over-worked and that this could affect their performance, hence his approach several times to National Treasury for more funding.
Mr Makgolo answered questions on the gender statistics by saying that it must be remembered that the Ditsong was a merger of other museums that had been in existence for many years. They had, traditionally, been run by white employees. The other staff were being encouraged to study or take courses, and efforts were constantly being made to improve the balance.
Mr Makgolo reiterated that employment of the youth was a major concern. There were 15 interns taken in, and there was cooperation on this with the Department of Tourism, but it depended on the budget available. The learnerships were intended to get young people to work at the museum.
The Human Resources Manager, Ditsong, said that the contract employees were one way of ensuring that when bookings of large groups were made, contract employees would come in to take the tours. Otherwise they were not required to be at the Museum on a daily basis.
She followed up on Mr Makgolo’s remarks and said that Ditsong did have an employment equity policy, that it was compliant with Department of Labour requirements, that it had made a submission this year.
In regard to the performance agreements, she noted that those who had not yet signed were at a level lower than managerial levels.
The gender representativity was explained as 87% African females and 52% African males, White females were 25%, Indian male and female were 0.46 %, Coloured male and female was 0.45%. The majority of employees were African females, followed by African Male, then White female.
Mr Naude, a NEHAWU Union member, said that NEHAWU agreed with the Committee that job creation was a problem. Employees were leaving organisations when they were not properly paid for their professional skills and the only way to win them back would be to create jobs.
The Chairperson asked Mr Naude if there were regular meetings between management and what the relationship was between the Council and Union. She also wondered if the Union felt it could approach the Council if dissatisfied with management decisions, and if the Union was generally satisfied with the work and labour relations.
Mr Naude responded that there were not regular meetings, and the Union dealt only with management, and had no relationship with the Council, although he conceded this could be a logical step to take. He had many grievances on the corporate vision, and wondered how the problems of a shrinking organisation could be addressed. Most of the problems related to labour issues such as interviews and interventions, and sometimes the Recognition Agreement was breached. The main problem with the organisational development was that it was not taken through a consultative process and that was why some members refused to sign their performance agreements. Many previously disadvantaged staff were “stuck” at lower levels. NEHAWU wanted to participate in all forums. Some exhibitions had been standing incomplete since 2009. Despite the Recognition Agreements, the union would simply be told that policies were approved, whether or not the Union agreed.
The Chairperson said that she had not been happy with the response from the HR Officer and said that usually, a failure to get performance agreements signed meant that employees were not happy. She had the impression that there were other problems around pay.
In regard to the specific questions as to why the reserves could not be used to employ staff (see above), Mr Makgolo explained again that the reserve account had resulted from an amalgamation of the reserves that had accrued to each of the museums prior to their integration. It would not be sustainable to use these for personnel, because this would lead to problems once the reserves were exhausted.
Ms Sakawuli also referred to the budget, and pointed out again that in 2013/14 the reserves were estimated at R5.365 million, in 2014/2015 at R1.773 million and in 2015/2016 at R1.879 million. Money had been requested from the reserve fund for the current financial year, to fill seven critical posts and to pay the utility accounts, as well as to fund furniture and computers for the new staff.
Mr Xaba, Director General, DAC, also explained why the reserves could not be used in general for vacancies. DAC encouraged all its entities to diversify their incomes so that they did not rely solely on state funding. It was important to have reserves, but regrettably National Treasury would sometimes regard the fact of reserves to justify budget cuts. DAC wanted to protect the reserves as far as possible. He said that none of the museums were being properly funded and the issue was being discussed with National Treasury, and further requests were being motivated. DAC was doing a full and current costing of running a museum, taking into account the modern needs. A larger Council would also be required.
Mr van den Berg noted that exhibits were changing and he said that he had a strong view that they should in fact not be changed drastically, although it was possible to add to them. He felt that the DAC must do more to promote museums as he never saw anything substantial in the media. He stressed the importance of museums, and their work in preserving the history of South Africa, particularly given its diverse society. He felt strongly that a special drive was needed to increase people’s awareness of their history.
Mr Ntapane noted the reference to the launch of two exhibitions on page 10, but was dissatisfied that Ditsong had not reached its targets, and wanted to know why. He also asked, in relation to page 14, why four exhibits had affected the income negatively, and asked what the cause was for the poor exhibits.
Professor Oliphant said that exhibits were not being changed so much as modernised. He stressed that digitisation, multi-media and internet had been incorporated to make the experience of visitors richer. The National History collections were world-class, but appeared stuffy and old-fashioned, out of touch with technology. The plans definitely showed great improvements.
Ms Malao noted the comment on poor exhibits but said that there were some projects in the pipeline. In April 2013, Ditsong would be launching an exhibit profiling the history of the Capital of South Africa. Quite a few exhibits would be launched later, concentrating on the biodiversity of cultural history in South Africa.
Mr Themba Ndebele-Monyela, Director, Military Museum, noted that the Military Museum currently had adverts running on Radio 702 about an exhibit on the Battle of Britain, and this exhibit would be running for the next six months. He noted that Ditsong had been interacting with the Gauteng Provincial Department of Education to arrange for schools to visit this museum. Ditsong had also negotiated with the Department of Sports and Recreation, as well as Department of Arts and Culture, and was in the process of finalising an agreement with the City of Johannesburg to work on all monuments in the city. It was furthermore engaging with the Department of Tourism in Gauteng.
The Chairperson said that Ditsong was a National Museum and not a provincial one, and the focus should not be only on one province.
Mr Ndebele-Monyela confirmed that Ditsong was also reaching out to the national level.
Professor Oliphant explained that the collections were fully representative of the whole country. For instance, the Natural History Museum displayed animals and birds from the whole country. However, the fact that it was located in Pretoria meant that it was usually people from that province and town who accessed that museum. The cultural policy developed in 1994 had tried to establish a Southern and Northern Flagship, with the intention that central collections should be established, so that whilst certain would be housed at one museum at one time, they would also travel to Iziko and the Eastern parts of the country. However, the process was not yet fully developed. The DAC was looking at the architecture of the entities, and there was talk of consolidation of museums in the Eastern and central parts of the country.
Mr Ntapane asked what was done about the burglary in 2008, and how much was stolen.
Mr van den Berg enquired if the exhibits were properly preserved, whether they were in the correct conditions of humidity and temperature, and if they were protected against, for instance water damage.
When the question was not immediately answered, Mr van den Berg said that if there was any doubt, the response should be in the negative, because the committee would investigate.
Mr Ntapane also repeated his question as to whether there was an inventory and proper stock count of items stolen during the burglary. He also asked if movable assets were stolen, and, if so, how.
Professor Oliphant said that he must concede that collections and valuable items were not protected securely at the moment.
Revenue and fund raising
Ms Msweli questioned how Ditsong intended to increase its revenue by such a large percentage between 2014 and 2015 financial years. A similar concern was also expressed by Ms L Moss (ANC). She asked how Ditsong would ensure that it had sufficient paying visitors to ensure that it met targets. She asked who was responsible for fund-raising and how it was done, and Ms Moss also repeated this question.
Mr D Mavunda (ANC) wanted to know the terms of office and when they would end.
The Chairperson noted that the Act required Ditsong to have seven councillors, not six, and would be checking with the researchers whether it was legally constituted at the moment.
Professor Oliphant wanted to explain more about the Council. When it was originally constituted, there were actually eight members. Two had resigned, and this had coincided with a change in the Minister of Arts and Council. He had written to the new Minister, asking for a new appointment. Three members were appointed, but Ditsong had been unable to trace and contact one of the new appointees. The other two people came on board, but one had later resigned, although to date his formal letter of resignation was still awaited. He agreed that the Act required a certain number of appointees, and this point had been discussed by Council.
Mr Makgolo noted that the term of office would end in June.
Policies for assets and investments
Ms M Morutoa (ANC) commended the unqualified audit report She, however, wanted to know if the Museum had any policies for use of investments, and, if so, what was done with the investment funding. She also questioned what other forms of revenue generation were considered.
Ms Moss asked if there was an asset policy at Ditsong.
Audit and accounting issues
The Chairperson pointed out to the Chief Executive Officer that when an entity received an unqualified audit, this did not necessarily mean that the entity did not have any problems.
The Chairperson said that whilst she had heard the comments on the difficulty in complying with GRAP 103, there were other smaller institutions, such as the William Humphreys Art Gallery, that were managing to comply.
Mr van den Berg said that, looking at the budget, he felt that too much money was being spent on operations and administrative items, instead of focusing on core business.
Ms Morutoa felt very strongly that another meeting and more time was needed.
Mr Ntapane said some very strong allegations were made and he thought that this meeting had not managed to do justice to all the issues. He felt all allegations should be grouped together and a further date arranged for a full response.
Ms Msweli wondered if the allegations from the unions related to other institutions as well.
The Chairperson asked Mr Makgolo if he had signed a performance agreement, and he confirmed that he had.
The Chairperson reiterated that the Committee wanted to establish confidence in the entities. It was not pleasant if investigation teams had to be sent in. She accepted that there may be personal issues, and said that people should be able to approach management, as the doors should be open to employees, although senior management did not always seem keen to meet with the lower levels, and should be dealing with every issue raised in an honest way. Unions and Council should be able to meet with the AG. Security was vital and must be seriously investigated.
Ms Morutoa said that the presentation seemed to suggest that the internal workings of Ditsong were quite good, contrary to what some of the letters suggested. However, the Committee had to take all allegations and complaints seriously, and some were referred from the Department of Labour.
The Chairperson confirmed the last point, and said that the complaints were not anonymous.
Professor Oliphant noted that Ditsong was aware of some of the allegations and said that his door was open to any labour union or member.
Mr Makgolo confirmed that a meeting would be arranged with himself, Council and NEHAWU. He asked to be provided with copies of the letters.
The Chairperson said this would be done, but stressed that nobody should be victimised.
The meeting was adjourned.
- We don't have attendance info for this committee meeting
Download as PDF
You can download this page as a PDF using your browser's print functionality. Click on the "Print" button below and select the "PDF" option under destinations/printers.
See detailed instructions for your browser here.