Department of Arts and Culture 1st Quarter 2013 Performance, in presence of Deputy Minister

Arts and Culture

06 August 2013
Chairperson: Ms T Sunduza (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Department of Arts and Culture (DAC), in the presence of the Deputy Minister, briefed the Committee on its 1st Quarter 2013 Expenditure and Performance Review Report. An overall performance overview of the DAC showed that it had achieved 62% of its targets. The DAC had six programmes and its achieved performance per programme was as follows: Administration- 53%, Performing Arts- 0%, National Language Service-100%, Cultural Development- 68%, Heritage Promotion-71% and National Archives and Library Service- 83%. The Committee was provided with a summary of the total budget and expenditure of the DAC per programme, as well as expenditure in total. The total expenditure of the DAC for the first quarter sat at 19%. Expenditure per programme was Administration- 25%, Performing Arts-18%, National Language Services-23%, Cultural Development-20%, Heritage Promotion-20% and National Archives and Library Services-18%.

The Committee raised concerns about certain provinces being given preference over other provinces in the hosting of events. A further concern was that at many of the events the same established artists performed, and the Committee wanted to know if the DAC was attempting to give unknown artists the opportunity to perform, pointing out that this issue had been raised several times in the past. It was understood that a balance was needed between using established artists and upcoming new talent, but business opportunities should also be afforded to other service providers other than those normally used at events. Members also commented that underspending by the DAC also seemed to be a recurring problem. Another concern was that most of the jobs created by the DAC were of a short term nature and were not sustainable. They pointed out also that whilst the issue of social cohesion was often spoken about, they wanted to know exactly how the DAC was taking the issue further and on what level it was being addressed. Another concern raised previously by the Committee was that the performance of the DAC on Capital Works was impacted upon by the Department of Public Works, and this was a long-standing problem that had to be addressed, and Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture, Mr Joseph Phaahle, was asked to take up the issue at ministerial level. The Committee asked about the efforts of the DAC in promoting South Africa’s national flag, saying it was unfortunate that South Africans seemed not to have a great sense of pride for the national flag, and attempts needed to be made to educate and conscientise citizens. The Deputy Minister concluded that the DAC had taken note of the comments and would be addressing them.

Meeting report

Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) 1st Quarter 2013 Expenditure and Performance Review Report
Mr Sibusiso Xaba, Director General, Department of Arts and Culture, presented and took the Committee through the 1st Quarter Expenditure and Performance Review Report of the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC).

He noted that overall performance overview of the DAC showed that it had achieved 62% of its targets. The DAC had six programmes and its achieved performance per programme was as follows:
- Administration- 53%
- Performing Arts- 0%
- National Language Services-100%
- Cultural Development- 68%
- Heritage Promotion- 71%
- National Archives and Library Service- 83%.

The Committee was provided with a summary of the total budget and expenditure of the DAC per programme as well as expenditure in total. The total expenditure of the DAC for the first quarter sat at 19%. Expenditure per programme was divided between Administration- 25%, Performing Arts- 18%, National Language Services- 23%, Cultural Development- 20%, Heritage Promotion- 20% and National Archives and Library Services- 18%.

Members were further given a breakdown of budget and expenditure per economic classification and the reasons for the spending figures. For example, on compensation of employees, the expenditure was 24%. An amount of R47 million had been spent as at 30 June 2013. The DAC had advertised sixteen positions in the first quarter and two positions for Deputy Director General: Arts and Culture Development and Promotion, and Chief Language Practitioner: Sepedi. These had been filled.

The Committee was further provided with an explanation of programme performance on key indicators, comparing them to selected Estimates of National Expenditure (ENE) indicators.  The number of arts practitioners placed in schools was targeted, for 2013/14, at 160. The first quarter target was to have consultations with artists, approval of sites and beneficiary schools, and the placement of 160 artists. To date, the DAC had managed to have consultations with artists and there was approval of sites and beneficiary schools. However no artists had as yet been placed in schools, although the submission seeking their placement in schools had been developed. The reason for the variance was that Mzanzi Golden Economy (MGE) funds were still listed under goods and services (G&S), and this was delaying the implementation of the two programmes. The DAC was awaiting the approval of the virement of MGE funds from G&S to Households. National Treasury was to consider all requests for virements once the Appropriation Bill had been approved.

Performance against other key annual performance plan indicators was also illustrated. Mr Xaba noted that in Programme 1: Administration, the objective was to provide core support services to the DAC to ensure the realisation of enhanced governance and accountability. The target for the first quarter spending on this was 20%. By 30 June 2013, expenditure stood at R567 million, or 19% of the total appropriated budget. Again, he noted that the DAC was still awaiting National Treasury approval for a virement request. Upon receipt of the virement approval from National Treasury, the expenditure would improve, in the second quarter.

Another indicator under Programme 1 was the percentage of successfully attained targets. The first quarter target had been set at 60%. The DAC had attained 62% of the planned targets in the first quarter, surpassing its target by 2%.

Mr Xaba noted that the DAC intended to have follow-up monthly monitoring to ensure that corrective actions were carried out on all outstanding deliverables.

The Chairperson, at the outset, noted that questions to the DAC would not be limited to the contents of the briefing.

The Chairperson addressed Mr Joseph Phaahla, Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture, and said that she had been disappointed that a staff member of his had not known what the colours of the South African national flag meant. She pointed out that the DAC had only spent R1.8 million on the provision of flags, and that not all schools had flags. On a visit to Ghana she had seen the Ghanaian flag displayed everywhere. Ghanaians were proud of their flag. She considered it very important for citizens to understand their country’s flag. She urged that road shows and education of South Africans on the national flag of South Africa were needed.

The Chairperson noted her concern that capital works spending still seemed to have problems, which were largely associated with the Department of Public Works. The issue had been dragging on for a long time, and she asked Deputy Minister Phaahla to raise the issue at a ministerial level. She had no indication as to how the issue could be solved.

Mr Xaba explained that there were projects under way at DAC that had been contracted to the Department of Public Works. Some institutions were, however, moving away from using the Department of Public Works for their capital works requirements. The DAC could not legally do anything about the leasing and rental of buildings at present. Discussions were taking place, but the difficulties were linked to the nature of the system.

Deputy Minister Phaahla added that the DAC had considered various ways to deal with the problem. On the refurbishment of buildings and new projects the DAC tried to use other state entities. On financial management and legislation the DAC tried to use other agencies. The debate continued. The bigger government departments had taken the route of creating their own internal capacity. In this was the Department of Public Works would then only do oversight and provide guidelines. Specialised skills and expertise were required. It was something that was dynamic.

The Chairperson said that the Committee seemed to get the same response from the DAC regarding the Department of Public Works issue. If the issue could not be solved, then that raised questions as to government as a whole. The Department of Public Works was part of the reason why there was underspending by the DAC.

The Chairperson then moved to the purchasing of library material for the first quarter. She could not understand why the Eastern Cape was purchasing less library material than the Western Cape and said it was of particular concern, given that the Eastern Cape was more rural and needed more material.

Mr Xaba said that the business plans of provinces tend to differ. Some provinces purchased more library materials than others.

The Chairperson said that DAC attended to funding of other institutions by the DAC, and noted that playhouses tend to compare the funding that they received.

Mr Xaba cited an example on the funding of entities by the DAC, that the National Choir Festival was running parallel to the National Choir Awards Programme. This simply did not make financial sense. The National Choir Festival was funded by Old Mutual. It did not make sense to have a National Choir Awards Programme that was not linked to the National Choir Festival.

The Chairperson also pointed out that indigenous games seemed to be diminishing, and that people were no longer playing traditional games. She asked what the DAC was doing to promote this.

Deputy Minister Phaahla said that the issue of indigenous games needed to be discussed with the Department of Sports and Recreation. He felt that indigenous games were covered under recreation.  There were indigenous games that were physical and there were those that were not, hence it could not be classified as a sport.

Overall, the Chairperson made the point that everyone was speaking about social cohesion, but wanted to know how this was being taken further and at what level it was being addressed. She asked for an indication of exactly what work the social cohesion advocates were doing.

Mr Xaba told the Committee that the social cohesion advocates were doing quite a bit of work. They were, firstly, working on mobilisation towards “20 years of freedom and democracy” and secondly working on content for Freedom Fridays. Thirdly they were developing guidelines for social cohesion summits. Fourthly they were working on provincial summits.

Mr S Ntapane (UDM) referred to slide 14 and said that the reasons for underspending on goods and services seemed to have been prevalent issue ever since the DAC had first appeared before this Committee. He wanted to know what the DAC would do to address the issue. The same comment applied to slide 19, where he wanted to know what the plans of the DAC were, to prevent these problems from recurring in the future. He also referred to slide 25, which spoke about the placement of 160 arts practitioners in schools, and asked what the delay was, and why the Mzanzi Golden Economy (MGE) funds were still under goods and services. He also referred to slide 29 which spoke about performance indicators that had been set but not achieved. The DAC said that it had plans to overcome obstacles that had emerged but he wanted to know why the DAC had not avoided the obstacles before they emerged.
Finally, he asked what the trendsetters were that were mentioned under Slide 34.

Ms Ntombi Skhosana, Manager, DAC, responded to the question of the Mzanzi Golden Economy Funds, saying that a virement had been done earlier in the year, but appproval from National Treasury was obtained only at the end of July 2013, outside of the first quarter. Initially National Treasury did not allow the funds to be transferred. The DAC had complied with the payment of service providers within the required 30 day period. The DAC could not make payment where it had not been invoiced.

Mr Moleleki Ledimo Director: Arts and Youth Development explained that the term “trendsetter” was a brand name used by the DAC in its National Youth Service Programme. It was a year long programme which was aimed at youth from community art centres. The youth were trained and placed in the provinces. The DAC worked in cooperation with the National Youth Development Agency. Amongst other things, youth were being trained on national symbols. The DAC made transfers to standing committees in provinces.

Dr H Van Schalkwyk (DA), and Ms Nwamitwa-Shilubana (ANC) asked how much of the total of 12 841 library materials that had been purchased had gone to rural and township areas.

Mr Ndima noted that most of the grants for libraries went towards libraries in rural areas in provinces like the Northern Cape, Mpumalanga and the Eastern Cape. Only a small amount went to Limpopo Province, because Limpopo Province had failed to spend its grant.
Ms F Mushwana (ANC) referred to slide 36 which spoke to the indicator of the number of terminologies developed per domain. The progress made was that funds had been transferred to three participating universities who submitted their audited financial and narrative reports. Two remaining universities had not yet complied. She asked why the DAC had not assisted the remaining universities to comply.

Ms Nwamitwa-Shilubana referred to national language services, and asked how terminologies were disseminated to rural areas.

Mr Mbulelo Jokweni, Chief Director: National Language Services, DAC, stated that terminologies development was curriculum-based. The Department of Higher Education and Training was aware of terminologies. He added that the two non-complying universities had since complied with their submission of audited financial and narrative reports.

Dr Van Schalkwyk noted that in respect of job creation the DAC said that it had created 3 000 jobs through the national installation of flags. She asked what was the DAC’s definition of a job, and whether those jobs created were sustainable.

Ms Mushwana said that if the jobs created by the DAC were of a temporary nature, she would like to know of the DAC’s plans to make the jobs more sustainable.

Mr Xaba responded that most of the jobs created were of a short term nature and were linked to projects and events. Service providers had been employed for the installation of flags. Once a contract expired, the job was over. There were sustainable jobs as well, where, for example a library had been built, as librarians and maintenance staff would be appointed.

Ms Nwamitwa-Shilubana asked what the duration of the contracts to install flags at schools was, and what the educational value was of installing such flags.  

Mr Xaba speaking to the educational value of flags said that it was not only about putting up flags at schools; it was also about teaching school children how to treat the South African flag. They were also taught how to hoist a flag. School children were also provided with a booklet on South African national symbols. The DAC was working with the Department of Education on the issue of flags. The preamble of the Constitution of South Africa was to be included in the explanatory booklet on the national flag.

Mr Ndima noted that the education on flags was done by the Department of Education. The education covered all national symbols. The DAC popularised national symbols by way of workshops.

Mr N Van den Berg (DA) asked what the price of flags was. He asked why there were inconsistencies around the price of flags in different provinces. He asked also if the price of the flag included the flagpole. Flags should be handled with respect, and procedures should be in place to ensure that they were.

Mr Xaba said that the total price for the complete installation of the flag was R1 800. There were strict standards on the material and dye used.

Ms Nwamitwa-Shilubana pointed out that she had noticed that national flags were fading, and asked if the DAC was not monitoring the quality of the flags.

Mr Xaba said that he would look into the matter of fading flags.

Ms Mushwana said that it was good that the DAC was not only providing flags to schools but also educating schoolchildren about it.

Mr Ntapane felt that there was bias on the rollout of the school flag project. The Eastern Cape had more schools than the Western Cape but yet more flags were rolled out in the Western Cape.

Mr Ndima said that the process of rollout of flags was slower in some provinces because of accountability.

Ms Nwamitwa-Shilubana asked who had been appointed on the Mandela City Union Building celebrations.

The Chairperson asked which artist was assigned to do the Nelson Mandela statue.

Mr Vusithemba Ndima, Deputy Director General: Heritage, DAC, said that Mr Andre Prinsloo was going to be responsible for the Nelson Mandela sculpture.

Dr Van Schalkwyk asked whether the National Museums Policy would be made available to the Committee. She also asked about the progress on the appointment of councils for museums like the Iziko Museum.

Mr Ndima said that the National Museum Draft Policy would be made available to members. The appointment of councils of museums had been completed.

Ms L Moss (ANC) spoke to social cohesion efforts, asking if there were requests by provinces themselves whether provincial departments initiated this, or whether the DAC convened the Social Cohesion Summit. The Western Cape Province comprised of many racial and social groups. She wondered if there was not an opportunity to bring social cohesion to the Province. She noted that it should not only be President Jacob Zuma who took the initiative. The Western Cape had a great historical significance in that former President Nelson Mandela had been detained in the Western Cape for a long period of time. There were some serious racism issues prevalent in the Western Cape.

Ms Moss felt that there was still a problem with the capital spending issues, and also felt that the disproportionate spending on different playhouses was a problem.

Ms Moss enquired how the rollout of the DAC’s programmes was going to take place. It seemed that it was the same provinces who, time and time again, benefited from the hosting of shows and festivals, and she wanted to know why all provinces were not benefiting from hosting such events.

The Chairperson returned to the problem of job creation and its short term nature, and said that she had received a list of the artists who were to perform on 17 August 2013. She asked why were well known artists being used again, and what consideration had been given to using unknown artists from other provinces. She also asked what the DAC’s role in developing unknown artists was. The Committee was receiving complaints that unknown artists were not given opportunities. In the Western Cape, coloured artists were complaining that they were not used, even though many concerts took place in the City of Cape Town.

Mr Van Den Berg said that there should be spending on infrastructure at heritage sites. The environment around heritage sites should also be upgraded so that heritage sites were accessible. The DAC and the Department of Public Works should work together to ensure that the basics, such as air-conditioning and  water leaks, were taken care of at heritage sites. He asked if there were funds for infrastructure spend and, if so, whether those were being well spent.

Mr Ndima responded that infrastructure spend applied more to new museums and heritage sites. The focus was on rural and peri urban areas. He conceded that there were challenges. Consideration had initially been given, after 1994, to close existing museums but it had later been decided to continue to fund pre-1994 museums. The budget was therefore being stretched further.

The Chairperson addressed the Deputy Minister, and asked whether provincial departments related to structures found in the provinces, and if they were actually assisted by them, or whether the provincial departments were merely referring other structures to the national DAC.

Deputy Minister Phaahla responded that, with the assistance of colleagues in the National Council of Provinces, greater assistance with resources could be provided to organisations and communities. Arts and Culture Provincial Departments were poorly resourced. A number of provinces had film commissions. The Film Commission’s budget in Gauteng Province was decreasing, even though demand was increasing. Overall, when there were major activities in a province, the national DAC was approached for funding. Allocations to municipalities and provinces were minimal. They had to cover sports, arts and culture and it seemed that sports used up most of the funds. The reality was that provincial departments did not have sufficient resources to assist organisations and communities.

The Chairperson emphasised that the lists of performers remained the same at many events, and wanted to know what was being done to develop new artists and deejays. Young artists were complaining, and the issue had been raised several times, yet there had been no improvements yet.

Mr Van Den Berg added that whilst he did not wish to be seen as taking sides, it must be recognised that it was difficult to pull in the crowds using only unknown artists. It was also not only the DAC which was pushing for “known” artists to be used, as their managers and record labels also did their part. Event organisers also had a huge say. He suggested that new artists be weaned, by using them together with the established artists. The DAC needed to have a programme that identified young artists.

The Chairperson agreed with Mr Van Den Berg’s sentiments.

Ms Mushwana added that in rural villages there was considerable talent, and she believed that people would be drawn to those events where newcomers would perform. The DAC should concentrate on disadvantaged artists. She asked also why large events like the Jazz Festivals only held in the Western Cape, as rural areas needed to be upgraded.  

Ms Moss noted that the Committee had asked for timeframes regarding the choosing of service providers to events. The same service providers were being used because timeframes leading up to events were short, and she suggested that the processes should be started well in advance so that new artists and service providers could be brought on board. She was also concerned at the same people being used time and time again. She suggested that perhaps if legislation was in place, then the issues could be addressed. The reality was that popular artists would always be used. Attitudes needed to change. Members of Parliament could perhaps not choose the artists to perform at an event, but they could certainly do oversight.

Mr Xaba said that the list of artists lined up for the Nelson Mandela Sports and Culture Day had not been finalised as yet. It was the first time that a rugby and soccer match was to be played on the same day at the same venue. This was a fund-raising initiative for the benefit of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund. The tickets for the event were, however, expensive. On 9 August 2013 a Women’s Day event was being held at which artists from Bushbuckridge were to perform. The DAC did indeed use unknown artists. 

Ms Mushwana noted that perhaps the Committee would be asking the DAC questions for a long time to come. It was clear that there were disparities between the provinces.

Ms Moss asked why the Dulcie September Centre was located in France, where the average South African could not visit it. Places like those needed to be located within South Africa. She pointed out that in Bonteheuwel, in the Western Cape, a group of women had started a Dulcie September Women’s Group.

Ms Moss reminded the officials that her question on social cohesion needed a full response.

Mr Xaba responded that provincial summits were led by provinces. The DAC did plan with provinces. The process was led by provincial leadership. Some provinces were constrained by lack of funding, but the DAC did support them.

Deputy Minister Phaahla ended the briefing by stating that the DAC would be more vigilant in promoting upcoming artists. He accepted that a balance was needed between known and unknown artists. The DAC would also be more open to giving other businesses the opportunity to provide services at events. However, he cautioned that it must be realised that infrastructure at events was a specialised task.

The Chairperson stressed that the problem was that South Africa compared itself to first world countries when it in reality was a developing country. The average man on the street could not afford to attend events. She felt that South Africans could be more patriotic.

The meeting was adjourned. 


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