Deputy Minister and Department of Arts and Culture on the 2013 Annual Performance Plan

NCOP Education and Technology, Sports, Arts and Culture

08 May 2013
Chairperson: Ms M Makgate (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture was present for the afternoon briefing on the Department's 2013/14 Annual Performance Plan. A situational analysis of the DAC environment was provided, plus its emerging strategic goals and objectives, linked to each DAC's programme. Performance indicators and targets for each of these goals and programmes were outlined. The Community Library Service conditional grant would be R588 million for 2013/14. There were 26 public entities reporting to the DAC and the budget allocation for each of these, plus for each department programme, were provided. The Department also specified were it would be applying budget cuts of 1%, 2%, and 3% for each year of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework 2013/14 to 2015/16.

Members concerns included the need for the Department to list the Select Committee amongst its key stakeholders. They felt that some provinces were neglected when it came to having theatres. There was a request for information about the procedure to follow for certain areas within provinces to be included as heritage sites and places of remembrance. The Department was asked how communities could request libraries to be built in their areas A Member suggested that municipalities not the National DAC should plan for and provide libraries. The DAC explained that libraries was a provincial function. Some Members could not understand why the Department accepted a 10% vacancy rate instead of filling all vacancies. They also wanted to know where the '150 000 jobs created over five years' would be and whether they were sustainable.

The Department briefly explained its new DAC Sector-Wide Strategic Planning process to promote integrated, meaningful sector planning.

Meeting report

Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) 2013/14 Annual Performance Plan & Budget
Mr Sibusiso Xaba, DAC Director General, briefed the Select Committee by providing a situational analysis of DAC's performance and organisational environments, and its strategic goals and objectives, linking these to DAC's programmes. He then spoke about the selected indicators and targets for each of these goals and programmes. The presentation mentioned the Community Library Service conditional grant (R588 million for 2013/14) and provided details about the 26 public entities reporting to the DAC. The budget allocation per programme and per entity was provided, showing that 77% of its funding went to public entities and only 23% was spent by the DAC itself. On the Medium Term Expenditure Framework 2013/14 to 2015/16, the focus would be on reprioritisation, identifying savings and applying budget cuts of 1%, 2%, and 3% over the MTEF.

Ms B Mncube (ANC, Gauteng) asked where the planned Imbizos would be held, and what criteria were used to decide which province would host those Imbizos. The reason for the question was that the Member wanted to inform her constituency about the process of securing the hosting venue. She asked how the Department planned to build Community libraries, and how the communities could request libraries to be built in their areas. She asked for the number of schools in the country and how many of these would get the national flag in 2013. She suggested that all government buildings should have the national flag flying proudly. She raised her concern that the Select Committee was not mentioned as a key stakeholder in the presentation document. Lastly, she asked about the progress done to organise the arts and culture sector.

Mr Xaba replied that the Department was planning to hold Imbizos in all provinces. Community dialogue was started in 2012 and would be held in all provinces. He apologised on behalf of the DAC communications section for not mentioning the Committee amongst its key stakeholders. He said that South Africa had an estimated 25 000 schools, however it was not easy to reach schools in the deep rural areas. In the past only one service provider was awarded a tender to do the work in delivering flags, then the Department  decide that it would appoint one service provider for each province who had an intimate knowledge of that particular province. Another idea was that of encouraging eminent people to provide flags for their former schools or for disadvantaged schools that they had identified.

Dr Joe Phaahla, Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture, apologised for not mentioning the name of the Select Committee on Education as a key stakeholder. He emphasised that his Department would never sideline any Committee of Parliament. He would see to it that the communications department would ensure that it not happen in future.

Mr Puleng Kekana, Director: Library Policy and Coordination, replied that identification of areas to build new facilities was the responsibility of the MEC for Arts and Culture, occasionally the Minister identified a particular area in consultation with the community concerned.

Mr W Faber (DA Northern Cape) asked how DAC had come up with the number of 150 000 jobs that it said would be created by March 2016 in arts, culture and heritage, and whether the jobs would be sustainable or not. He wanted to know the success rate for creating jobs. Did the Department get value for money, and did the jobs enable the beneficiaries to live decent lives?

Mr Xaba explained that the Department had planned to create 150 000 jobs over a period of five years. In the past financial year, 23 000 jobs were created and many of them were temporary because they were linked to specific events in different places. Legacy projects created 1 200 jobs; 1 317 jobs were created through art projects. Some of the jobs were created through the construction phase and others through the operational phase of such projects. The Freedom Park created 300 jobs, the National Heritage Monument created 26 jobs, the Steve Biko Centre for Memories created 363 jobs while the Amatola Monument created 123 jobs. He emphasised that all the jobs that had been created were spread across all the provinces.

Ms M Moshodi (ANC, Free State) asked the number of jobs that had been created by the Mzansi Golden Economy, and how many would be created for the 2013/14 financial year. Heritage institutions countrywide complain about inadequate funding or a lack of funding, especially Moslem organisations. What plans were in place to ensure that Arts and Culture organisations were self sustainable by generating their own income? Rural communities do not have access to libraries, what plans were in place to remedy the situation?

Mr Xaba replied that there were lots of museums in the country but in Cape Town lots of government-funded museums were clustered under one institution known as Iziko, Pretoria and Bloemfontein had also gone a similar route. He said that it would be an ideal situation if heritage institutions could become self sustainable. The Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) stipulated that all public institutions were required to declare surplus funds. Robben Island and the other institutions that had made some profit would then get less funding from Treasury.

Ms Monica Newton, National Arts Council CEO, explained that it was an ideal situation to organise art workers but in reality it was one of those scenarios where you could take the water to the water but you could never make horse to drink the water. She said that the Department had been working with the organised artists and other artists organisations. In creating the partnerships, the Department would then be able to have a good working relationship with those organisations. Sectors such as crafts were largely unorganised, unlike performing arts, music, visual arts and film. The Craft Union of South Africa (CUSA) was doing a wonderful job of trying to organise the craft sector.

Mr T Makunyane (ANC Limpopo) said that it was not a good idea to build and maintain libraries from central government. Libraries worked very well when they were run by local authorities. He cited the example of Polokwane that had four libraries run by the municipalities. Provincial Libraries were inaccessible to ordinary people. He noted that Polokwane municipality had availed land for building a theatre but nothing had happened so far.

Mr Xaba explained that larger cities and metros have the capacity and systems to run libraries efficiently and he cited the example of Cape Town and Bloemfontein. Thus the Community Library Service Grant in Gauteng and the Western Cape was transferred to Gauteng and Western Cape provinces. The building of libraries was not a municipal function but a provincial function in terms of the Constitution. In cases where some municipalities did not have the capacity, then the Department had built libraries through the provincial Department of Arts. There were instances where some municipalities had said that they had built libraries on paper but there was no library in reality. Limpopo, Mpumalanga, the Eastern Cape and the Northern Cape do not have a theatre, only five provinces had theatres under the Department. Funding had been earmarked for a theatre in Northern Cape. Mpumalanga had a plan to develop a cultural precinct and a museum.

Deputy Minister Phaahla noted that his Department had inherited most playhouses, but new museums like the John Langalibalele Dube in KwaZulu-Natal and Oliver Tambo in the Eastern Cape were newly developed entities. The Department was in the process of correcting the imbalances of the past across all activities such as festivals and other cultural activities that create jobs. That kind of initiative would ensure access for our people in other provinces. Many provinces had their own festivals but they were not on the same level as Macufe in Mangaung and the Cape Town Jazz Festival. He mentioned that while he had been the MEC for Education and Sports in Limpopo, some sports centres were built but they were not fully utilised and remained white elephants. The sports centres ended up being used for weddings and funerals. The Department had learned that initiatives that were taken by local authorities and supported by the provinces were more likely to be successful.  The DAC wanted to avoid a situation where the national Department would decide to build a theatre in Mpumalanga just because there was no theatre in that province. That would lead to a situation where the province would expect the facility to be maintained by the national Department.

Mr M De Villiers (DA, Western Cape) wanted to know if the jobs created in the heritage sector were sustainable. It was strange that the Department wanted to maintain 10% vacancy levels rather than reduce that rate. He asked if the entities funded by the DAC were submitting audited reports.

Mr Xaba explained that Department wanted to keep the vacancy rate as low as possible, two years ago the vacancy rate was 42%. There were many factors that contributed to the vacancy rate, people resigned, died, or got other jobs or even opened their own businesses. All funded entities were expected to submit quarterly reports and audited financial statements.

Mr Kekana explained that jobs were created when museums were built. Permanent jobs would be available when those museums were operational.

Ms Rantho D (ANC, Eastern Cape) raised a concern about the problem provinces were complaining that national departments, including Arts and Culture, were “parachuting” programmes into the provinces without even consulting or informing provincial legislators. She asked whether the 20 year celebrations had already started. She requested that information be forwarded regarding jobs created per region. In the Joe Gqabi region of the Eastern Cape where the Tele Bridge was situated, the regional Legkotla felt that the Department was silent about the role that the bridge had played for ANC cadres (who used it when skipping the country to receive training to fight the Apartheid regime). She conveyed the Joe Gqabi region’s wish to make the Tele Bridge a heritage site.

Ms Rantho asked about the person who was responsible for repairing heritage sites after natural disasters.  A library in Dukathole in Aliwal North was damaged by a storm. The surrounding community was battling to reach another library that was far away.  She asked for the reason that the money for libraries and archives had gradually been declining.

Mr Xaba explained that the Department had never experience any complaints from the Provinces about "parachuting" programmes. The MinMEC structure was functional and ensured that there were no communication bottlenecks and programmes were planned collectively. The 20 years of Freedom Celebrations had been planned to start on 27 April 2013, Freedom Day. Due to unforeseen hassles, the plan had been taken to the Cabinet for approval then it would certainly kick off after the approval.

Mr Themba Ndima, DDG: Heritage, said that the Tele Bridge route lent itself to the Liberation Heritage Route. Provinces were required to identify three projects that could be piloted in each province. Once that pilot had been done, other projects would be rolled.

New Strategic Planning process within the Department
Due to time constraints, the Director General presented only a summary of the presentation on its new initiative for its Strategic Planning process which dealt with the planning challenges within the DAC and its sector, initiatives to deal with the challenges, strategic and operational linkages and the rollout of the strategic rollout process.

In analyzing the planning environment within the DAC and its sector, these challenges were identified:
▪ Uncoordinated planning within the sector
▪ Lack of proactive management of strategic planning, taking it as an event rather than a process
▪ Dealing with strategic planning as a compliance routine
▪ Lack of outcome/impact measures for the sector
▪ Manifestations of poor planning include:
- Plans difficult to implement resulting in overspending, under-spending, non-achievement of indicators. 
- A temptation to revise indicators mid-year while implementing (National Treasury does not allow this).

The new initiative to deal with the challenges was the DAC Sector-Wide Strategic Planning Guide which promoted integrated sector planning. This was to ensure:
▪ Alignment of plans within the sector (National DAC, Institutions and Provincial Line Depts.)
▪ That planning takes into account genuine interests of stakeholders
▪ Development of sector’s Key Performance Indicators for outcomes measurement
▪ That the strategic planning process is informed by analysis of previous performance (Annual Report, Auditor-General's Audit Outcome and other evaluation reports)
▪ Understanding the contribution of Parliament’s Portfolio Committee, Cabinet and Budget Makgotla
▪ Drawing from middle management and other structures (including social partners) to ensure relevancy and ownership of the Strategic Plan.

The DAC Sector-Wide Strategic Planning Guide was approved by the department in February 2013 with implementation starting at the beginning of 2013/14. The integrated approach to planning for the sector and by the sector, would assist in addressing a number of challenges and in closing a number of gaps. It was noted that as this approach was new, it might not be perfect at this stage but it would improve as DAC continued to implement it. The next strategic planning retreat was scheduled for end of June 2013

A discussion of the presentation did not take place due to time constraints.

The meeting was adjourned.

Ms R Rasmeni (ANC) North West and M S Plaatjie (COPE) North West


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