The Chairperson opened the meeting by emphasising the importance of information and communication in the ongoing relationship between the Portfolio Committee and the Department. She stressed that documents need to be submitted on time, which was proving difficult. She asked that the Director General respond to outstanding requests from the previous meeting followed by a political overview from the Minister, preceding the presentation of the 2015-2019 Strategic Plan and 2015/16 Annual Performance Plan.
The Director General explained that the documents were available, but that the Department was currently updating them to reflecting recent changes to its approach.
The Minister provided a political overview, touching on recent events in South Africa, including debates around statues, which he argued was not surprising and highlighted the call for the transformation of the heritage landscape. He urged people not to take progress for granted and listed several examples of how the transformation process had unfolded since 1994. He further urged the public to act within the legal framework to address issues and concerns, a point echoed by the common position of the Portfolio Committee. The recent xenophobic attacks were mentioned and the Minister highlighted the importance of unity and detailed the Department’s plans for Africa month in May.
In the discussion that followed, Members generally agreed that the transformation process had been too slow and that the Department should fast track urgent matters so that the public do not lose patience, but acknowledged that the process was complex and sophisticated. Some members focused on the issue of name changes, rather than statues. The Minister’s response was that the parameters were in place, and urged leaders to take the initiative, it was not the role of the Ministry to initiate each and every process, rather, it would be a measure to resolve conflict. He also described the Heroes Acre project currently under way.
A common theme that was raised a number of times, was the importance of communication. The Members felt that the Department had not done enough to communicate with the public, regarding projects and programmes. People need to understand what the Department was doing and what was had got planned for the future. This would likely reduce some of the conflict and pressure that was mounting.
The Director General presented the Strategic Plan and Annual Performance Plan, followed by individual presentations from the managers of the key programmes of the Department. The focus of the first presentation was the broader context and the planning process as well as an overview of projects and programmes, achievements and challenges.
The Members raised a number of questions and concerns, and generally felt that the presentation lacked details and was not sufficient to allow them to monitor and oversee the Department. The Chairperson emphasised this point and requested that the Department comply. In response, the Department suggested that a template be worked on to resolve this issue.
There was not enough time to cover all of the questions or complete the final presentation. In the next meeting a strategic communication strategy should be discussed, as well as the responses to the questions that had not been answered and the information that had not yet been made available.
The Chairperson noted that the Committee had previously asked the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC or the Department) to make all documents available at least ten days before the meeting, to assist the Committee with its task of oversight, but that this had not been done to date. She asked the Department to give clarity on the documents just handed out.
Mr Vuyo Jack, Acting Director General, Department of Arts and Culture gave a brief overview of progress on matters previously queried by the Committee, as follows:
1) The list of social cohesion advocates was now ready but the Department was in the process of expanding the list
2) The lists of schools participating in the "Artist in Schools" programme was available
3) The report on the community conversations and izimbizo was ready but the Department was revising the approach so the current report details the approach taken in the past. The new approach will include themes and topics as well as measures and indicators of impact of the conversations. It will now distinguish between conversations around specific themes and the imbizo, which was open to allow people to raise issues. This will make it easier to measure impacts
4) The Department was preparing reports on the cultural seasons. Currently, only the French cultural season was complete, with South African and French legs completed, and a detailed report was available. Two other seasons were currently under way, the China season (to be held this year in South Africa) and the UK season, but not yet finalised.
The Chairperson thanked Mr Jack for his response and reiterated the importance of the specific information requested from the Department. She noted that the completed lists were not yet with the Committee, and stressed again that when information was requested, and when it became specifically available, it must be sent to the Committee. She urged the Department to act timeously, noting that in the absence of this information, the Committee would be unable to discuss the matters today. The lists were needed to help the Committee understand where the artists were, in order to assist, or in order to go out to identified areas to see what the impact of interventions had been, and to provide feedback to the Department on what was and was not working, to assist the Department in meeting its objectives.
Political Overview by the Minister of Arts and Culture
Mr Nathi Mthethwa, Minister of Arts and Culture, affirmed that the Department would be interested in hearing how the Strategic Plan and Annual Performance Plan (APP) were received by stakeholders, particularly the Committee.
He said that the discussion on matters of transformation, particularly around the national heritage landscape, was very much a topical issue in South Africa. It was not surprising that this had happened, for in any journey of change, signs and symbols would become important. The intervention in this meeting needed to be grounded by emphasising that what was happening, particularly around the statues, was about the broader issue of transformation, and it was not unique to South Africa nor happening for the first time. Government, since the first dispensation, had embarked on a process to transform the heritage landscape. There were many examples of where this had happened, and in many cases these changes were taken for granted (ie Limpopo, Polokwane, Free State and Bram Fisher Airport and OR Tambo International Airport). He gave several examples to make the point that this process did not begin with the call for the statue of Cecil John Rhodes to fall, but it was a process that was ongoing.
In 2011, Cabinet took a decision that the Department of Arts and Culture should lead a process of the liberation heritage route. No areas had been untouched by the process. Many municipalities were named after leaders. In the Eastern Cape, Steve Biko was honoured. This process was already well under way so that there was no cause to think that government had not done anything. Leaders at all levels of government had taken initiatives. For example, in North West after the repatriation of the remains of struggle stalwart, Moses Kotane, there was discussion on renaming that province after him. Heritage was an important issue, as was mentioned in the last meeting on the budget vote. The fact of the matter was that the South African heritage landscape was still viewed through the prism of erstwhile colonisers, and that had to change, over time, within the legislative process. Change needed to happen in a particular context, respecting the dignity of all people. South Africa belonged to all who lived in it, united in diversity towards a united nation. This was not a matter of black people dominating white people in South Africa. The Freedom Charter emphasised this point, and so did the Constitution of South Africa. There was no suggestion that this government would "drive the white man into the sea". After the conflicts of the past, after a negotiated process of transition, it was now necessary to find a way of living together, convincing each other and entering into and deepening dialogue amongst ourselves. This was the justification for the ongoing community conversations, spearheaded by the Department.
There had to be a way to say that there was Mandela and this was what he did for this country, and for humanity in general, and his actions should be memorialised in the seat of power, in the Union Buildings, whilst at the same time getting into conversation with those who supported Barry Hertzog, who was not a symbol of transition. There was no suggestion that the memory of Hertzog should be destroyed but, at the seat of power, it was apposite that he should give way to Mandela, who had led the struggle for freedom for South African people, both black and white.
The Minister urged that there should be recognition of the sensitivity, and those in power could not simply do away with everything. Every symbol and sign needed to be looked at in terms of its merits. This statue debate came at the right time, where there was ongoing change, for it did not occur in a vacuum. But the discussion should be broadened, because it was not only about statues, which were really a metaphor for a bigger debate about transformation in our society.
He used the example of University of Cape Town (UCT), saying that the students should be commended for raising the matter of Cecil John Rhodes, who was a coloniser, a politician, and a business person who was an imperialist in thinking and deed. The students said the statue must go, which was not to suggest that Rhodes had done nothing good, but fundamentally, who he was, his imperialist thinking, white supremacist domination, was an issue. As President Mugabe would say, there was shared history between South Africa and Zimbabwe; we had the statue and they had the grave of Rhodes.
What the students had now done had been thought about long ago, and mechanisms were put in place to deal with it. There were laws in this country and therefore a process had to be followed. H reiterated that the statue demonstrations and debate did not come in a vacuum. The Department reported last year that one of the projects to change the heritage landscape was to build a Heroes Acre in South Africa, and that was ongoing for the site had been identified and the process was starting. Hundreds of statues would be in one place at Heroes Acre, which had never happened anywhere in the world, from the pre-colonial era, through the colonial era, to 1994. This was the project that the Department was working on. Therefore, he would say to the students, for instance at UCT, “Welcome to the party, let’s shape our heritage together".
The Minister said that in some places, African brothers were at each other’s throats. Any discriminatory practices had to be condemned and programmes need to be developed to deal with that. He commended the province of KwaZulu Natal (KZN) who had planned action to respond to what was happening there. However, again, this was something already raised last year. There was much work to be done, as South Africans, to connect and reconnect with the Continent.
The Department wanted to declare the month of May as Africa Month and come up with a programme, with a highlight in 25 May, which was the date that the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) was formed in 1963. In South Africa and Africa, very little had been done to commemorate this very important milestone in history. OAU’s main objective was to unite all Africans, to decolonise Africa and when OAU turned 50, almost all the countries of the continent were liberated, had gained their independence, perhaps with the exception of Western Sahara, for which all of us everyone had a duty to call for its independence from Morocco. This point had to be made repeatedly. He said that predecessors may be "turning in their graves" because those that came after them had not continued with their goals, and attention should be paid to Western Sahara. The task of uniting society was a process, always under construction, it was never complete because one day particular discrimination could happen, through racism, xenophobia, homophobia, sexism and so on, and that task continued. There was no one specific matter that called for this response, and although Africa Month was to happen in South Africa in May, 31 countries had confirmed that they were going to be a part of this, because ideally, Africa month would be rotated. The theme was “Africa, opening the doors of learning and culture, from Cape to Cairo”. This year also marked the 60th year of the Freedom Charter and at the same time South Africa was galvanising society for unity throughout the continent.
The Minister hoped that these programmes would address some of the things happening in our society. Both the DAC's Annual and Strategic plans had to speak to these issues so that at the end of the day the country could look back at the commitments made and see how far it had come with those commitments. South Africa sought to transform the entire sector of Arts, Culture and heritage, not only heritage, and with arts and culture, a call had already been made by the President in 2009, which contributed to ensure that a federation was born. This federation, Cultural and Creative Industries of South Africa (CCIFSA), would give voice to the artists and cultural activists in this country. It was committed to participation to transform the sector. There should not be a situation where people were able to hire and fire artists and cultural activists at will, and remuneration must be regulated. CCIFSA would help all artists to work together and raise their issues sharply in society with government and everybody else.
The Minister said he was comfortable with the knowledge that the arts and culture sector now also had a voice, similar to others - agriculture and domestic workers' sectors had regulations around remuneration and should happen in the arts and culture sector also. In the process of reviewing the White Paper, the Department urged the Committee to participate vigorously, so that the people who had been struggling all this time would find a way to say, when speaking of Miriam Makeba, Mandla Masuku, or Caiphus Simenya, Dollar Brand / Abdullah Ibrahim or Hugh Masekela, that their struggle was not in vain, the new generation had been able to take up their fight.
He emphasised the point of nation building and social cohesion through having social cohesion advocates. The Social Cohesion Summit was held in 2012, and progress would be followed up in this financial year. The project was on, the engagement was on, and community conversations were ongoing. The issues were fundamentally about economic justice and radical economic transformation. In relation to the xenophobia or Afrophobia in the townships and villages, he said that there might be elements of economic distress, but this did not give anyone the right to attack another. South Africans engaged in the transition. When people spoke of a miracle, they spoke of South Africans’ superiority to rise above narrow issues in society, and the Department was confident, that by sheer devotion to the task, the building of a united, non racial, non sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa would be achieved. In any society there would always be opportunists with fundamentalist agendas, and whilst government understood that such attitudes would always be there, it had to ensure that they were overshadowed, even when making destructive noise that was not going to contribute to building society, for destruction was easy, but building was not. He suggested that South Africa should not choose the line of opportunism or demagogy, but should stick to a very principled line of building a united nation, in the interests of current and future generations.
The Chairperson thanked the Minister for the overview and explained that the Committee had had a discussion on the issue of vandalising and defacing statues in the meeting on Tuesday, and wanted to come up with a common position on the matter. The discussion had been quite heated, with different viewpoints but the Committee was united in condemning acts of vandalism, and encouraged people to use the legal processes to solve any problems.
The Chairperson said that before the Director General presented, the Committee wanted to see how the programmes of the Department were going to speak to the issues that were within communities, which was why the Committee had requested detailed information from the Department. For example, when the Department said that it was holding community conversations, the Committee wanted to know what that meant and what was being discussed.
Mr T Makondo (ANC) welcomed the presentation by the Minister around the transformation agenda taking place in South Africa (SA) and agreed that what led to the debate around statues was part of the transformation agenda, even though it was not guided by the legislation. He noted that the transformation agenda in South Africa was taking place very slowly, which was why people were taking these kinds of steps. There was little evidence of government leading the issue of name changes. The only province that had gone beyond expectations in terms of name changes was Limpopo. The current approach was not the same as the old colonial manner, which named places after Voortrekker leaders who had arrived and set up camps or settlements, for the approach was far slower. He noted that in 1993 there was renaming, but urged government to fast track the transformation agenda so that people did not lose patience. The Committee accepted the plans to build large monuments, but name changes had to be fast-tracked in the meantime. It was strange to find that, after 21 years of democracy, streets in cities were still named after apartheid leaders, and although the movements in Tshwane were appreciated, in other provinces more lead had to be shown.
Ms A Matshobeni (EFF) agreed with Mr Makondo that the process was too slow, and said that statues should have been removed a long time ago. She mentioned the serious discussion that took place between Members of the Committee and acknowledged that there were some different views about the removal of statues, but the Committee had agreed that a single position was needed, whatever their personal views about statues as a symbol or individuals they represented. This Department, and its agencies, had done nothing to celebrate the heroes and there were still symbols of oppression. There were statues of Queen Elizabeth here, instead of those of Winnie Madikizela Mandela, Albertina Sisulu or Veronica Sobukwe, and the Department needed to take a single stance.
Ms V Magotsi (ANC) agreed with other Members that the process was slow, but added that it was sophisticated and involved issues of all people's history. It was not possible to complete the process in just 20 years of democracy. The protest against Rhodes had put a lot of pressure on the Department. It had become a class issue. When people of higher learning institutions take the process forward the government was likely to take a stance that academics were understanding the process of transformation. She wanted to know how others, say in Soweto, understood the process. She urged the Department to have a more open process, perhaps using social media to communicate with the communities to explain the process and progress of programmes and letting them know, for example how many statues had been removed. In the last Committee meeting it was stated that social cohesion, unity and ubuntu was what the Committee wanted to see, and it was clear that progress was being made. The removal of the Hertzog statue was a big step that government had taken and she urged the Department, with the pressure that was coming, to not ignore the class issue. The process needed to be quicker and people needed to know what was happening. She suggested that izimbizo should be taken to the people. At the moment, the institutions of higher education were debating, and they were clear on the issues, connected through IT, and understood what was happening quickly.
Ms S Tsoleli (ANC) welcomed the input from the Minister and congratulated the Department on the launch of CCIFSA, which was really long overdue. She asked the Minister how it would be funded, and who would be responsible for looking after the money. If it was funded through the money that was appropriated from Parliament, then reports must be made on spending.
Ms Tsoleli suggested that the Department needed to strengthen its communications strategy around statues, because if there was a vacuum, opportunists would move in. In some places name changes were taking place but communities did not know what was happening, and the Department needed to communicate what had and what would happen, setting out the processes and what would be achieved. Citizens tended to think the removal of statues was just starting now, but this had been happening throughout history. Inasmuch as the Committee did not agree with defacing statutes, this too had always been happening, and even when the names were changed, some of the statues of struggle heroes were defaced and the media was not as outspoken as it was now. She cited some examples from New Town. The media should assist in communicating the real issues, and make the distinction that the same people now upset about defacing of statues had probably done the same themselves to struggle heroes' symbols. Citizens depend on the communication that came from the Department, and that was currently lacking. Although the public office bearers had responsibilities to communicate to their constituencies, the Department was in a better place for widespread communication.
Commenting on the xenophobic attacks, Ms Tsoleli noted that the DAC was at the core of social cohesion, and asked if it was working with the Department of Home Affairs to ensure that there was some sort of integration of foreign people within the communities in South Africa.
The Minister said that government had been telling artists to organise themselves, to avoid working in silos, which made it hard to achieve shared goals. The challenge was that nobody was helping artists to organise themselves, so government had committed to doing this, to establish a federation. The survival of the federation would be up to its members and its constituents. The role of government was to create a conducive environment for artists to do their jobs. The agreement for 2014, 2015 and 2016 was to help set up and organise the federation.
The Minister agreed with the fundamental points that communication was lacking, and this was indeed the Achilles heel in government as a whole. However, he also noted that people still did not appear to appreciate the role of government, even thought they lived in a house. The point you were raising was fundamental, that communication was lacking which was a broader government “Achilles heel”. People in communities do not think anything was happening, even though they live in a house provided by government programmes and held their meetings in a government-erected hall. Sometimes the obvious had to be stated again. He agreed that there was a need to state clearly that this process had not started with the "Rhodes must Fall" movement, but long ago.
He asked who was asking the Department to fast track these processes, noting that in a sense the DAC acted as "appellate body" on name changes. With places like Louis Trichardt and Pretoria, those after whom they had been named had, respectively, replaced Makado and Tshwane. It was people who had to drive the process, but he agreed that they needed more information on how to follow the process and what had been done. It was correct that Limpopo was leading in terms of transformation and changing of names of signs, people and so on.
The issue of defacing was a big issue, including street signs; in eThekwini there was not one street not re-named, but the signs were covered with graffiti, an issue not taken up by the media. He agreed with the Committee that vandalism, no matter who was doing it, could not be condoned.
The Minister stressed that the processes were complex, and we should not be simplistic about the history. Apartheid machinery faced the liberation movement in a protracted struggle, but even before that there were walls of resistance and the breakthrough was a negotiated process. The Constitution of South Africa was envied by democrats the world over, but did not come easy, but came out of a negotiated settlement, which was an important point to note. South Africa’s quest for freedom was not achieved with one section of society dominating another, or merely changing everything whether black or white. Nobody would argue against the fact that that more signs and symbols of the time were needed, though some of them were taken for granted - people no longer remembered the previous name of OR Tambo Airport. Even when the process was initiated there had been resistance. Each matter had to be taken on its merits, as it was not possible to have one size fitting all. The question was how to connect and how to act to build a united nation. Students in 1976 rebelled against Afrikaans as medium of instruction, and whilst it was not found anywhere else in the world, it was part of the history of this country, and many people still spoke this language, not only in white suburbs but also in the townships. The new Constitution could have decided to do away with English and Afrikaans, but understood that South Africa belonged as much to an Afrikaner child as it did to an African child. The question was how to leave a legacy which will not be a perpetual conflict in our country, and how to address it not to individuals, but to South Africans, and what were the unifying factors. These questions must feed into this discussion. Any decision to do away with white people and white symbols and replace them with black ones would go against the grain and spirit of a unified dispensation that was the basis of the constitutional democracy. He urged that all should find a way of engaging with everyone else in society.
The Minister said he was comfortable with being criticised on the pace of change and what had to be done. The legislative framework was in place, but people saw the time periods for consultation as a problem. However, those who opposed change should not be afraid to engage. Some people were not even really aware of who Cecil John Rhodes was, and perceived him only in the Rhodes-Mandela Foundation links. The people who wanted the change must approach the Department; the Department could not lead the process. If the Department were to engage in the process proactively, it would be acting as both “the referee and the player”, which was not how the process worked. Leaders in the municipalities and provinces should fast track the process. The parameters were there and it was their role to facilitate the process via the National Heritage Resources Act.
The Department observed that one of the issues that needs to be addressed was that of capacity. The current focus on statues may lead to a large number of applications. The law was clear, but the Department needed to adopt an approach that, firstly, would unify the sector by having a single view, that the heritage landscape had to be transformed. Change was happening, but more needed to be done. He noted that leaders must take charge, for if the process was rushed, the objectives might not be met. The proper procedures must be followed so the Department was not challenged in court and change would not happen. The public needed to be informed of the process, as set out in the Act.
The Chairperson reiterated that communication was key in any relationship. The Department needed to communicate processes and legal frameworks so communities understand how to address their issues. In the next meeting, she suggested there must be a discussion on strategies to ensure effective communication.
Department of Arts and Culture: Five year Strategic Plan and 2015 Annual Performance Plan briefings
The Chairperson asked the Director General to explain the additional documents handed out at the beginning of the meeting, stating that the rule was that any document that was going to be discussed in the Committee must be submitted ten days before the meeting.
Mr Jack explained that the extra documents were just an elaboration on the core content of the four programmes, intended to enrich the understanding of the tangible details of the specific projects. He would go through the presentation previously sent to the Committee.
Mr Jack began with a description of the strategic planning process. He emphasised that the Department had engaged in an extensive consultation process both within the Department and with its entities. This was important since 80% of the budget went to the entities. He emphasised the alignment with the National Development Plan (NDP) and the 2014-2019 MTSF. The Department was mandated to lead nation building and social cohesion, which was critical in the current political context.
The presentation highlighted the key achievements of the Department, including job creation, the social cohesion summit and strategic reorientation. Over 14 000 jobs were created, which was below expectations, due to the impact of the economic downturn on the sector. The social cohesion summits were held in 2012 in North West and Gauteng, while community conversations had taken place in almost all provinces.
The challenges, which he pointed out had been discussed in the previous meeting, including the findings by the Auditor General (AG) around irregular expenditure and supply chain management. Other challenges identified included the socio economic situation, gaps in the Arts and Culture sector, as well as cultural diplomacy.
Within the organisational environment, additional achievements and challenges were highlighted, pointing to the revision of the White Paper to resolve some of the issues.
The policy priorities, elaborated in the presentation included:
- An enabling policy, legislative and regulatory planning environment
- Nation building and social cohesion programmes
- Inclusive economic development
- Radical economic transformation
He then summarised the eleven key priority areas, in terms of their key imperatives:
1) Outcome 14 Coordination
2) White Paper finalisation
3) Mzanzi Golden Market
4) Heritage Promotion and Preservation
5) The Arts, Culture, Heritage (ACH) Schools Programme
6) Library Services
7) Cultural Diplomacy Programme
8) Language Programme
9) DAC Public Entity Governance
10) National Days
11) Archives and Record management
The Outcome14 coordination would target specific issues, for example, xenophobia. Mr Jack said that the Department was focusing on choosing appropriate social cohesion advocates to understand problems in communities. The Department was also committed to resolving past issues with the White Paper by broadening the consultation process and responding to comments and criticisms.
He explained that there had been an engagement between the Deputy Ministers of Arts and Culture, and Basic Education to discuss how the two departments would be working together to implement the schools programme. Within 30 days the Department would be signing an MoU to facilitate the programme, for example, the distribution of flags.
In terms of the Library service, explained that the Department was planning to implement dual purpose libraries that could be used for schools and communities, an idea raised by the Department of Basic Education. This would help increase traffic to libraries and promote reading culture.
The deadline for the Use of Languages Act was 2 May.
Elaboration of individual projects and Programmes
The Chairperson asked the presenters to focus on the highlights, since the documents were only made available that morning, the Committee had only had a chance to glance through some of them.
Mr Conrad Greve, Acting Deputy Director General: Corporate Services, DAC, presented Programme 1. He emphasised that this programme provided leadership; management and support function of the Department, which includes the Ministry and support staff.
He pre-empted questions on the status of vacancies in core positions. The Department had been able to find a suitable Chief Financial Officer (CFO) who would assume duty on 1 May. The Deputy Director General of Corporate Services would resume duty on Monday 20 April, so progress was being made.
Mr Greve did not go into the details of the programme but focused on the highlights as requested by the Chairperson. The Department set out the number of engagements between the Director General and the provincial heads. It was starting to engage stakeholders at the sectoral and provincial level. Over the last year the Department had also begun to integrate marketing and communications in annual and quarterly reports.
In addition the Department had set a target of 20 izimbizo, more that the minimum of 10 which was required. The drawing of the sectoral database was under way, which will facilitate coordination efforts. National Days needed to be more inclusive and they had been moved from Programme 1 to Programme 4, but would remain in the Programme 1 budget.
Mr Greve detailed the Monitoring Performance and (MPAT) result, and said that the baseline assessment showed that the latest results were better than in previous periods. He spoke about the centralised funding model and national targets in terms of financial management. Key targets were discussed around the employment of women, but the youth and people with disabilities (PWD) targets were not yet set.
Ms Monica Newton, Deputy Director General of Arts and Culture Promotion and Development (ACPD). DAC, presented Programmes 2 and 3. She explained that the presentation would take different formats but hoped they contain the information requested by the Committee to ensure that there was a clear sense of the programmes running, which should assist with oversight.
Programme 2 covered social cohesion, international relations and governance. Strategic goals spoke to the major priorities of the Department. The key programme for the coming year focused on the community conversations, and a thick report was being tabled today which outlined the outcomes of the 30 community conversations which were implemented in all 9 provinces. The social cohesion advocates became instruments for projects and programmes, which was important at this time where leadership was needed.
She described a theatre production with people with disabilities which was currently on tour. International relations were helped by the cultural seasons that had been mentioned earlier by the Director General, as well as Africa month, described by the Minister, which overlapped with Programmes 1 and 2. Provincial leaders would be engaged to ensure that the programmes were alive across the country.
She touched in the Windybrow and Market Theatres which had presented a number of challenges and spoke about the institutional landscape in terms of the White Paper. The issue of infrastructure challenges, which had been addressed in previous meetings, had been challenging but the Department was focusing on heritage and the upgrade, maintenance and development of facilities with a view to building capacity and improving delivery.
In relation to Programme 3, Ms Newton spoke about the development agencies and the bursaries being made available through the Department. Further, she described projects relating to the development of terminology in different languages, in the fields of Life Orientation and ICT, as an example of why it was essential to keep languages up to date.
The Mzanzi Golden Market was described. Ms Newton pointed out that a portal had been developed and social media was being used to enhance the project. Open calls had also been revised to be done on a quarterly rather than annual basis to create further opportunity and avoid exclusion of artists in relation to funding. Principals of radical transformation were also being applied to the criteria against which the submissions were assessed, with targets of 35% for youth, 5% for PWD and 50% for women.
She mentioned the success of some festivals, including Infecting the City and Afrikaburn and stressed that community art development must be inclusive.
Budgetary issues were a factor and she spoke about flexibility in the management of touring ventures. She then touched on other projects, including the Bienale, as an important opportunity to showcase work, as well as Africa month, as an opportunity for South African and African artists, NACISA incubators and access to information, through the database being developed by the Department.
The Chairperson interrupted before the final presentation, of Programme 4. The Committee was requesting information that would assist with monitoring and oversight. The APP fells short of what the Committee had expected because it was merely giving annual targets. The Committee wanted more information, particularly set time lines, to indicate what exactly would be achieved in the first quarter, for instance, so that if the DAC failed to meet objectives, the Committee would be able to pin point where and how this happened, and assist. This information did not give the Committee the information that it needed to measure progress.
The Chairperson asked if the Department felt that the information provided was sufficient to allow the Committee to monitor and hold managers accountable. She stressed that this was the information required, although some departments would claim that they were using a Treasury template, which was respected by the Committee, but it was not useful for their function. A new template was needed, with shorter time frames, to document actions over the quarters, to meet annual targets. She acknowledged that there was much work that needed to be done but the Department needed to help the Committee also to do its job in assisting the Department.
She indicated that the Committee had recently met with the AG and received a report on a sample of the plans that the AG had investigated. Stressing that it was a sample only, and that the AG had made some findings and recommendations to the Department, she noted also that the AG had asked the Department to look into the other programmes for similar issues. It was important that there was something measurable. She asked if the DAC had indeed looked into other programmes that were not included in the AG's report. She reiterated that the Committee needed specifics. For example, if the DAC was talking about finalisation of something by the end of the year, the Committee needed to know what it would be doing in the first quarter, and if the programmes would be spread to other provinces not mentioned.
Other specific questions that the Committee wanted to see answered included:
- Has the Department looked at APPs of the entities to ensure that they align with the Department’s objectives? The next step will be to meet with the entities.
- Do the figures in the budget tally with APP? Particular questions were important in relation to figures, which included the following issues
- The budget showed that the amount allocated to bursaries had declined, but the presentation said the DAC had increased the intake. If education was a priority the budget allocation could not be decreased.
- The number of community conversations was dropping, from 45 (2014/15) to 33 (2015/16)
- According to the budget, job opportunities were dropping from 28200 (2014/15) to 20990 (2015/16).
For the last three issues, if these figures were in the APP, then the DAC had to explain the decreases. The Committee understood that there were austerity measures, but what was surprising was that the travel and subsistence amounts were growing while these core programmes were being cut.
The point had been made previously that the Department was funding "apartheid institutions". This was raised by the previous Committee, and it was still not clear what was being done, based on the budget and what were the plans on this point.
The Chairperson asked the Department to elaborate on a study of existing facilities in relation also to the building of new community art centres, with a goal of having one per ward, and asked how many centres there were in total, and how the Department would get there, given the budgetary constraints.
The Chairperson stressed that Archives was an important issue, and it seemed that government may well become embroiled in litigation over provincial archives, so it was very important that the DAC raise and discuss the issues with provinces to see how they would assist.
Mr Jack asked for permission to finish the last section of the presentation, since some of the questions may be answered in that.
The Chairperson said that if the presentation on Programme 4 was going to be as requested by the Committee, he should proceed. If not, then she felt that continuing to go through it in the same way as with the other programmes would merely be wasting time.
Mr Jack asked if he could then respond to some of the issues but relate particular issues to Programme 4.
In relation to why the budget did not appear to tally with the APP, he noted that the budget was tabled in February, and the numbers had to be available in December, which was why estimates were used. To allow for reconciliation, there was a column called “adjusted appropriated” to take into account the realities that would happen in Quarter 4. When the Strategic Plan and the APP were prepared, the budget principles had to be applied. For example. in October, for the midterm budget, and also in relation to the February budget there would be certain adjustments. One example was that when the budget was prepared, the new rule about what would happen to vacancies not filled within a certain period was not applicable, hence the need now for adjustment. This had implications in other areas, like the use of consultants, to increase the compensation budget. There were various processes. He said that there could not be full alignment between budget and APP. If, for example, the Department said it would look at having 45 community art centres, or 45 community conversations, it would need nonetheless to reduce that if there was a budget freeze. The APP was aligned as far as possible with both the budget and Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF). Another example was that the Department took a decision in February to consolidate the infrastructure budget into Programme 2, which had budget implications as personnel were moved and APP targets were adjusted. Various considerations were applied in order to finalise the APP.
Mr Jack said it was also important to note the difference between estimated and final audited figures. Final audited figures should align and if they did not then there was a problem, but with estimates there was room for adjustments. The Department had to be realistic with targets which may have to be adjusted according to budget and principles set out by Treasury.
Mr Jack asked the Chairperson for clarity on the information required and suggested that the Department and Committee work on a specific example, to ensure that the appropriate information was being shared. Once both parties agreed on that, it could be signed off and this should reduce the back and forth discussions. This would make it easier also to tell the officials the rules and ensure that all information was available for seamless engagement.
In relation to the APPs of the entities, he pointed out that they were not fully reconciled with the Department's APP, because the Department looked at much broader issues, such as, for example, the policy database. The APP of an entity would also mention preparation of policies, but that looked at the specific sector, which might not affect the whole Department. What was specific could contribute to the overall goal. The sector engagement was to ensure that overall they were within the same framework. He elaborated on this point. For example, the National Arts Council would look at grants and perhaps look at very specific APP targets. To help harmonise, and to make sure goals and targets were S-M-A-R-T, the Department provided a "menu of targets" that entities could choose from and customise to suit the sector needs.
He noted that the AG would not engage in consultation, because that interfered with the process. Instead the AG took a high level view, to choose the indicators, and then highlight where these might have fallen short. For example, with distribution of flags, the question was how to prove they had been delivered? The simplest idea was to look at delivery orders and have someone sign to indicate acceptance. These were examples of where the DAC had instituted the system of signatures to move away from the vague statement of delivery. The Department had also looked at the location of specific programmes and projects to measure impacts more accurately.
The same kinds of questions applied to community conversations, which would be proven by having attendance registers, and quarterly reports on common these and how issues had been discussed. This in turn started to build up the social compact that needed to be delivered in 2018/19. The DAC had been able to refine the evidence that was being collected, to make it easier to show the progress of the Department.
Mr Vusithemba Ndima, Deputy Director General: Heritage Promotion and Preservation, DAC, responded to the questions about archives. He agreed with the comment made by the Chairperson, that attention needed to be paid to archives. He confirmed that the Department was there to discuss some of these challenges. There had been very bad press on the feasibility study around the conditional grant because most of the problems emanated from lack of financial resources. The Department was certain of this, given the challenges faced by libraries, until National Treasury had intervened. A study had been done which identified the problem areas, and also identified and costed interventions and the Department had approached National Treasury with this report with specific recommendations and requirements.
Mr Jack responded on the issue of community arts centres and explained that the Department was working on a strategy to find unused facilities like schools, community centres and others. Together with the Department of Public Works (DPW) it was determining how facilities could be upgraded or beautified to make them more attractive to organisations who would then use them.
The Chairperson emphasised that the Committee again needed specifics. When will the Department talk with DPW? When will the MoU with the Department of Education be signed? The Committee needed to know what was going to be done, with clear plans, to allow the Committee to monitor and hold the Department accountable.
Ms Newton responded to the questions about community arts centres. Work had been done to identify several unused facilities that could be used and re-purposed into community arts centres. An extensive audit was conducted in 2013/14 to indicate where both government and non government held community arts centres were located, and their current state of facilities and functioning. The detailed document was available.
Key partners in community arts programme included the nine provincial community arts centres networks of organisations and individuals who consistently worked in this field. DAC would be working with them, and also collaborating with provincial departments and local government who technically owned the facilities, to determine the refurbishment process. Consultation was under way, through the discussions with community arts networks, and the audit had provided information on what was functioning and what was not. The community arts network was helping to identify where to start. This was not only about infrastructure but about programming also, and the MTSF target was phrased in quite a nuanced way to deal with both infrastructure and programmes. To deliver the one hundred programmes, and eventually, strive towards community arts in every ward, the Department would be continuing to work with these networks and make sure programming became a reality.
The approach would be to use a hub and node strategy, to invest in strong and functional structures and let them help new or dysfunctional structures. The networks were central to this process.
Ms Newton said that in relation to bursaries, the target was 320 but because of the nature of the assistance provided, the costs varied per student and per institution. The Department had tried to be realistic about targets and budgets. She responded to the Chairperson that this was not really a reduction in figures, just an attempt to specify a target, but the Department expected to exceed the target of 320.
On job creation, she agreed that the Department was below target, mainly due to the economic downturn. The targets had been revised, and brought it into line with the current economic climate, at a challenging time in the arts sector. Jobs were being created but this was constrained by economic downturn. The current results suggested that previous estimates were now unrealistic. The Department was also getting better baseline data to inform forecasting and target different projects.
Ms Newton asked that the Committee allow her to respond in writing at a later stage to the questions raised around the figures for the community conversations, as she was not sure why they were lower, but suggested that it might be because the APP listed community conversations separately from the izimbizo.
The Chairperson noted that artists were job creators rather than job seekers, and the Department should be taking that into account, and looking into how it could help the artists to enhance their ability to create jobs for themselves and others. Another issue was the regulation of the payment of artists. For example in the Eastern Cape, artistic people were being paid a much smaller portion of the budget than, for instance, catering.
Ms Magotsi raised questions around job creation, asking how exactly the empowerment of the local economy of artists and crafters was this being implemented? The system and legislation were there, but she wanted more details on implementation. If 80% of the budget was going to entities, she wondered how the Department would make sure that these entities complied with Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE), given the challenges they faced. Some of them had paid approximately R20 million on legal fees, and she wanted to know also how the DAC was monitoring that.
She welcomed 30% of funding going to women, but thought the Department was not in general doing enough for the disabled and youth. After 20 years of democracy those with disabilities could not be marginalised. In Durban, young people had nothing to do, and she wanted to hear specifically about the DAC's strategies for them also. The figures in the presentation were not acceptable. Pointing out that the Employment Equity Act had been in operation for some time, she asked if the Department knew how to implement it.
Ms Magotsi asked for the role of the Asset Management Committee. The asset register should be tabled quarterly or monthly, and she asked why did the Department keep coming up with a new system, and what might be the role of the Asset Management Committee if the information was not being made available.
Ms Matshobeni found it difficult to believe that a Department with so many problems, ranging from the adverse findings by the auditor general to the sorry state of affairs of its agencies, could give such an abstract presentation of its strategic plan. This presentation was very generic and said far too little about what particular measures would be taken to lift the Department from it present quagmire. There was no mention of specific interventions on the troubled agencies like PanSALB and others, nor anything specific to improve the local content of the films and videos industry, which was needed to build capacity to narrate local stories.
Mr Makondo welcomed the presentation, even though it was very conservative on detail, making it difficult for the Committee to do proper oversight. He highlighted the outcomes of the previous audit, and wanted to know how the DAC was addressing challenges around: asset management, internal audit controls, supply chain issues, the quality of financial statements, and how it was preventing and following up on irregular and wasteful expenditure. He questioned what specific mechanisms were in place to deal with these? The other issue raised relates to root causes of the problems raised by the AG, which was the lack of consequences for poor performance and transgressions by officials, key-position vacancies that had not been filled, and lack of capacity and competencies of key officials in the Department. Finally he wanted to know whether the new appointments of CFO and Corporate Relations posts would be helping to achieve gender balance in senior management posts.
Ms N Bilankulu (ANC) noted that the presentation was too long and yet failed to engage some of the issues. If the presentation truly presented the work on the ground then the Department would be performing well. However, on consistency and quality of reporting, she asked that acronyms and abbreviations needed to be explained. She also wanted to know how the community conversations were being done in the Department. The Department of Social Development was doing profiling in the community to identify issues, to see what intervention was required, and she wondered if the same was being done by the DAC to decide on its targets.
Ms Bilankulu pointed out that the manifesto said that there needed to be a community art centre in every ward. According to the presentation, however, none were planned for 2015/16, one in the following year and two in 2017/18. At this rate of progress, she asked how long it would take to meet the goals.
She asked if the DAC had in fact met the targets of 2% employment of disabled people, and asked what the 50% figure for Programme 1 related to - whether it was overall gender representivity, or in the SMS. Some of the numbers required to be further verified. Finally, she noted the mention of provincial summits in Gauteng and North West, and asked what was to happen in other provinces?
Ms Matshobeni asked what plans were in place to ensure that funding was used for transformed projects rather than apartheid symbols. She asked what the Department was planning to do to address corruption. She also asked what the situation was with the APP of PanSALB and asked if the Committee was being asked to approve the budget without the APP of that body.
Ms Matshobeni asked who the new CFO was to be.
Ms Magotsi raised points about Programmes 1 and 2, which were not included in the Auditor-General's interim report. Issues of governance were core to the Department. She asked what was being done on the point of administration and management, and whether this had been resolved, and pointed out that the fact that Programmes 1 and 2 had not been audited specifically did not necessarily mean that all was well there.
Mr Jack said he would cluster some of the issues to cover critical elements. He wanted to clarify that the Department had not received an audit disclaimer, but it started with a qualified audit. He would mention the financial issues and then move on to compliance and performance. he only entity with adverse findings was PanSALB, but here there were reasons given and outlines of the issues. The Department’s task was to deal with these issues and they had been allocated to the managers, who would be held accountable. Some of the issues were policy issues - like not having any updated supply chain management - which was now being done.
The reason that this took so long was that the Department needed to go back and look into some core issues and principles. For instance, the Department had a three-stage process for procuring artists. For instance, if the DAC was holding a show, and wanted Hugh Masekela to perform a particular piece, to address specific social cohesion, how would it do so? The policy was there and could be used by different departments to create opportunities for artists. There was only one Hugh Masekela, but the market needed to be tested, in terms of the price to have him perform. No matter how much the Department may want to use him, it would not do so if the fee was R20 million. At the same time, he must be paid a fair price. A database of average prices for different levels was needed, an exercise now done by the Chief Procurement Officer. In this sense, the Department was able to help National Treasury, because one a price range was established, the Department's database could be used as reference. If the hiring department was to pay below rates, the CCIFSA and Mzanzi Golden Market would be brought into play. The aim was that all procurement for arts and culture must come through this. By centralising the process there was no chance to pay below the fair price.
The procurement policy was now done and this would decrease irregular spending. The next step was to train people and hold them accountable. The rates of deviation, and of new irregular expenditure, had decreased, and the overhang from the past was the only matter remaining. There had, however, been progress, as verified by the internal audit process, not just statements made by management. The internal auditor asked for evidence that it was done, and a final assurance would be given when the DAC had done the final step. There were still issues, but they were being addressed. The approach had been to identify root causes, and the procurement policy and the supply chain management policy had indeed been an issue. There were still capacity issues in terms of the people already within supply chain management, but appropriate measures needed to be finally decided; whether they needed further training, or whether they were really not geared to the role and should move. There were processes that must be followed. The Department did not want to fire people, thus adding to unemployment, but would rather redeploy them to areas where they could add value.
On the issue of consultants, the Department had made progress and had not renewed many contracts, in line with the new Labour Relations Act, which had called for regularising such appointments into full time positions. The Department would be advertising positions in the coming weeks to fill vacancies.
Mr Jack clarified that as far as employee targets were concerned, there were Employment Equity targets, procurement targets and targets that were set by the Department which were not legislated. The 50% related to Employment Equity Act targets, and these applied to every level. The new Deputy Director General would be a woman, and the CFO was a man, so the Department had managed to retain parity at that level. At the moment, the DAC had 54% women, and was also employing disabled people.
In relation to procurement, there was an overall BBEEE performance target of sourcing 70%, as now specified in the BBBEE code. Although this target was not actually legislated the Department had taken the lead. . At each and every level there were statutory targets. the DDG for Corporate Services was a lady and the CFO was a gentleman, so the Department had been able to maintain that parity. Currently the composition was 54% women, which was above the target, which must be maintained. Within the Employment Equity targets there were people with disabilities. Mr Greve can provide current performance against the PWD target of 2%.
With procurement targets, there was an overall BBBEE performance target of 70% which was a broad target. The new BBBEE code specifies targets, where they did not exist in the past. There was no government legislated target, the Department had taken the lead. For procurement from black women's business, the targets were segmented and easy to define. There were also targets for small businesses but there were no targets for the youth or people with disabilities. Those targets were set by the Department of Trade and Industry and there were some challenges in defining a youth owned business, for example, which the DAC was not in a position to sort out. That made for a difficult position during audit.
The Department was not specifically required to, but had looked ahead, in line with radical economic transformation and inclusive growth, and specifically implemented targets for women, youth and people with disabilities. For example, if projects were not helping to meet the targets they may not get funding. Several aspects were being considered; for example, what was the job creation impact. and in two competing projects, the one that was woman or youth-owned would get preference. There was a need to communicate this to the public, to encourage people who met these criteria to apply and they will be given preference. Thus it was not a quota, but rather a target. If the Department did not meet its targets, then the performance management system would require an explanation and consequences may follow. He conceded that the funding model was currently not good at ensuring that entities complied with BBBEE, and this did need to be addressed.
Issues raised during the audit on asset management had been addressed by clarifying the policy. There had been a change in the National Treasury process and there had been some challenges. There was an asset register, and there was a new policy that had been signed, effective 1 April, to clarify points. The next step was training and implementation and measuring the impact of what had been done.
The Chairperson interrupted Mr Jack and acknowledged that he had not been able to cover all of the questions, but asked him to hold back on the others for the moment. She reminded the Department that this was about convincing the House to pass the budget. At the start of the meeting on 21 April, the DAC would have to convince the Committee that the entities would be going to add value of the overall goals of the Department, government, and the nation. Furthermore, the Committee would want to know how the Department will monitor the entities, because several had problems. The Department should present a specific programme to ensure that the entities deliver on their mandate. The Department would also be expected to answer any outstanding questions also on that date.
She suggested that the Department and Committee management work together on trying to improve on the basic Treasury template, to improve the sharing of information between the two. The Committee wanted to assist and ensure that the Department achieved its objectives.
The meeting was adjourned.
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