War Museum of Boer Republics, National Film & Video Foundation, Robben Island Museum: 2013 Annual Performance Plans

Arts and Culture

22 May 2013
Chairperson: Ms T Sunduza (ANC)
Share this page:

Meeting Summary

The Robben Island Museum delegation asked not to present until they had addressed the challenges in terms of alignment within their Annual Performance Plan and the UNESCO requirements. The Committee expressed their distaste at the situation but after some deliberation the delegation was released and would be notified when it should present the revised Annual Performance Plan

The War Museum of Boer Republics noted that it had not appeared before the Committee in six years.  Various video clips were shown in order to showcase the work that the Museum had done, with a concentration on its new work to highlight the roles and suffering of all South Africans, both black, and white, in those wars. The vision and values were outlined, and the strategic goals included improving the quality of education on the history of the Anglo-Boer Wars, encouraging tourism, economic and skills development, increasing employment, national and international cooperation, and promoting and preserving cultural history. The Sol Plaatije Memorial Hall and various other memorials that had been erected were showcased, and the Museum described the work done to ensure inclusivity, higher education, and publications. It research, website, exhibitions and displays, contributions to publication and on-going special projects. Various events had been planned over the course of the year. It was noted that the Museum had received an unqualified audit, with only two matters of emphasis raised, both of which were dealt with satisfactorily. Members were pleased with the work of the Museum, asked the Department of Arts and Culture to consider giving it additional funding, and discussed its role of the Museum in reconciliation and nation building, transformation, possible site visits, sought clarity on the financial statements, the audit report and the staff component.

The National Film and Video Foundation (the Foundation) noted that its objectives included increasing audience access to South African Films, increasing the number of people trained in the industry, particularly in areas of scarce skills, promoting the South African film industry locally and internationally, and promoting social cohesion and the expression of the nation’s stories through film. Its strategic goals, and how these linked to government priorities, were outlined. It was noted that for the past eleven years, it had achieved an unqualified audit. It outlined a number of achievements, including the launch of Women & Youth Filmmakers’ projects, its approach to funding, the hosting of South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTAs) and launch of internship programmes and bursary offerings. However, it was clear, from a presentation of the figures, that only a small percentage of applications for funding could be supported, although there had been greater priority given to women filmmakers. The Foundation had also commissioned an economic baseline study for the South African film industry. The challenges that it faced included the need to amend the governing Act, including a change of name, the need to promulgate regulations and to deal with the 25% cap on administration expenses. Further information was given on the training and bursaries, policy and research, development and production of content, marketing, human resources and finance. Members questioned why the Annual Performance Plan before the Committee had not been signed, but were assured that the originals were duly signed. They questioned the training and value of training offered, the organogram, the extent of civil society partnerships, and how these were used to attract funding, the criteria for award of bursaries, the interns recruitment process, how the Foundation supported emerging film makers, whether it reached out sufficiently to rural areas, including its training and education programmes, and how it chose the festivals in which to participate. The value for money from attendance at festivals was questioned, as well as the exposure of South African films locally and internationally, and the relationships with SABC and other screening entities. Members questioned the name change, and wondered why there seemed to have been a priority in funding private film schools to date.

Finally, the Chairperson indicated her concern that the former Chief Executive Officer of South African Heritage Resources Agency had acted in an incorrect manner and had tarnished the Chairperson’s name. She noted that this Committee had been fully entitled to call for the documentation that it had sought, for the purposes of oversight, and wanted the matter put right.

Meeting report

Robben Island Museum Annual Performance Plan briefing
Mr Sibongiseni Mkhize, Chief Executive Officer, Robben Island Museum, stated that upon closer scrutiny of the Annual Performance Plan, it had become apparent to him that there were some challenges and he thus requested the opportunity to withdraw, and re-submit the document, to ensure proper alignment of the strategic and annual plans.

The Chairperson asked if the document now before the Committee was wrong, and, if so, why it had been brought before the Committee.

Mr Mkhize confirmed that this document was seriously flawed and would not allow proper oversight.

Mr Sibusiso Xaba, Director General, Department of Arts and Culture, replied that the document before the Committee spoke to the Annual Performance Plan as it had been tabled in Parliament. However, the Plan had since then been amended and these amendments, which related to UNESCO guidelines and other issues, had to be incorporated so that they could be reported upon.

The Chairperson said that the challenges should have been indicated before, and added that the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC or the Department) should have monitored the entity to ensure that this would not happen.

Mr Sibusiso Buthelezi , Chairperson, Robben Island Museum, said that because Robben Island Museum was a world heritage site it had to meet UNESCO guidelines, including drawing a Integrated Conservation Management Plan (ICMP), covering a period of seven years. The last plan had expired in 2012, and new one had now been compiled and sent to UNESCO, but it was this point that needed to be updated, as there was a need to align the APP with the ICMP. That was the reason behind the request to withdraw the current document.

Mr N Van Den Berg (DA) said that he was annoyed with this point, pointing out that the ICMP had been completed a long time ago and the Robben Island Board had known that it would be presenting this document to the Committee.  It had been completed nearly three months ago, but only now was it being brought to the Committee’s attention that there was a need to align the APP. He pointed out that criticism was levied against MPs for failing to do their jobs properly, but in fact departments and entities were not taking the issues and work they were doing for the country seriously.

Mr S Ntapane (UDM) said that he felt that the entity should be given the opportunity to leave, address the issues they had raised and then return.

Ms T Nwamitwa-Shilubana (ANC) said that this was unacceptable. Budget votes were currently under way and some Members had missed those important debates to be present in this meeting. However, she agreed that the Robben Island presenters should not present until they had their house in order.

The Chairperson asked if something could be done about the poaching on Robben Island.

The Chairperson initially stated that this entity should return on 30 May, but after further deliberations and discussions, the Committee agreed that a future date would be agreed upon for the entity to present the revised plan.

Mr Van De Berg said that if something of this nature happened, due procedure needed to be followed. He would request the party Whip for the DA to compile a file of instances such as this, and review it at the end of the year.

The entity was released.

Boer War Museum Annual Performance Plan briefing
Mr van den Berg said that he did not regard the videos from the Boer Museum as “a bribe”, as they had educational value. The more people knew about each other’s struggles and hardships, the better they would understand the history of everyone in South Africa.

Mr Tokkie Pretorius, Director, Boer War Museum, noted that the Boer War Museum (the Museum) had not given a presentation to the Committee for over six years. He had served on the audit committee for six years, before he became director. He stated that there had been international interest in the Museum, citing a recent visit by a delegation from Sri Lanka.

The Museum highlighted emotive issues, and had moved away from ‘hero worship’ to look instead into the ‘sufferings of war’.  He showed a video highlighting that the conditions at the concentration camps of black people during the Anglo Boer War were worse than those in white camps.  The video displayed clearly that quite a number of black people within ad hoc camps that were set up had to join the British army, in order to survive, because one of the tactics of the British army was simply to ‘dump’ people along a railway line and leave them to fend for themselves.

Mr Pretorius said that the vision of the Museum was to be an institution of excellence in which the inclusivity and suffering of all communities during the Anglo-Boer War was depicted, thus propagating the message that negotiation was preferable to war.

Mr Pretorius outlined the mission and the values of the institution (see attached presentation). He noted the strategic goals. Goal 1 was to improve the quality of education on the history of the Anglo-Boer War. Goal 2 was to encourage tourism, economic and skills development, employment as well as national and international cooperation. Goal 3 was to promote and preserve cultural history. Goal 4 aimed to enhance governance and accountability.

He noted that the opening of the Sol Plaatjie Hall was in order to showcase the role of black people in the Boer wars and showed a video clip of the Sol Plaatije Memorial. The Memorial Hall aired the suffering and sacrifices of black people, which elicited emotional responses from black visitors. There had also been a monument erected, with the statistics of black and white deaths in concentration camps, as well as a statue of Agterryer. The Museum had also assisted the University of the Free State with the production of the DVD ‘Scars of our violent past’. 

Inclusivity had been promoted with a publication entitled ‘An Illustrated History of Black South Africans in the Anglo-Boer War 1988-1902: A forgotten history.’  There had also been another entitled ‘Black Concentration Camps in the Anglo Boer War 1988-1902’. He read various recent extracts from newspaper publications speaking to the existence of this history. Mr Pretorius said that all communities had been represented in the displays and history depicted.

The Museum promoted higher education, and had established the Educational Centre and Children’s Museum, the development of educational programmes supplementing curriculum (CAPS) up to grade 12, outreach programmes to schools (with a special focus on previously marginalised communities), and youth day celebrations.

Mr Pretorius said that research highlights included the establishment of an Anglo-Boer War Research Centre. Research capacity had been considerably increased through website and documentation available on electronic mediums.  Another highlight was the website, which had 14 databases and a virtual tour, as well as links to national and international museums and entities.  There had been two volumes of the new Anglo Boer War Journal completed and published, as well as the ‘New perspectives on the Anglo Boer War 1988-1902’. There had also been contributions to the publications ‘Prisoners of War, and ‘Concentration camps’ and ‘Women in War/Vroue’ in Oorlog’.  There had been DVDs produced including a documentary overview of the War Museum as well as one on the Women’s Memorial (past, present and future), which had been distributed to schools free of charge.

Further highlights induced exhibitions and displays such as Garrison Hospital, the move from a static method of displaying and depicting history to an interactive method, flat screen televisions and scale models of concentration camps, the World Cup in 2010, lace displays and workshops, the unveiling of the Bethulie monument, as well as a memorial wall dedicated to the republican forces. There had been Women’s Day celebrations, a hosting of the elderly, theme days, conferences and seminars. The Museum had developed disabled access to bathrooms and an elevator at the office block as well as introducing Braille for the blind. At the Museum, there had been various facility upgrades, including air conditioning systems and fire protection systems, as well as a conference room, restaurant and curio shop.  Special projects in progress included the addition of a new wing to the Museum building, an art project, the publications of the legal position of Heritage Institutions, with specific reference to national museums, an oral history (with specific focus on the participation of Black South Africans in the Anglo Boer War), a DVD productions for children which thematically showed the aspects of the war, a review of the name of the Museum, and a toy display.

Events that had been planned included:
-14 June 2013- Youth Day Celebrations: official opening of the toy display
-July 2013- An Art exhibition at the University of the Free State
-9 August  2013 – Women’s Day Celebrations
-24 September 2013: Heritage day: Official unveiling of ‘Agterryer’.

Partnerships had been established with the Department, the Free State Provincial Government, Mangaung Metro Municipality, the University of the Free State, the National Heritage Council, Free State Tourism, Ditsong Museums in South Africa and the National Museum.

The War Museum had been in the media saying that it had featured in 21 media articles during the period 2012/2013. Mr Pretorius presented the staff organogram and structure.

Ms Christelle Swanepoel, Chief Financial Officer, Boer War Museum, said that more than half of the revenue came from the Department, but the Museum had also managed to double its own revenue and attract more donor funding. The Department had been excited at, and was prepared to fund the new initiatives, and a number of ‘donations in kind’ were received from the community.

Ms Swanepoel presented the expenditure, showing a breakdown of expenditure for administrative and strategic projects. The Museum had been awarded an unqualified audit. The emphasis of matter had been addressed; although there was non compliance with Section 5(1) of the Cultural Institutions Act, as the Minister had not timeously appointed a council, there were no adverse findings on predetermined objectives. She said that overall the museum was in a much more comfortable position financially then it had been in 2010, thanks to Departmental support.

Mr Pretorius reiterated that there was an unqualified report and the emphasis of matter had been addressed. He set out the contact details for the Museum.

The Chairperson wondered why it had taken so long for the entity to come and present.

Reconciliation and nation building
Mr van den Berg said that, as an Afrikaaner, he was pleased to see what the Museum had done to showcase the history. He was also impressed with how inclusive the museum had been, and was sure that he, like many other people, had not previously been aware of the full history.  There was a huge opportunity for nation building and reconciliation in the message that the museum was giving.

Dr H Van Schalkwyk (DA) said that this was an act of nation building and social cohesion at its best. This was something to be proud of.  She had said before that a balanced history was crucial and the need for correct reporting was not about replacing one history with another, as ideally shown by this presentation, but about presenting a truly unified concept of ‘our South African history’.

Mr P Ntshiqela (COPE) thanked the presenters but stated that there was still more to be revealed in terms of education on what actually happened, although some of the wounds had been shown today, to ensure that people could access information.

Ms T Nwamitwa-Shilubana (ANC) said that she planned to share the information that had been presented as it was important for people to know what had happened.

The Chairperson also stated that there was a need for people to know about the history of the country in its entirety.

Mr Pretorius replied that he could see the meaning for black people when they visited the statue, and how it affected them to have their history fully documented.

Mr Ntshiqela asked for more information on what was being done in terms of transformation, as little had been said. He suggested that it would be good for the Committee to visit the area and see what was going on in the Museum and surrounding area.

Financial matters
Mr Ntshiqela asked for more clarity on the financial statements, and said that he would like to see the audit report that clarified the unqualified status.

Mr Ntapane said that he felt that a good job was being done and was impressed with the manner in which the finances of the institution were being handled. It was not often entities handled them in this manner. Following on from Mr Ntshiqela’s question, he noted that he had had access to the audit report, but wanted to know if the concerns about supply chain management, and one audit finding, had been addressed.

Ms Swanepoel replied that these had related to two matters, and they had both been cleared.

Mr D Mavunda (ANC) said it would be good to have a financial report in order to know how the funds were being spent, and ensure that they were spent properly. He appreciated that it was not always easy to run an organisation such as this.

The Chairperson suggested that the Department should consider increasing the budget allocation to this Museum, as it was obvious that it was working well.

Mr Xaba replied that the Department was pleased with the work that had been done and had allocated some more money to the entity.

Ms Nwamitwa-Shilubana said that it would be ideal if more black, coloured and Indian people were employed.

Closing remarks
The Chairperson said that the Committee was happy with the APP of this entity. However, the name of the entity did not encapsulate the complete history that it tried to convey, and she had been pleasantly surprised to view far more than merely Afrikaans history.

National Film and Video Foundation Annual Performance Plan briefing
Ms Zama Mkosi, Chief Executive Officer, National Film and Video Foundation, firstly indicated that the mandate of the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF), was:
-To promote and develop the film and video industry
-To provide and encourage the provision of opportunities for persons, especially from disadvantaged communities to get involved in the film and video industry
-To encourage the development and distribution of local film and video products
-To support the nurturing and development of access to the film and video industry
-To address historical imbalances in the infrastructure and distribution of skills and resources in the film and video industry.

The NFVF aimed therefore to set up ‘a viable film industry that represents the nation’s aspirations and celebrates our diversity’ and the mission included collaboration with all stakeholders in developing and promoting the industry.

The strategic objectives for 2013-2016 had been identified included increasing the number of South African Films and Previously Disadvantaged Individuals (PDIs) producing those films, increasing the audience access to South African films, and promoting the industry both locally and internationally. It also aimed to increase the numbers of people trained in the industry, particularly in areas of scarce skills, and to promote social cohesion and the expression of the nation’s stories through film. These were linked to the strategic goals and government priorities.

Some of the targets were outlined. In relation to increasing numbers of South African films and producers, it was noted that in the years 2011 and 2012 respectively, the number of films funded in development increased from 34 to 57. The films funded in production went from 34 to 48. In 2011, 239 applications for funding were received, but 68 (or 28%) were funded. In 2012, 327 applications were received, but only 105 (32%) received funding.

The breakdown of funded films showed an increase in films made by black makers from 37 to 79 in 2012, and by white film makers from 31 to 43. By gender, the numbers rose from 37 to 64 male-made films, and 31 to 58 female- made films.

In relation to the strategic goal of increasing the number of people trained in the industry, particularly in scarce skills, Ms Mkosi noted that in 2011, 51% of applications had been funded, but in 2012 only 41% of applicants had been funded. 64% of those funded were female, and 36% were male.

The various platforms at which South African films were showcased, and workshops were offered by the NFVF support and participation, were set out (see attached presentation), which included provincial road shows, Arts and films festivals in North West, Free State, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu Natal (KZN), Gauteng and Western Cape. Of the South African films, in 2011, 60% were funded, and in 2012, 55% were funded.

The NFVF received an unqualified audit opinion. However, matters of emphasis were raised. The audit on pre-determined objectives showed that the policy had not been in line with the Framework. The action taken was to update performance information policy, so that it would be in line with National Treasury guidelines, and implementation of SMART criteria. Another finding related to the lack of a contract management database. Three means of action were identified, namely, creating an updated Supply Chain Management (SCM) policy, implementation of a contract management database, and a dedicated SCM resource.

Ms Mkosi summarized that the general achievements included the NFVF unqualified audit over the past eleven years, the launch of Women & Youth Filmmakers’ projects, adoption of a three-tier approach to funding, hosting of the 7th Annual South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTAs) and launch of an internship programme, in partnership with the MICT-Sector Education and Training Authority.

She also noted that the NFVF had commissioned an economic baseline study for the South African film industry, which found that the film industry had contributed R3.5 billion to South Africa’s GDP (both direct and indirect), had created over 25 175 full time equivalent jobs, and earned over R670 million towards the South African GDP. The economic multiplier was 2.89, which meant that for every R1 spent in the industry, another R1.89 was generated within the South African economy.

Some of the challenges were then outlined. The NFVF Act needed to be amended, including a name change, the NFVF Regulations needed to be promulgated and the 25% cap on administration expenses needed to be addressed. Another challenge arose from the limited resources, which meant that NFVF was unable to address the increasing demand for funding from aspirants to the industry, or to increase the value of funding per project – which was limited, currently, to 10% of project budget. It was also unable to fund all areas of film value chain, such as distribution and exhibition. Finally, it had organizational capacity issues.

Finally, Ms Mkosi outlined various information (see slides 22 to 29) on training and bursaries, policy and research, development and production of content, marketing, human resources and finance.

Signing of the APP

The Chairperson stated that all apologies needed to be submitted in writing. She noted that the APP had not been officially signed by the Chief Financial Officer and accounting authority, contrary to Treasury Regulations.

Ms Mkosi stated that the originals had been signed.

The Chairperson wanted to know why the one before Members had not been signed, and said that the Committee could not approve something not signed. However, the APP would be accepted with improvements suggested.

Mr Van De Berg asked what was gained after training had been provided, and if the people who had been trained were absorbed into the ‘known TV and film industry’. He says that there seemed to be little turnover within the industry. He also questioned if the quality was up to broadcast standards, in this very technological age.

Ms Mkosi replied that some interns and trainees were placed in entities such as the SABC and there were links to ensure placements were made.

Mr Ntshiqela requested the organogram of the organisation so that it was possible to see how the board was linked to the management.

Mr Rod Solomon, Council Member, NFVF, replied that the Board allowed management to drive the running of the entity.

Civil Society partnerships
Mr Ntshiqela asked if there had been partnerships with civil society organisations.

Ms Mkosi responded that there was work done with civil society and one of her mandates had been to strengthen those ties.

Mr Ntshiqela asked what criteria were being used to allocate bursaries.

Mr George Leolo, Deputy Chairperson, NFVF Board, replied that panels, composed of people who were ‘in the field’, received the applications and recommended those whom they felt should be awarded the bursaries, for final decision by Council. Council was comfortable with this process, as it came with the recommendation of people who were knowledgeable in the sector.

Mr Ntapane asked if there was a follow up mechanism to ensure that the bursaries were being properly used.

Mr Ntapane asked how the internship recruitment was done, and if adverts were placed. He said that it was a problem that children in rural areas may not have access to these internships.

Mr Leolo conceded that NFVF needed to increase its visibility in the rural areas and would attempt to source those students.

The Chairperson said she was not convinced that the NVFV was trying hard enough to reach rural areas, noting that applications and advertisements were found in urban areas and certain types of media. Mediums such as community radios and newspapers would really reach out to rural areas.

Mr Solomon reiterated that the NFVF had noted the need to reach out to rural areas.

Race classifications
Mr Ntapane asked if Indians and coloured people were included in the phrase ‘black’.

Emerging film makers
Mr Ntshiqela asked if emerging film makers were being supported.

Ms Mkosi said there was a youth and first time filmmaker project, which was targeted at film makers who had recently graduated and had never made films. Training was also given for first entrant, which was called ‘spark narrative’, which was aimed at these new film makers.

Ms van Schalkwyk asked for the selection criteria for the festivals that had been budgeted for, who attended the festivals, other than film makers, and how their attendance was beneficial to those who came to the festivals. She questioned if the R5.9 million for attendance at film festivals gave better value for money rather than using the money for the promotion of the entity.

Ms Zama Mkosi replied that the festivals that the NFVF was involved in were chosen strategically. The first consideration was whether those countries had treaties with South Africa, and the second related to the nature of the festivals, which included, for instance, what African countries could offer at the festivals. When the NFVF attended these festivals they made space for those film makers who had been funded by the NFVF, as well as those who had come through their own means, and provided the basis for them to do business, with the costs being covered by NFVF.

Ms Van Schalkwyk asked how many of the NFVF films were screened by the SABC and how many had reached the international stage.

Mr Solomon replied that there had recently been better relations with the SABC, as well as other entities such as MNet and there had even been some NFVF initiatives aired on the networks.

Mr Ntapane said he felt that the number of films funded was minimal when compared to the number of applications received.

Mr Leolo replied that there were a great number of projects to fund and the fear was that a great number of stories were being missed. The goal was to get as many stories told as possible, with the limited funding, whilst understanding that there was also a need for South Africa to produce quality.

Mr Ntapane asked what had been done to address the issue of not meeting targets. In the previous year only 17% of targets had been met.  He hoped the strategy put in place for this would be fruitful.

Ms Nwamitwa-Shilubana said she did not see how the provinces that were not very prolific were to be included in the strategic objectives of the NFVF.

Ms Mkosi replied that there had been work done in these provinces, as seen by the partnership with Limpopo, where a Film Week was to take place.

Mr Solomon added that there had been a road show and initiatives to get more people involved in the sector. It had been noted that the majority of interaction had been in ‘urban provinces’ but there were moves to remedy that.

Name change
Ms Nwamitwa-Shilubana said she did not understand why the name was being changed, and what the proposed new name would be.

Ms Mkosi replied that it had been decided to drop any reference to technology, which quickly became obsolete, and to reflect the South African and public entity identity.

Film schools
The Chairperson asked why there were no public film schools. Most film schools were owned by individuals who were running them commercially. South Africans saw the work of the NFVF as limited to attendance at festivals.

Mr Leolo replied that there were tertiary institutions that offered film as a curriculum subject. NFVF would concede that there had been, in the past, a skewed funding towards private institutions, but this was being reconsidered and in the next financial year it would be supporting higher education institutions.

Funding for Television and Film Awards
The Chairperson asked if there was going to be private funding sought for hosting the South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTAs), as they were costing the NFVF R6.5 million at the moment.

Mr Solomon replied that the strategy was always to try to raise funding from the private sector. Compared to international best practice, the SAFTAs were being hosted ‘for a good price’.

Other business: South African Heritage Resources Agency
The Chairperson said she was seriously disturbed by the fact that the former Chief Executive Officer of South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA) had called the Chief Whip, dragging the name of the Chairperson into the issue, and telling lies. The Committee had every right to conduct its oversight as it saw fit, including requesting CVs and noting mismanagement of funds, as part of its mandate was to expose instances of corruptions. She was willing to obtain recordings of Committee meetings pertaining to SAHRA matters, in order to show exactly what had been said and revealed, and wanted the former CEO to deal with the matter properly.

The meeting was adjourned.

Share this page: