The Performing Arts Centre of the Free State spoke about its key strategic objectives (only 39% of targets had been achieved) and expenditure compared to the budget (70% of budget was spent on personnel / staff costs and only 30% spent on its core mandate). It outlined highlights from its artistic programmes and gave a status report on infrastructure and capital projects completed, in progress or planned for the future. The Auditor General report was unqualified with emphasis of matters. Its action plan to obtain a clean audit was noted. PACOFS noted what it was doing to solve its institutional challenges such as CEO and artistic director vacant positions were being expedited), training personnel on key skills, applying for funding from external funders for production funding/grants for in-house shows, meeting with Department of Public Works and the Department of Arts and Culture about building and maintenance delays; sourcing new sponsorship to replace broken stage truck needed for outreach programmes.
The discussion focused on the poor achievement of performance targets; performance management and insubordination, marketing, low revenue and under recovery, irregular expenditure investigation, manager truancy, large number of vacancies, skills development plan, retirement age, internal controls, supply chain management and infrastructure.
Freedom Park noted that 50% of performance targets had been achieved, 24% partially achieved and 26% not achieved. Two projects had been discontinued (the Nursery and the Climate Survey) for financial viability reasons. The strategies to overcome underperformance were outlined. Its financial reporting included an outline of programme expenditure, capital investment, maintenance and asset management capital expenditure, revenue projections, staff cost projections, review of financial focus areas, governance and audit outcomes. Lastly the future outlook of Freedom Park was outlined.
The discussion centred on institutional problems, the discontinued nursery project, social cohesion, the steering committee, the operational grant budget, outreach to rural areas, the tender process, skills plan, the position of deputy CEO, awards to Freedom Park, staff retention, vacancies, salaries, civil society participation, support to the council, visitor flow, fund raising, infighting within the organisation, the appointment of an Acting HOD and accusations of sexual harassment within the organisation.
The Chairperson said that she felt that Members needed to start taking their jobs properly as she did not understand why they came to the meeting late. She added that the most unruly members were those of the ANC. She had reported the matter as she felt undermined.
Performing Arts Centre of the Free State (PACOFS) presentation
The Chairperson said that last time there had been a request for the marketing manager to be present and again she was not present. The PACOFS delegation explained she was in the midst of writing exams.
Mr Tebogo Macholo, CFO and Acting CEO of PACOFS, presented. Noting the PACOFS‘s Council, he said its activities and responsibilities included:
- Strategic Plan, Annual Performance Plan and Infrastructure Master Plan for 2013: tabled by 31 Jan 2013.
- Signing of Share Holder’s Compact 2012/13 with Minister: signed on 02 April 2013 at Castle in Cape Town.
- Annual Report 2012/13 had been submitted and tabled to the Department on the 28 August 2013.
- Council and Management Strategic Workshop had been held on 17 and 18 October 2013.
Looking at key strategic objectives, 39% of performance indicators had been achieved, 33% partially achieved and 28% not achieved. The three programmes included:
Programme 1 - To provide and maintain high quality financial management
Programme 2 - To develop, educate, promote and present the arts in a functional Theatre environment
Programme 3 - To ensure effective and efficient electro-technical, stage and maintenance services.
Outlining expenditure alongside the budget for these three programmes, he showed that there had been an under spending of the budget in Programmes 2 and 3 and underspending in Programme 1.
Highlights of the year within the artistic programme included and international exchange programme which included the Tsoho Dance group in Zimbabwe (21-27 October 2013), partnerships/co-productions (Sand Du Plessis Theatre) in which 14 co-productions were hosted including Moscow Ballet – International (Jun 2013), Miss Free State (Apr 2013) and My vrou se man se lyk se tas (May 2013). In house/own productions included six in-house productions, such as Tselani and the Giant, Fame the Musical and the Mandela Concert. (Apr to Oct 2013). PACOFS had toured productions such as
- Dark Voice Rings – Windybrow Theatre (Sept 2013)
- Footsteps – Market Theatre and Stable Theatre (May and Jul 2013)
- Madonna Excelsior - Grahamstown National Arts Festival (Jun/Jul 2013)
- We shall sing for the Father Land to other Theatres – Windybrow Theatre(Sept 2013)
- Mafukuzella Music Production – Arts Cape (May 2013).
Completed infrastructure and capital projects projects included: Sand Du Plessis Theatre: New Carpet; office Renovations: Administration Block; occupational Health and Safety: Upgrading of building to accommodate Disabled Persons (Restrooms) and the Workshop Theatre: New Roof and Insulation. Current infrastructure projects included the fire and smoke detection system. Future projects included an upgrade of the Security Entrance; the Workshop Theatre: Relocation of the existing workshop; mechanical Ventilation and Air-conditioning System for the Complex; the branding of the Theatre Building as the public entity for Department and implementing the third phase of the Infrastructure Master Plan (depending on availability of capital funding from the Department).
Mr Macholo outlined the actual versus budget as of 31 March 2013 and the budget versus actual for the half yearly report. In terms of the report by the Auditor General PACOFS had received and unqualified report with an emphasis of matters on: Restatement of corresponding figures; Irregular Expenditure; Going concern; Predetermined objectives.
The Auditor General’s report was explained according to the emphasis of matters, the findings, the correction plan and the date of implementation of the correction plan. The plan included ensuring the appointment of CEO and Artistic Director (interview dates were the 14 and 15 Nov 2013); Financial and Supply Chain Manager positions had been filled; there was to be a strengthening of internal controls.
Material misstatements in the annual financial statements had been identified and corrected by management. In terms of expenditure management, a monthly management account had been developed and implemented to monitor actual expenditure against budget to avoid the overspending.
Challenges and proposed solutions included leadership (appointment of CEO and artistic director expedited), personnel / staff costs (70%): training on key skills, production funding/grants (in-house shows): applying for funding from external funders; building and maintenance budget: meeting with the Department and national and provincial Department of Public Works; theatre / stage truck (outreach programmes): source new/other sponsorship.
The Chairperson congratulated PACOFS for moving from an a qualified audit to an unqualified audit. This did not however mean that there was no work to be done.
Mr N van den Berg (DA) asked for more background on the fact that 39% of targets had been achieved. He felt that this was a fail. He also wanted the definition of partially achieved. He needed more background as the percentages were not good.
Mr Rudi Rashama, Chairperson of the Board of PACOFS, said that when the Council had been appointed to PACOFS there had been no handover and nothing that could provide guidance and a base. Some of the information had not been there and there had been a sense of ‘starting from scratch.’
Fire and smoke detection system and ventilation system
Mr S Ntapane (UDM) asked about the plan to tackle the mechanical ventilation and air conditioning system within the complex. He asked if this was not an old problem that seemed to continue?
Mr P Ntshiqela (COPE) asked how far this project had gone and what was being done to complete it.
The Chairperson said that the Department needed to give money for air-conditioning. She did not understand how employees could stay in that building as the temperatures were very high.
Mr Rashama replied that it was a process and some of the areas had had air conditioning installed and other areas were being worked on.
The Chairperson said that people needed to be evaluated and if they did not perform then it was noted. People had acted with insubordination but would then have the unions protect them.
Mr Rolihlahla Alexander Human, Resources Manager for PACOFS, replied there would be a performance management system but there was a need to amend contracts as when they had been drawn up there had been no performance management. This would begin with the higher echelons of the organisation (such as CEO) and then there would be a move to bring this down to the lower levels.
The Chairperson asked how PACOFS was marketed. They were a national entity however they seemed to have only one sign (that could be seen when one entered the Free State). Let us correct the notion that PACOFS is a Free State entity but is rather a national entity.
Low revenue and under recovery
Mr Ntapane asked why there was low revenue and under recovery with Programme 1?
Mr Ntapane asked if the revenue stated was what they were supposed to collect themselves or was this part of the allocated budget? When performance targets were set, did they know the costs so one could not blame a lack of leadership for expenditure problems.
Mr Ntapane asked how far had the investigations gone on irregular expenditure, and what was the solution?
The Chairperson said she was not happy with the irregular expenditure.
Mr Ntapane asked why it was taking so long to fill the vacancy of the CEO?
The Chairperson said she was disappointed that the CEO had not been appointed as this did have an effect on operations and had been noted in the audit report. She hoped the issue with the former CEO had been resolved.
Mr Rashama replied the CEO could not be appointed before now as the last CEO had not been properly suspended thus there was an existing CEO. When the new Council had come in, the CEO had already been suspended for eight months. Afterwards the CFO had been appointed acting CEO and he should be commended as he had put in structures without any assistance. One needed to note that without structures there was an inability to appoint people. There had been a move to balance PACOFS. The matter of the CEO had been resolved a number of months back. The CEO had been suspended because there had been a strike and he had been thrown out. The ex-CEO had had a case and therefore PACOFS had had to either settle with him or re-instate him. But the matter was dealt with now. People had applied for the position and the process to select and appoint was under way. It had been an ordeal and there had been a number of issues emerging. But the matter was now being resolved and the appointment of a new CEO was underway.
The Chairperson said that it had come to her attention that there were managers who acted as they pleased and when they wanted to go home, they went home. She did not know how that was to be handled.
Mr J Mthembu, Council Member of PACOFS, replied there were some managers who were playing truant and the matter would be handled. Within the next few months the entity would be ‘singing a new tune’.
High rate of vacancies
Mr Ntapane asked what was the cause of the high rate of vacancies?
Mr L Khoarai (ANC) asked what was the plan to fill the large number of vacancies. This was a matter of concern.
The Chairperson said that in this high rate of unemployment there should not be vacant posts. The report had been silent on women and persons with disabilities. She also asked what opportunities were there for youth? She said either tomorrow or within the next two days it would be good to see an advert. She noted that it would be nice to see upward mobility within an institution. It was best to first look within the organisation and provide staff with skills to have upward mobility.
Mr Alexander replied that vacancies would be filled before the end of the financial year, especially critical positions.
Mr Mthembu replied there was a need to do a skills audit of employees in order to take the institution forward.
The Chairperson said more women needed to be employed as well as persons with disabilities.
Skills development plan
Dr H Van Schalkwyk asked for the status of the skills development plan programme
Ms L Moss (ANC) said that every entity in South Africa had to have a skills plan in place to ensure there were the skills needed.
Attendance of productions
Dr H Van Schalkwyk asked for the number of attendees of productions and a breakdown of how many were complimentary tickets and how many were paid for.
Ms Nicki Hasset, Artistic Department of PACOFS, replied she could not answer this immediately but she could put a written report together and get the information to the Committee.
Mr Ntshiqela asked for clarity on Programme 2, who was to be educated in terms of the programme?
Mr Alexander replied it was educating all stakeholders as well as ensuring people had an appreciation of the arts. There was a need to educate artists. There had been education to artists about how to manage finances and how to market themselves for example.
Ms Nicki Hasset replied there was a development programme that sought to develop the artists and had a focus on artists.
Criteria for appointments
Mr Ntshiqela asked for a briefing on the criteria used in appointing the CEO and the Artistic Director.
Ms F Mushwana (ANC) asked if there were applications for the positions?
Mr Mthembu, Council Member of PACOFS, replied there were nine applicants for CEO position which had been whittled down to four applicants and the Artistic Director interviews had been whittled down as well. The process to appoint was underway.
Mr Macholo replied that PACOFS had never had an artistic director in the past and there had been challenges faced by the person who played the role of acting artistic director now.
Ms Mushwana asked if there was a retirement age which stated that people could not work at a certain level from a certain age.
Mr Alexander replied the retirement age was 65 years.
Mr Khoarai asked how long had the CFO been acting as CEO as well. How was he coping with the burden of the work?
Mr Rashama replied that it was a difficult balance and Mr Macholo was working very long hours trying to address all the matters that came with the two offices. He said that it was, however, coming together.
Ms L Moss (ANC) said if an entity was not doing well in terms of their finances then they were not doing well. She said that there was a need for internal controls, she asked what was being done to enhance the control environment?
Mr Nelson Salimani, finance manager of PACOFS, replied that PACOFS was now reporting on a six monthly basis. There had been an implementation of business policies. Various managers from different departments were being taken through the act of managing their budgets. Some managers lacked skills on managing their budgets and this was being tackled. There had also been a reconciliation of the account. There were more controls especially in terms of financial management of managers.
Audit action plan / Supply Chain Plan / DPE
Ms Moss wondered why the unqualified audit with matters of emphasis had not been fast tracked by the Board and the matters dealt with. PACOFS needed to have their own supply chain management plan. She wondered if PACOFS faced the challenges that sometimes came with working with the Department of Public Works in building and maintaining its infrastructure.
The Chairperson noted there was a PACOFS staff member sitting within the Council and "this issue" had not been solved and she hoped that it would be solved soon.
Freedom Park 2012/13 Annual Report presentation
Mr Fana Jiyane, CEO of Freedom Park, presented on the achievement of its strategic objectives which were to complete Freedom Park project, contribute to social cohesion, reconciliation and nation building, establishing mechanisms to promote, protect and preserve Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS), create a conducive environment in order to attract talent, manage Freedom Park as a customer focused, financially sustainable cultural institution, aligned to the Golden Mzansi economy strategy and to mobilize institutions through active partnerships.
Freedom Park programmes:
Programme 1: Completion of the Park: //hapo Exhibition, staff parking and nursery construction;
Programme 2: Research and Knowledge / Positioning: Reconciliation and Nation Building / Guest relations / Website / Event Management;
Programme 3: Exhibition design and implementation / Archiving and Collections / Curatorship / Permanent Exhibitions / Knowledge Management / Contemporary and Indigenous Knowledge;
Programme 4: Organisational development / Labour Relations / Performance Management / Recruitment / Human Resources Information System / Employee Wellness / Policy development / Rewards Management / Training and Development;
Programme 5: Compliance / Support to Council, Management and Staff Members / Revenue Management / Asset Management / Procurement / Financial reporting and budget management / ICT Governance / ICT Systems and Solutions / Facilities Management / Commercial Services / Security Management / Building and Renovation Planning / Fundraising / Risk Management;
Programme 6: Education and Training / Mobilisation.
Mr Jiyane said the annual performance for achieved goals included 26% of goals not being achieved, 24% partially achieved and 50% of goals achieved. There was a comparison done to previous years which showed that there had been an improvement. There were major reasons for variances and these constraints were identified to be discontinued projects ( the Nursery and the Climate survey), change to scope of work (staff parking), recognition of when a target is completed ( \\hapo), targets dependent on the completion of //hapo ( restaurant), administrative targets, capacity constraints (fundraising). Stripped of these constraints, performance was commendable, given that delivery had been taking place in a changing environment.
A breakdown of programme performance was given:
Programme 1 - Completion of the Park: The //hapo exhibition infrastructure had been 99% completed and the exhibition content had been 93% finalised. The opening of the //hapo exhibition had taken place on 22 April 2013. An alternative staff parking area had been identified and the design of the parking bays was scaled down to be more cost effective. Construction of the parking had been done early in the new financial year. The nursery construction had been discontinued due to it not being financially viable.
Programme 2 - Research and Knowledge / Positioning: 3 050 names for inscription on the Wall of Names verified and validated, research articles completed: ‘The Reeds’, “The Calvinia Coloured Community: A Symbol of Cape Jingoism”; three research papers on //hapo storylines had been completed: //hapo Museum at Freedom Park: A post-Apartheid analysis; Defining Inter-faith in SA: A Perspective from Freedom Park; Ubuntu as given expression within Freedom Park.
In addition, numerous research pieces were completed for the development of content for //hapo epochs and storylines. Four research pieces on historical international relations and an opinion piece on Robert Sobukwe had been completed and lastly seven research papers for the Book Project were submitted.
Temporary exhibitions included: Papers on the transformation of the temporary exhibition in the Gallery of Leaders; Comparative analysis of Rwandan genocide and SA genocide was developed for a temporary exhibition on Rwandan Genocide; A temporary exhibition on banishments had been mounted. IKS research to enhance the storyline at //hapo within the national priorities was partially achieved. A 3-year research plan had reviewed with a research focus on reconciliation, nation building and social cohesion. In addition, the following research proposals in line with reconciliation and social cohesion had been drafted for implementation: Calvinia Reconciliation Project; Calvinia Garden of Remembrance.
These plans had been developed but not approved in time: Advertising, Public Relations and Communication, Outreach and Tourism and Marketing; Guidelines for cost-effective events management.
More extensive use of social media networks was noted; features were placed in numerous magazines and newspapers; five out of seven national holidays had been held at Freedom Park; outreach through 16 exhibitions and five community outreaches; media presence in both print and electronic media increased; six joint collaborative initiatives with tourism; production of information literature in accordance with the Brand SA Manual was achieved and visitor flow and visitor satisfaction had been partially achieved. Freedom Park had received two awards: PMR Diamond Arrow Award, recognising the Park for its contribution to the economic growth and development of the City of Tshwane. Tshwane Tourism Award recognising Freedom Park as an interesting heritage destination. Lastly there had been improved marketing and brand awareness.
Programme 3 - Curatorship/Archiving: There had been three front-end evaluation workshops, the development and implementation of the audio system and language interpretation including braille in the seven epochs in //hapo had been partially achieved. Audio-Visual hardware and film production had been 96% completed. 1 619 items had been collected and 1 694 items were accessioned. A bulk storage file that complied with best conservation practice had been installed. The draft file plan had been being finalised in collaboration with National Archives.
Programme 4 - Organisational development: Although Employee Surveys were not conducted in September 2012 and March 2013, there were focus group sessions to discuss the outcomes of the 2011 survey were held and a workshop on embedding organisational values had been the first step in addressing issues that came out in the 2011 survey. A baseline and plan on reduction of employee turnover rate had been established and the total staff turnover rate for the financial year was 5.9%. The staff retention rate based on the matrix that was developed was 92.3% for the financial year. Staff complaints were addressed within timelines specified in grievance procedure Various HR policies were reviewed and updated. A Performance Management Workshop had been conducted in October 2012 and another presentation was given at a staff meeting in February 2013. All VIP modules licenced to Freedom Park were optimally utilised
Programme 5 - Compliance: Except for some challenges with ICT, all targets in this programme were achieved and some exceeded. ICT operations informed by strategic plans aligned to the business objectives had not been achieved as the plan was deemed too costly. Although the ICT governance framework was approved by Council on 30 October 2012, a Steering Committee to decide on resource allocation and implementation of the Framework was not constituted. ICT systems and solutions acquired and implemented as required by the business due to non-procurement of the Building Management System. The tender processes was being re-initiated to appoint an electronics engineer and subsequently the system provider. The Tender Evaluation Committee evaluated the tender documents for the acquisition of the Ticketing System. The scope of new updates for disaster recovery had been partially achieved as the exhibition was still under construction.
The security awareness programme was reviewed and approved and bi-annual awareness sessions were presented to all staff. Fire Emergency drills were conducted and an awareness session on Senior Management Vetting was presented to management. The Health and Safety Policy was approved by MANCO for submission to Council. The draft Security Policy was placed on the Intranet for comments. Regarding loading contracts onto the system with built-in controls, service reports for maintenance elements per contract were verified; however compliance was not monitored in the 2nd quarter and there was a deficiency in the internal controls. Regarding management of the book shop and arts and crafts, a certificate for acceptable use of food premises and business operations was obtained from the City of Tshwane. Terms of reference for the appointment of a service provider had been finalised and submitted to National Treasury for inputs before advertising.
Programme 6 - Education and Partnerships: Signing of agreements (MOAs) and joint implementation of projects were partially achieved. An MOA with Rhodes University was signed, which led to the joint hosting of the launch of the book that was authored by Dr Saleem Badat. Several other MOAs were near completion. Five educational activities were developed; 16 educational activities in line with the school curriculum for different grades, and 13 educational programmes were developed, reviewed and analysed to ensure relevance of the educational needs of the target market. He said that in total 32 educational presentations had been conducted during the financial period.
Details of partnerships with like-minded stakeholders and institutions and the signing of MOUs were provided: Examples were: Rhodes University and banishment project; HSRC seminar’s on Military veterans
MOUs included: Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR); Institute for Healing of Memories (IHOM); Hantam Municipality University of South Africa (UNISA); Heritage Foundation; Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC); NUUPATHSA; Restitution Foundation. Of particular significance had been the strengthening of collaboration with the Voortrekker Monument, since the opening of the reconciliation road in December 2011.
Strategies to overcome underperformance:
Temporary exhibitions: With the completion of the permanent exhibition, the development of temporary exhibitions will be fast tracked in the new financial year. Already, a Human Trafficking and Nelson Mandela exhibition were held, and another is planned during the 16 days of Activism.
Tourism Marketing Plan: A well thought, carefully crafted tourism and marketing plan to usher Freedom Park to another level for implementation has been developed. Further to identifying the target markets and strategies to reach, retain and expand on the existing markets, the strategy delineates how best to effectively and efficiently profile Freedom Park through advertisements.
Outreach plan: In order to increase the volumes of visitors to Freedom Park, an aggressive outreach plan to take Freedom Park brand to villages, towns and cities across South Africa and the African Continent will be rolled out. Marketing and promotional materials will be distributed to all targeted markets and the public at large, using various channels including social groups such as churches, youth forums, women’s groups and a range of other institutions such as schools. Efforts will be made to familiarise every school learner and pre-scholar with the Freedom Park brand.
IKS research: All IKS projects have been centralised in the Heritage and Knowledge Department.
Audio system and language interpretation: Develop the language interpretation plan and Braille after the completion of content installation. This will ensure that the exhibition is interpreted in all official languages, the plan will be informed by the national language policy. The National Council of the Blind will be consulted to ensure that Freedom Park meets the needs of the client.
Research on //hapo epochs and storylines: More attention will be devoted to this area of research now that sufficient content on //hapo epochs and storylines for permanent exhibitions has been delivered. Researchers will be given more time for research, fieldwork and writing fully-fledged papers.
Collection and accessioning: A collection development plan guided by the //hapo storyline will be developed. Archival processing standards will be developed to guide the accessioning, cataloguing and electronic archiving processes of materials and objects.
Object conditions: An object management plan and process flow manual will be developed to guide the assessment of object conditions and for reporting purposes.
Records management system: The file plan will be submitted to National Archives for final approval. An implementation plan will be developed to guide the process of establishing the Registry office.
Communication plan: Develop a fully functional Internal Communication plan, and ensure that every employee of Freedom Park is empowered with the vision, mission, values and programmes of the organisation.
Information Communication Technology (ICT): A three year ICT strategy to be reviewed and brought in line with reasonable expectations. Establishment of the ICT steering committee dependent on the organisational committee review to be performed by Corporate Governance. Inputs will be provided during the review. Reporting on ICT system solutions dependent on the award and implementation of systems following the tender process. Update and review of the data backup and recovery process
Building inspection checklists; building management system; retail services were also identified.
Fundraising portfolio: This will have to be totally overhauled and a new approach employed. A new plan will optimise on the relative strength of the Freedom Park brand including its good governance, financial and auditing track record over the years. This required scanning potential corporate sponsors and commission deeper engagements with them and ultimately isolate attainable joint programmes with them whilst co-branding for mutual benefit.
Mr Jiyane stated that Freedom Park faced a major challenge where operational grants received in the past financial years as well as the coming financial years are not covering operational expenditure incurred and to be incurred in the near future. These challenges were already being experienced at the early stages of Freedom Park’s life cycle; where the Park is not yet at the stage where it could generate the revenue required to operate and maintain current and newly built facilities. Operational grants had only grown marginally against the operational requirements of FP. This has put a strain on the organisations’ budget. Assistance from the Department had been received through the transferring of municipal accounts to the Department of Public Works amounting to an estimated R4 million per annum. Further assistance had been obtained from DAC through the infrastructure maintenance grant amounting to R4.3 million.
A comparison was provided of income and expenditure for 2012/2013 versus 2011/12. Under-collection of admission fees were due to the delays in the opening of //hapo, therefore impacting on the overall revenue generation capabilities of the Park. Over collection of revenue on the operational grant was due to an additional grant obtained from the Department of Tourism for the funding of an intern programme. Over collection relating to interest revenue was due to the delays experienced in the capital outflows of the capital budget. An adjustment budget had been approved mid financial year to ensure that over and under collections will not materially impact the organisation.
An outline of programme expenditure was given. The information showed that the prior year budget information had not been available due to the fact that the new framework for performance information had only became applicable in the 2012/2013 financial year ensuring budgeting per objective and target performance. Under expenditure on the adjusted budget (adjusted for surplus retention) was due to the late approval of surplus retention. A substantial amount had not spent on programmes related to:
- the opening of //hapo (opening delayed to the next financial year)
- repairs and maintenance (replacement of lights done in a more cost effective manner).
Capital investment, maintenance and asset management: Some projects had not been implemented and were therefore not listed, due to the fact that Freedom Park focussed on the opening of the new museum //hapo. The reconciliation road had been practically completed in 2011/2012 with final completion achieved in the 2012/2013. A saving of R1.4 million had been achieved on this project against the initial estimated costs. He asked those present to note that other projects listed had not been listed in terms of financial year specific or had not yet been fully completed, for example the engravings funding will last for several financial years as names are identified, verified and inscribed. The exhibition development project had not fully completed by end of financial year; however there were significant savings in the estimated project costs. A significant increase in equipment maintenance costs and facilities management costs were expected over the next MTEF period due to the opening of //hapo. Although the facilities of Freedom Park were generally in a good condition, a valuator will be appointed in the next financial year to reassess the expected useful lives of infrastructure assets which may have an impact on the financial statements.
Mr Jiyane provided tables for capital expenditure, revenue projections, staff cost projections. Significant staff cost increases had been experienced over the previous MTEF due to organisational growth. The grant allocations had not grown at the same rate as staff costs. Basic salaries had increased by 9% from the previous financial year (including performance based increases). Cost saving measures and reprioritisation had been implemented in Goods and services.
Financial focus areas going forward:
Exceeding the budgeted number of visitors by implementing a sound marketing strategy and aggressive marketing, retaining regular customers such as schools and universities. Fully utilising the facilities of Freedom Park for commercial services for venue hiring, equip facilities and train staff. Appropriately implementing restructuring with the objective to minimise positions to ensure an adequate saving on salaries in the 2014/2015 financial year. Secure future infrastructure maintenance grants by appropriately spending and reporting on the current grant received. Cost cutting/saving initiatives implemented on a year on year basis. Alternative sources of funding for other projects such as from NLB and fundraising. Partnerships with likeminded institutions, sharing costs and achieving objective. Lastly there was a move to implementation of new ticketing, accounting and events management systems – e-workflow (which were paperless).
Governance and audit outcomes:
Freedom Park has achieved a clean audit for the third year in succession and had only reported findings relate to the restatement of corresponding figures. The activist, fully functional council, had the following sub-committees: Audit Committee; Finance Committee; Bid Adjudication Committee; HR and Remuneration Committee; Strategic Committee; Ethics Committee. They also had internal audit and risk management functions, Code of Conduct, Corporate Governance Unit headed by a Company Secretary and the CFO was a qualified chartered accountant.
Freedom Park was ensuring financial sustainability of the Park, realigning the organisational structure with strategy to optimise delivery, ensuring full operationalisation of the new museum, //hapo. It was strengthening existing partnerships with stakeholders and communities, implementing a marketing strategy that places major focus on a national drive to increase numbers and promote local tourism. The major focus of Freedom Park's outreach was to be schools, embassies, and international markets. As a contribution to reconciliation, social cohesion and nation building, Freedom Park would fully implement the Reconciliation Project in Calvinia, which would be rolled out to other provinces, starting in KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and the Free State. There was also a move to establish the Knowledge Centre: production of knowledge that is foregrounded in IKS, and create spaces for national dialogue.
The Chairperson said a clean audit did not mean there were not organisational problems. One needed to bring a proper picture of what was happening as some entities came and said they were fine but in actual fact they were not. A true reflection also spoke to what was happening within human resources.
Mr Ntapane asked how much had been spent on the discontinued nursery and why had it been started?
Mr Jiyane replied it was part of the original plans and was to replenish indigenous plants within the Park. When he had come in, he had looked at the project and seen it was not viable financially. He had looked at the whole Freedom Park model and found the institution to be in trouble financially and it had been one of the cuts. The whole institution had been ‘bloated’ in terms of expenses.
Mr Ntapane asked what was being done about social cohesion? This was very important for South Africa.
Mr Ntapane asked what were the challenges in achieving the goal pertaining to visitor flow?
Mr Ntapane asked why the ‘steering committee was not constituted’?
Mr Ntapane asked why the operational grant was in the negative?
Ms Moss said the operational budget needed to speak to the plan for 2012/13. Every entity that belonged to the state needed a five year plan. Entities did not need to plan for programmes they did not have budgets for. She was concerned that the operational budget was under pressure and that such a high percentage was being spent on the operational cost. The main question was how did the structural plan of the entity look? There was a need to look into the structure plan.
Mr Jiyane replied that the issue was that there were too many people in terms of staff. The position of a deputy CEO was one that was a waste of money. There had also been a number of other positions that were not needed and paid a great deal. These and other positions had been taken away.
Ms Moss said there were important programmes that needed to be rolled out to all parts of the country especially rural communities.
Ms Moss asked how tenders were handled and who was involved in the tender process. Was there a bid committee or a supply chain process that deal with the matter?
Mr Jiyane replied that there had been a senior manager who had manipulated the tender process. There had been a great number of tenders irregularly awarded. The process had been manipulated as persons had said that their service provider was the sole service provider. When he had come in he had requested the goods be delivered from all service providers who had yet to deliver. There had been disciplinary action, in terms of mismanagement of tenders, but people had accused him of being on a ‘witch hunt’ and cases had been taken to the CCMA. There had been abuse of the tender process and dealing with the matters had led to conflict within the institution. He had been accused of a number of things including ‘employing his buddies’ but the people who were employed included those present at this meeting and had been the best. The process had now been cleaned up and some contracts had been cancelled and some re-negotiated. A new template had been created for contracts. The process now involved the head of department, the CFO, the chairman of the bid adjudication committee and the procurement officer.
Ms Moss asked if the structural plan spoke to the skills shortage or to the skills plan?
Ms Moss said that the organogram was one she had not seen before as she saw a deputy CEO and wondered what the function was?
Mr Jiyane replied that the CEO who had been in the position before had been a political figure and needed someone who could run the institution on a day to day basis. He had taken a report to Council and had shown that the position was not necessary and was a waste of money.
Mr Ntapane noted the awards and asked what had informed the giving of awards?
Mr Ntapane commended the Freedom Park on staff retention.
Ms Mushwana commented that there was a need to have more of a gender balance. There was nothing wrong with the number of men but there needed to be as many women.
Dr Van Schalkwyk asked if the HR policy was followed in reference to vacancies?
Dr Van Schalkwyk asked what percentage of the budget was being used by salaries. Had there been an increase in the salary of the CEO? She asked why different department heads earned different salaries.
Civil society participation
Mr Ntshiqela asked whether there were partnerships with civil society and what was the level of participation of civil society within the programmes? Was there access for civil society to come and view what was happening and learn from what was happening?
Support to council
Mr Ntshiqela asked what kind of support did the institution provide to council?
Mr Ntshiqela asked what it meant that ‘the goal of visitor flow had been partially achieved’? He asked for records of how many visitors came to the park on average per month.
Identification of registered space
Mr Ntshiqela asked for clarification on the notion that ‘there had been identification of registered space.’
Ms Moss asked why the Freedom Park had not been able to raise two million rand.
Mr Jiyane replied that he had tried to help the person who had filled the fundraising role but they had not been open to help and instead there had been allegations of sexual harassment. There had been a number of changes made in order to save Freedom Park money and limit fruitless expenditure. The person who had been in charge of the portfolio had not raised any money and they did not even know how to write a funding proposal.
Issues within Freedom Park
The Chairperson said Freedom Park had been called on issues of integrity. She asked the CEO if he felt his style of management was accommodative. She was asking especially in light of the unions.
Mr Jiyane replied that they had had complaints about his management style. There had been people who were ‘bitter’ and if there were issues then there was a need to resolve them.
Adv M Ramoloja, HOD of Human Resources for Freedom Park, replied that there had not been a proper handover in terms of the new Council and some people had not dealt well with change. There were issues being dealt with and Freedom Park would continue to deal with these.
The Chairperson said the report did not speak to who had been suspended or dismissed and other such issues. Why was this the case? And the fact that there was no proper handover meant that things were ‘starting again’.
The Chairperson said that a researcher had been moved into the position of acting HOD complete with salary and the person who had been in the position had been removed. Was someone having a ‘favourable relationship’ with her? This was another issue that needed to be dealt with. She said that the credibility of an institution needed to go up and not down.
Mr Vusi Mchunu, Chairman of the Council of Freedom Park, replied that Freedom Park found themselves in a transitional phase. The challenges faced were human resource challenges which related a lot to the relationship between ‘where Freedom Park wanted to go and what was found on the ground’. Working within the HR system and the union led to a great deal of interaction and working together and finding a way forward. He was trying to give context to what had been happening. Council had been trying to address the negative press and anonymous finger pointing. Council had appointed a committee to look into these matters and had been to the CCMA and the Public Protector and all instances where these matters were being raised. They had also outlined the way the investigations had been going. The work of the Committee had gone a long way and the special committee would be presenting, to the Council, a report on those negative aspects on 29 October. The process had been open. The matter had been of great concern to the Council. The report would be communicated to the Committee. Freedom Park was a big institution and restructuring ‘implied a lot.’ Seventy two per cent of the budget went to salaries. There were also programmes to train staff and retain staff and these go a long way toward carrying the weight of the institution.
Mr Jiyane replied that the woman who had been appointed to the position had been the best researcher and had been very capable. The annual report that was before the Committee had been compiled by her and she had been good at her job. He emphasised that she had been a very good researcher and had proven able to tackle the job when there had been a need to fill the vacancies.
Mr van den Berg asked if the document pertaining to sexual harassment could be addressed. He understood that some people who had written to the Committee were still working for Freedom Park and he wondered how the Chairperson would tackle that matter.
The Chairperson said that one of the major concerns was how the Council dealt with a previous case. Council should be given time to review the issue. Sexual harassment was a serious accusation and although it was a serious matter it could also be abused. There had been facts such as the CEO taking trips with the complainant and there was a need to address these matters but not at this time within this meeting.
Mr Vusi Mchunu replied that there had been an investigation which formed part of the report that was being produced. No stone was left unturned in terms of that investigation. He said that the matter was being internally addressed by professionals and there was no need to pre-empt the findings.
The Chairperson said that they were not pre-empting anything. She was just saying that a sexual harassment case could be abused. She had said that the matter was not to be discussed now and it was being taken to the Board. When citizens of South Africa were not satisfied, then it was the mandate of the Committee to take up the matter. There was no need to get emotional about how the Committee conducted itself. It asked the ‘hard questions’. She referred the matter to the Council.
Mr van den Berg said members of the public approached Members of Parliament so the Members had to get answers to take back to the public. It was not about accusing people but about collecting the correct facts.
Presenting all information
The Chairperson said that there was a need to say what was happening within the organisation and there was a need to state all the changes that had been made. Putting all the information within documents assisted the Committee and entities within the meeting.
Ms Moss said that the Committee played an oversight role and there was a need to present all that was happening.
There was a request for the rest of the answers to be put in writing as the members had to attend a sitting of the National Assembly.
The meeting was adjourned.
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