Department of Arts and Culture response to Committee questions; Playhouse Theatre; Msunduzi Museum; Nelson Mandela Museum; NAC; Luthuli Museum 2015/16 Annual Performance Plans
Arts and Culture
21 April 2015
Chairperson: Ms X Tom (ANC)
The meeting began with questions which had been raised during the previous session of the Portfolio Committee being addressed by the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC). It provided responses to Members’ enquiries with regard to the Community Cohesion Programme. It also dealt with the issue of the Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB), asserting that the Minister had identified the matter as being of primary importance, and was thus currently taking action in order to reach a solution. Members expressed dissatisfaction with the Department’s responses and raised additional questions, notably with regards to the artists-in-schools programme..
Entities of the DAC then briefly presented their 2015/16 Annual Performance Plans (APP) as well as their Five Year Strategic Plans, and engaged in constructive discussions with Members.
The Playhouse Company (PCo), based in Kwazulu-Natal, highlighted in its presentation its relative success over the past years, including the sustainable social outcomes and the inherent diversity of its programming. However, the decrease in funding from the Department appeared to be a significant threat to the entity’s sustainability and service delivery capacity. Members expressed their satisfaction with the presentation and the positive audit of the entity, and drew attention to only minor confusions arising from the documents, primarily of a technical nature. The Committee supported the PCo’s claim regarding its finances, and questioned the Department on the nature of this decrease in funding, as well as on its inability to respond to the load-shedding crisis confronting its entities.
The Msunduzi and Ncome Museums, emphasised the core role played by the entities in the promotion of heritage and social cohesion. The museums’ Council detailed the negative audit outcomes of the previous years and expressed a strong belief there would be an improvement in the coming year, as a result of the entity’s conscientious work. Members criticised the vague description of performance indicators, as well as the poor levels of financial stability. Concerns were raised over the current situation of the bridge linking Freedom Park and the Voortrekker Monument.
The Nelson Mandela Museum described its primary role as an entity promoting Nelson Mandela’s legacy, and thus social cohesion and heritage on a national scale. It faced financial instability, with increased expenditure on personnel and goods and services, as well as on legal fees. The Committee expressed its concern over its financial management, as well as over the poor clarity of its performance indicators. The substantial delay which had occurred in the extension of the museum was also a negatively factor, although the entity shifted the blame on to the Department of Public Works. The successive changes which had taken place among Council members, as well as the suspension of the Chief Executive Officer, was criticised by Members as contributing to instability, while this poor addressing of Nelson Mandela’s legacy was assessed by some as disrespectful. The Committee thus prevented the entity from submitting its report for audit and allowed it a week in which to address the highlighted shortcomings.
The National Arts Council said it was currently renewing the mandate of its board. It described the shift in approach which had occurred in the past years. This had placed a greater emphasis on the promotion of social cohesion and inclusion toward the underprivileged community, while it focused particularly on women and youth. The Committee was relatively satisfied with the presentation, but stressed the importance of accelerating the transformation process and of further diversifying the beneficiaries of funding from the Council.
The Luthuli Museum described the major improvements which had taken place within the entity during the past years, enabling it to address and promote more effectively Albert Luthuli’s heritage and legacy for South Africa. However, it faced internal staff challenges, with a large number of positions remaining vacant within the entity, obliging it to resort to outsourcing for a wide range of services. The Committee asked about the lack of stability in the organisation, and urged the entity to enhance its cooperation with other Departments as well as provincial and municipal levels of government. Members reminded the Council of the importance of preserving Albert Luthuli’s legacy.
The chairperson thanked Members, Department and Entities’ officials for their patience at the end of the nine-hour long meeting, and expressed the hope that they would effectively address the shortcomings that had been identified, with the Department optimising its support and guidance capacity.
Chairperson's opening remarks
The Chairperson opened the meeting by saying the Committee did not believe that the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) was current operating at its full capacity, so the work done and presented to the Committee would be put under a microscope. People working for entities strived for a better South Africa, and were sometimes even not remunerated. It was therefore the Committee's role to ensure that taxpayers' money was rightly allocated. It had received documents from the entities detailing their 2015/16 Annual Performance Plan (APP) and Five Year Strategic Plan, but it was not satisfied with most of these documents' contents. Some of entities' dynamics did not seem to match those of the country.
The Chairperson assured the entities' officials that nothing was personal in the wide range of criticism which would take place, notably on the APPs seriously lacking detailed information. The DAC was one of the only Departments which was potentially able to respond to most of the government’s priorities, but great introspection needed to take place in order achieve these objectives.
She indicated that the Department would answer certain questions prior to the occurring of entities' presentation. These questions had been asked during the previous Committee meeting.
Department's response to previous questions
Ms Monica Newton, Deputy Director General (DDG): DAC, said that every document required by the Committee had been submitted, with the exception of the entities' audit action plan, which was supposed to be forwarded later in the day.
The Department had developed an action plan template which would significantly enhance the APPs, providing them with more reliable indicators as well as greater precision on time information, location, key outputs, expected impact and a general sense of progress to date. These templates would be forwarded to the Committee.
She explained the gap between the target for community cohesion and actual performance was due to budget constraints encountered, as only R3.6 million had been allocated to the project. There was a need for greater cooperation with other departments on the project of locality for conversation, in order to address themes prioritised in the national agenda. The provincial cohesion summit had been implemented in only five provinces -- the Northern Cape, Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga and Kwazulu-Natal.
The DDG then addressed the matter of the Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB). The Minister had met with the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO). There was a need to appoint a new CEO and Chief Financial Officer (CFO). The matter was currently in court, while further discussion would be taking place within the Department. There was a monthly report on PanSALB’s cash flow, but this had not prevented the organisation's budget from remaining highly unstable. The meeting between the Minister and the CEO had resulted in a decision to draw up a strategic plan within a period of 30 days. The Minister was highly concerned by the PanSALB situation, and was keeping an active stance on the matter.
Ms Newton then described the uneven distribution of institutional frameworks, which bore the legacy of the apartheid era, and highlighted the importance of stimulating greater transformation in the performing arts, while significantly reconsidering the institutional landscape.
Finally, she described how 80% of the DAC's budget had already been allocated to institutions, and pointed out how this raised the importance of increasing the efficiency of the current and new institutions. The performance enhancement process would be described in the white paper review currently being drafted at the Department.
The Chairperson raised questions on the service provided by the so-called “conversations,” and asked whether they involved individuals outside the Department. She also referred to the entities' drafts, and questioned why the DAC had failed to acknowledge any shortcomings in the functioning of PanSALB.
She expressed concern over the lists of artists collaborating with schools, asking whether there was any consultation with the artists, and on what basis their selection took place. A wide range of Cape Town artists had not been aware of those selected for the programme in the municipality. She urged those institutions in place to support these programmes and ensure their effective implementation.
Ms V Mogotsi (ANC) claimed that the PanSALB matter had now been going on for nearly ten months. It was inappropriate still to be seeking to appoint a CEO at the present time. She questioned why the Minister was still considering the matter at the moment, highlighting serious delays in the process. This organisation was clearly not functioning, while the Department was not taking any concrete action to address the matter. She argued that the PanSALB mandate did not respect the constitution, and urged Department officials to take serious action on the matter and resolve the current situation.
Mr J Malhangu (ANC) also addressed the situation of artists in the schools. He asked about the process of their selection and deployment, as the repetition of the programme benefited primarily urban areas over rural ones. He did not know any of the artists on the Department's list. Where one could meet them? He expressed his concern over the nature of these individuals and their selection by the DAC.
The Chairperson asked why certain provinces were absent from the social cohesion advocates list, as well as from the list of the ones benefiting from artists in schools. She emphasised the importance of the Department selecting well known and respectable individuals.
Ms Newton said there were insufficient resources to optimise the conversation programmes, which currently lacked service providers.
The Chairperson countered that the DAC already had structures in place throughout the country.
Ms Newton addressed the PanSALB situation, and said the organisation was currently unwilling to acknowledge the DAC's authority. She outlined the current exchange of letters between the lawyers for the different parties involved in the dispute. The Department was aware of the shortage of information regarding PanSALB's activities, yet it lacked direct governance over the organisation. The meeting had taken place between the CEO and the Minister had addressed these matters.
Ms Newton metaphorically stated that the DAC's work was more of a marathon than a sprint, and involved a wide range of long-term processes. The Department was aware of the Committee's frustration, but it was currently hoping for significant developments in the near future.
The Chairperson commented on the PanSALB's case, saying that the Department was aware of the organisation's constitutional framework. In this regard, the DAC should propose amendments to the Committee in order to rectify the Act governing PanSALB, and heal the organisation at its core. She blamed the Department for addressing only the symptoms of the problem rather that their deeply rooted causes.
Ms Newton explained that the artists-in-schools programme was biased towards urban areas, as rural schools faced a severe lack of art education and of qualified staff. Independent artists also seemed to be scarce in the more rural locations. The delivery of the programme, however, remained on the rise, with 240 artists involved for the current year, and the prospect of 300 artists for the following year.
The DDG asserted that these artists had been chosen in coordination with local communities, as well as with the municipal and provincial governments. With regards to the criticism raised by Members over the Cape Town artists' list, she said that the current budget was a major constraint. Indeed, the average remuneration for these artists was between R2 500 and R3 000, limiting the range of individuals for the Department to approach. The list would be uploaded with the 'stage names' of these artists, in order for them to be more identifiable than with their civilian denomination.
Regarding the matter of social cohesion advocates, Ms Newton stated that these were allocated at ministerial discretion. She described most of them as young and having served their community previously, and highlighted the need to ensure their provincial focus.
The Chairperson emphasised the need for more concise and direct responses from the DAC's officials.
Mr Malhangu stressed that many of the APPs were neither in compliance with the National Development Plan (NDP)'s guidelines, nor with the Treasury's ones. He described the latter by emphasising the need for a vision to be inspiring and to identify which core institutions were relied on. The targets should be significantly measurable and achievable.
Following this criticism by the Committee of the Department's activities, Dr P Mulder (FF+) reminded Members to be appreciative of the DAC's work.
The Chairperson invited the entities' officials to introduce themselves and to begin with their respective presentation.
Briefing by Playhouse Theatre on its 2015/16 Annual Performance Plan and Strategic Plan
Ms Linda Bukhosini, Chief Executive (CE) and Artistic Director (AD) at the Playhouse Company (PCo) displayed a short video clip highlighting the core reasons for the PCo's existence. She explained how the company was addressing, through artistic expression, core issues of youth and women’s rights, for instance, relying on a wide range of different performances ranging from traditional art to classical ballet.
The PCo had made significant progress, notably through the creation of a mobile stage, the increase of artists in residencies, and had broadened its range of influence to many schools, particularly in the most underprivileged locations. She mentioned some of the successful events hosted by the PCo at its Durban theatre, including West Side Story the Musical, Sishaya Ingoma, the Isicathamyia competition and the South African Women’s Festival.
Ms Bukhosini wished she had more time to detail in depth the social outcomes of the PCo, which delivered to schools but also incorporated them in its very artistic creations. It had developed mentorship programmes, while it had also managed to export certain South African talents, notably to Scotland. She invited Members to visit the Theatre.
The PCo was proud at having produced its fourth consecutive clean audit report, while a new council had recently been appointed to further enhance the capacity of the organisation.
Ms Bukhosini concluded by asking Members for more direction to effectively follow the template and to show the PCo where it should consider improvements.
The Chairperson expressed her enjoyment of the presentation. She congratulated the PCo warmly on its performance, emphasising the core importance of having a clean audit as the key to good functioning in any organisation.
Mr Malhangu said that this was one of the best presentations he had witnessed. He praised the PCo's sustainability, as well as its detailed and fluid five-year plan and APP. He suggested it should look for potential ways to improve the existing infrastructure, while using the Treasury's guidelines as a key model.
He urged other entities to inspire themselves from the PCo's model. The Committee would address the matter of the late allocation of public funds. He hoped that such a performance organisation could contribute to appeasing the situation in Kwazulu-Natal with regard to the recent xenophobic attacks.
Despite the great quality of the presentation, certain minor issues needed to be considered. Why had goods and services decreased by 200%? Why had the revenue target fallen by R4 million? Why was there no budget allocated for marketing? He also asked why the report indicated that the PCo had received R24 million for infrastructure while it was still waiting for approval of its allocation.
The Chairperson asked for justification for the decline in reserves, as this was the basis of sustainability. She asked what the PCo’s target audience was, and have this impacted on its marketing strategy. She asked for greater details on municipal charges and staff welfare.
Ms Bukhosini thanked Members for their comments. On the current issue of xenophobic and Afrophobic attacks, she described how the PCo was involved at the Durban City Hall with the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as an orchestra from Paris, working on a programme to create an anthem of African unity. Furthermore, the PCo had opened platforms four years ago for foreigners to interact with local artists.
She said that budget transfers took place relatively late in the year, creating certain shortages, and described how the Treasury had reduced the PCo's budget initially by R33 million, and eventually by R12 million, following negotiations. She described how the Treasury exclusively financed PCo's fees and structures, hence forcing the organisation to use its surplus for the financing of programmes. She argued that the repeated cuts of government's funding would ultimately lead to major issues of service delivery.
The decline in reserves was the result of the successive cuts in funding. She urged the Treasury to reduce these cuts, and asked why the PCo was one of the two entities out of 28 which were facing such measures, and asked for the Committee's support in this regard.
Ms Bukhosini further described the threats to the organisation's self-sustainability, as the city had also decided to shrink its funding. In this complicated situation, the PCo was constantly seeking creative ways to expand its activity and revenues. She mentioned partnerships with other departments, such as the Department of Sport, for which a performance had taken place at the Olympics conference, the Department of International Relations, and the Presidency, for which the PCo had performed on stage at the BRICS conference. The organisation was seeking financial support from the private sector, while it was asking for a legislative intervention to give them greater support to ensure sustainability.
On the absence of a marketing budget in the APP, she explained that this expenditure fell under the artists' budget. Regarding the audience target, she described the highly diverse and heterogeneous composition of individuals attending shows at the PCo. Many programmes were free for underprivileged communities, while promotion of traditional culture was also free of charge. There were ongoing training programmes and home subsidies for artists and staff members.
Mr Amar Mohan Prasad, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) at PCo, on the matter of infrastructure, said that the organisation had received a letter of approval indicating that the transfer would take place. This had occurred only on 31 March, however. This description had to be understood retrospectively, as the APP had been submitted in January -- after the approval, but before the transfer took place.
The Chairperson emphasised that fiscal dumping by the DAC was not acceptable, and that serious changes ought to take place within the structure of the audit fees. She once again urged Department's officials to be specific in the explanations they provided.
Ms Newton said that the issue raised by the Chairperson was the main concern currently faced by the DAC. The budget needed to be reprioritised urgently, notably to benefit the new programmes. However, this process was time consuming and necessitating reliable verification of information.
With regard to the audit fees, she said the rate of the Auditor General of South Africa (AGSA) varied between national and provincial offices. She agreed on the excessive nature of these costs, and therefore stressed the need for AGSA to enhance its efficiency by minimising working hours and costs while maintaining a similar output. All institutions agreed on the importance of this matter.
She addressed the PCo's issue of funding. The organisation was already an exception, for most other entities did not receive provincial funding. She described the current struggle of the arts sector, faced by a decrease in funding, notably by the National Lotteries Board (NLB).
Mr Malhangu emphasised the importance for PCo to maintain its positive relationships with provincial governments, which he described as crucial for the existence of the organisation.
Ms N Bilankulu (ANC) asked the PCo whether it had offices operating outside Kwazulu-Natal. She asked about the composition of the council, and whether board members were from Kwazulu-Natal.
Ms Bukhosini stated that the PCo was currently struggling to maintain close relationships with provincial, as well as municipal, governments. There was no programme implemented by the PCo outside Kwazulu-Natal, as other existing organisations already operated in the rest of the country. However partnerships were currently under consideration to exchange productions, and discussions were taking place at the moment with the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town. She highlighted that certain schools had hosted PCo’s performances outside the province, notably in the Eastern Cape, through the initiative of the mobile stage, but this was increasingly being hindered by the decrease in funding. The PCo had put forward an application to the NLB for funding three years ago, which had since remained unaddressed. She asked for the Committee's support in this regard.
The Chairperson urged the Department to focus on the issues of funding. Greater integration and cooperation between the different institutions was needed, enabling them to rely less on consultants.
She indicated that the Committee would call the NLB in order to collect further information on the PCo's application situation.
Mr Prasad added that the impact of load-shedding had proven to be rather humiliating for the organisation, whose performances had been interrupted because of power cuts. It was of great importance to supply generators to the PCo, for the current load shedding was seriously hindering the organisation's capacity to deliver services. Ms Newton sumitted that the Electric Supply Commission (ESKOM) should cover these costs, as the DAC's did not have the capacity to address the situation, particularly given the high cost of running generators.
Ms S Tsoleli (ANC) asked the Department officials why the DAC should not reprioritise its budget allocation in order to address generator needs and load shedding more effectively.
Ms Mogotsi added that the load shedding crisis would last for the next five to ten years, and suggested that entities should submit a proposal plan to the DAC, which did not seem to have any other solution to the present situation.
The Chairperson replied to the Member by explaining that the PCo had already submitted a request to the Department, which was currently looking into it. This progress was likely to last for a long time. She repeated the importance of seeking an audience with the NLB, and reminded Members that it was technically impossible to oversee all 28 entities.
Briefing by Msunduzi and Ncome Museums on their 2015/16 Annual Performance Plan and Strategic Plan
Ms Elrica Henning, Chief Research Officer at the Msunduzi Museum, said that many of the issues faced by the entity had already been addressed at a conference in Pietermaritzburg. The Msunduzi and the Ncome museums were 350km away from each other, and both of them remained of a great importance for the communities, addressing their heritage and history. Most of the entities’ programmes were reaching out to communities. With regard to the current national debate on statues and heritage, the museums were complementing and completing history for the general public.
80% of the museums’ budget was allocated to staff costs, and she asked for assistance from the Department. The Ncome Museum was located in a remote rural area, so affirmative attention was needed to deal with this structural difficulty.
Mr Mlungisi Ngubane, Director: Msunduzi and Ncome Museums, said the entity was learning a lot by attending the present Committee meeting. He described how audit outcomes had been negative for the past two years, although staff had worked particularly hard this year, hoping for a better outcome.
He emphasised the museums’ alignment with national standards, as well as their constant striving to improve their collections. The entity was enhancing the structure and content of its exhibitions, as well as further developing educational programmes and partnerships with other museums. These dynamics formed part of national societal needs, linked to tourism and education, and were aligned to the Department's outcome 5 and outcome 7.
Mr Thabo Mosheledi, CFO: Msunduzi Museum, acknowledged that excessive amounts of money had been taken from reserves for the budget to be balanced, which he ascribed to an increase in salaries for staff. He acknowledged the administrative nature of these problems, and paid tribute to AGSA's leading role in the positive evolution of the organisation.
The Chairperson agreed that audit outcomes were key. However, she criticised the entity for presenting only a draft of its 2015/16 APP, which proved not to be substantial enough to develop a consistent evolution.
The Msunduzi museum had to explain in detail the requirement on which it had based the APP's draft to the Committee.
Dr Mulder criticised the lack of performance indicators in the report, and encouraged the entity to develop more accurate ones. He suggested, for instance, that they should refer to the number of visitors in the museum as a concrete and accurate indicator. He also enquired about the current situation of the Voortreker Monument, particularly with regard to the bridge linking it to the Freedom Park, which was currently closed.
Ms Henning stated that the museums were actually keeping track of the number of visitors, analysing and categorising the data in terms of nationality and age groups. The current Voortrekker Monument issue was known to the council. She stressed that it should be handled with great care, as the matter was primary linked to social cohesion issues, rather than resource-based ones.
She repeated the need for the Committee to devote affirmative action attention towards this entity, as it required specific support.
Mr Malhangu asked for greater information on the current situation at Freedom Park, and particularly on the bridge linking it to the Voortreker Monument.
Ms Newton said that the DAC was currently working on the enhancement of the bridge's infrastructure.
With a greater focus on the Voortrekker Monument, and on the project of the so-called 'reconciliation road' leading to building, she said the Department was still awaiting the Treasury's approval to begin the process. The DAC was currently drafting additional documents for Treasury and she was expecting a concrete answer by the end of the quarter.
Mr T Makondo (ANC) addressed the issue of figures and indicators, stressing the importance of detailing the indicators linked to visitors during the presentation. He asked which indicators were currently in place to assess equity in the museum, notably with regard to access for disabled people. He asked which mechanisms had been put in place to effectively prepare the audit.
Mr Malhangu pointed out a lack of attention put into the crafting of objectives by the entity. He sharply criticised the allocation of the museums’ budget to personnel expenditure, which he assessed as way too high. He also claimed that the document was not easily readable, contrasting it with the PCo's one and its accurately defined indicators. The Committee would be doing the Msunduzi and Ncome museums a favour by not allowing them to present this report to the AGSA. He thus urged them to revisit their presentation, and to incorporate more accurate performance evaluation and indicators while addressing more effectively internal control shortcomings. He concluded by reminding the entity to further develop its report within the Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF).
Mr Mosheledi expressed the entity's gratitude for the Committee's comments and the opportunity to engage in constructive discussions.
The Chairperson repeated her concerned over the entity's regression. She described how the government had initially hoped that every Department would have clean audits by 2014, and highlighted the failure to achieve this. She emphasised the importance of the entities increasing their work efforts, while the Committee remained in a constant oversight position.
Ms Henning thanked the Committee for its substantive input, and pledged that the entity would work harder in the future. She invited Members to visit both the Msunduzi and Ncome museums shortly.
Briefing by Nelson Mandela Museum on its 2015/16 Annual Performance Plan and Strategic Plan
Mr Noel Solani, Acting CEO: Nelson Mandela Museum, expressed the entity's appreciation to the Committee for visiting the museum earlier in the year. The entity was striving to share Nelson Mandela' legacy and to perpetrate the spirit of Ubuntu while ensuring and promoting social cohesion.
The museum’s dynamic was focused on certain key strategic goals, which included the improvement and maintaining of heritage development and conservation, notably through collection, research and exhibitions. Another core objective was to improve the entity's public profile and accessibility, relying on education and outreach, communication, public relations and enhanced tours at the museum. Additionally, vibrant programming promoting economic opportunities was a strategic goal, which would rely on conferences, as well as on the Youth and Heritage centre. The final core objective of the entity was the strengthening of effective governance.
Mr Solani described the current partnership between the Museum and the Nelson Mandela Foundation as part of the broader process of consultation and engagement, to address his legacy and vision for the country.
Ms Andiswa Vikilahle, Council Member: Nelson Mandela Museum, described the current audit and its intrinsic findings. She said that the supply chain management process had not been accurately followed. A governance improvement plan had been implemented within the entity, and she hoped that this would be effectively followed.
The Chairperson commented that “hope” was not a strategy.
Mr Solani said that for each planned outcome, the entity had ensured an accurate budget allocation. In this regard, the budgeting had included audit fees. The entity had been compelled to allocate a share of its budget to legal fees, as the Museum was currently involved in juridical cases.
The Chairperson expressed her disagreement, arguing that taxpayers' money was not meant to be allocated towards such expenses. Moreover, she described how, during the visit to the museum by the Committee nearly a month ago, the CFO and CEO had already been suspended. She asked about the current state of the entity and the appointment process to fill these vacant posts.
Mr Makondo said that the performance indicators contained in the report were not clear enough, making it difficult for the Committee to follow the presentation. The entity's officials should have divided the presentation into quarters, like other presentations did, in order to optimise readability. He also criticised the staff costs for being excessively high, while the funds spent on goods and services were difficult to identify.
Mr Makondo said he had visited the museum last year, and asked what changes had taken place within the structure. For instance, had security improved?
Ms Mogotsi, referring to the entity's claim to inspire society and support heritage, questioned the extent to which it was actually supporting social cohesion. She asked why the presentation had not made reference to the 2013 National Development Plan (NDP). She questioned whether the Nelson Mandela museum APP was aligned to the NDP, as well as to the MTSF. To what extend was equity implemented by the entity, for its presentation lacked any indicator on the matter?
She then addressed matters linked to monitoring and evaluation, and asked the Nelson Mandela Museum's officials how they were monitoring and expecting to reach the targets they had defined. With regard to the organisational structures of the entity, she asked about the current CEO's situation. She stressed that the current lack of organisation disrespected Nelson Mandela's legacy. Was the suspended CEO still receiving remuneration? She reminded officials that the museum was supposed to shine internationally. The tax clearance certificates presented by the entity did not comply with the required standards. In this regard, she emphasised the problem linked to excessive staff costs.
Mr Malhangu described the presented APP as not SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound). There were major shortcomings in the narrative, and a failure to align to the NDP and MTSF. Issues of goods and services linked to personnel expenses, as well as poor equity implementation, were hindering the entity's development. Moreover, with regard to Mr Solani's description of different platforms across the country, he criticised the fact that such structures were not referred to in the presentations.
Ms Vikilahle addressed the CEO's situation. She stressed that the council had become dysfunctional, while reports had ceased to be submitted. The disciplinary process addressing the matter was still ongoing. On the other hand, the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) process that had been initiated, had been cancelled.
Mr Mogotsi said these explanations were not clear enough. He urged the entity's officials to provide the Committee with more accurate details on the suspension, including its duration and whether the suspended CEO was still receive remuneration.
Mr Solani replied that the previous CEO had been suspended for nine months.
Ms Vikilahle claimed that the administrative fees linked to goods and services corresponded in most cases to the expenses on staff travel, telephone costs and legal fees. With regard to the entity's governance, she said that the council's expertise was enhanced by its reliance on internal audit processes. She commented on the high costs assumed by lease charges and insurance fees, but said that the staff costs corresponded to 48% of the fee structure, placing the Nelson Mandela museum within the national average.
Ms Vikilahle advised that a security company had been contracted, providing a constant service on a 24 hours a day, seven days a week basis.
Mr Solani said that the entity was taking note of the Committee's criticisms, and that the indicators presented in the strategic plan would be subjected to significant enhancement. Security would be improved in July, with the opening of a new branch of the entity. This depended on the construction of a new building, and its official opening date had been shifted to the end of December. This delay had been due to Department of Public Works' deficiencies which had latter failed, among other issues, to pay sub-contractors on time. The opening could not take place earlier, as the new building was still not equipped with an appropriate fire security system.
The Chairperson asked whether the entity truly believed that the building would open on the recently announced date.
Mr Solani said that the senior management of the Department of Public Works had assured that the building would be delivered on time. The entity had therefore planned in accordance with the Department's stance.
The Chairperson asked why the plans linked to this expansion of the Nelson Mandela museum could not be found in the APP currently presented.
Mr Solani responded that these documents were to be found in the operational plan.
The Chairperson pointed out that the AGSA would penalise any process which was not detailed in the APP. Irregular expenses were defined by their non-appearance in the entity's detailed planning. She also reminded the Nelson Mandela museum's officials of the importance of incorporating NDP criteria and guidelines in its own planning.
She concluded the discussion by stressing that all these changes had to be undertaken by the entity within a one-week period. She urged council members to intensify their efforts in order to achieve the necessary modifications.
Ms Vikilahle described the suspension of the CEO as a painful process. Overall, the appropriate governance structures were effectively in place in the organisation. A seven-day period would be enough for council members to address all the shortcomings mentioned during the discussion. She thanked Members for their constructive inputs.
Briefing by National Arts Council on its 2015/16 Annual Performance Plan and Strategic Plan
Ms Matlhodi Angelina Makwetla, Chairperson: National Arts Council (NAC), said the Council's term of office had ended on 31 March. The process of appointing a new Council was about to be finalised, and had been addressed in due time by the outgoing Council.
The main challenge the NAC faced concerned its finances. However, she emphasised its prioritisation of women, youth and the disabled, while it also focused greatly on the least privileged provinces. A new finance team had been appointed and she was confident that this change would bring about significant improvements.
Ms Makwetla said that the NAC did not have strong control over its entities. The 2013/14 audit had been the first clean one in a decade. In the present situation, the interim audit had brought core issues to the attention of the Council.
The previous CEO, Ms Newton, had departed her post at the NAC to become DDG at the DAC. The Council was satisfied with the new CEO who had been appointed, and the entity was in a much better situation today than in the past.
Mr Mohau Mphomela, Deputy Chairperson: NAC, said that the outgoing Council had left a strong legacy and made an impact with significant changes. He described how the NAC's funds had been misallocated for nearly 15 years. He highlighted four different types of funding processes, the first one being focused on projects where individuals and communities groups were linked to institutions and companies. The second funding occurred through bursaries, and sought to benefit educational and training institutions, with an emphasis placed on post-graduate students. The flagship funding programme was also described as being of core importance though its focus on special projects of national significance. The last funding model was the one receiving the greatest resources, and was initially focused on integrating arts companies and organisations in the NAC, to sustain a three-year planning and funding strategy. The latter programme had been re-designed into a one-year interim funding strategy, however. This change provided a more efficient focus and prioritised emerging artists and organisations in a medium term framework.
He claimed that the outgoing Council had provided substantial work by ensuring that its funding models were accurately implemented. However, on a national scale, a major gap still separated the demand for grants and the agency's capacity. By March 2015, the amount requested for funding had been R143.1m, but the NAC had been able to allocate only R17.2m. Although the agency had enhanced its capacity, the demand for funding far surpassed what it could offer.
The Chairperson enquired about the NAC's communication strategy. She stated that the Council had, similar to the National Gambling Board (NGB), a relatively negative reputation, as many applicants assessed the funding process as relatively slow, or they did not even receive a response from the NAC. She asked why the funding was overwhelmingly occurring in the Western Cape, Gauteng and Kwazulu-Natal. She urged the Council to provide the Committee with more information on the remaining provinces, particularly the least developed ones.
Ms Rosemary Mangope, CEO: NAC, responded that the communication strategy was detailed on page 33 of the APP document, but acknowledged there was a need to revise and update the currently weak strategy.
Additionally, she highlighted the importance of establishing an art data base, which would develop and enforce certain standards of performance, and would address the issues of currently non-standard barriers to entry. The NAC's budget had addressed the issue of under-development, and was involved in a substantial partnership with the Arts and Culture trust.
Ms Newton said that the DAC had a specific relationship with certain orchestras, which resulted in a particular focus in terms of funding. She referred in this regard to the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, the Kwazulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Cape Town Jazz Orchestra. She was not fully aware of, nor understanding of, the nature of this relationship.
Mr Dumisani Dlamini, CFO: NAC, provided additional details by stating that these three orchestras received an average of R20 million in grants on a yearly basis.
The Chairperson urged the NAC to accelerate the transformation process, saying the Department was responsible to ensure the rectification of this matter, to further support a fairer distribution of resources.
Mr Mahlangu expressed his appreciation of the presentation, which he rated as being of substantial quality. As the Council's mandate had expired, what was the status of the present delegation? When would the new board be appointed? He stressed that the funding process required greater justification. The Committee expected greater information on the artists participating in the projects.
The Chairperson asked about the NAC’s stance on the gap between the demand and supply for funding, and how it was planning to address this major disparity.
Ms Bilankulu said she was originally from Limpopo, and thus wanted to know about the situation there and the extent of the NAC's progress in the province. She claimed that there were 92 beneficiary organisations, and enquired on their geographical location. The same question was raised with regard to community centres.
Ms Mogotsi asked whether the present Council had received an extension of its original mandated term of office. She complimented the NAC's officials on the professional nature of the documents they had submitted.
Ms Newton said that the Department was planning to expand the Council's mandate. The DAC had been delayed due to internal administration and office work shortcomings.
The Chairperson said it was important to know the truth and urged the Department officials to tell the Committee what had really happened.
Ms Newton asserted that she had no additional information on the matter, and apologised to the Committee.
Ms Mogotsi indicated her concern over the Department's lack of response. She asked who would be able to provide answers if the DAC was not able to. She pointed out the issues linked to continuity which had resulted from the delay in the Council's reappointment. She also urged the NAC officials to provide greater details on the extent to which transformation had been achieved.
In the light of the renewed questions and the limited responses provided to the Committee, the Chairperson said that it would be necessary to write to the Minister of Arts and Culture.
Ms Makwetla indicated that five programmes were currently being funded in the Limpopo region. They were various in nature, and included orchestra, theatre, arts and crafts, as well as a project targeting gender violence. The detailed funding schedule would be shared shortly with Members, and added that funding was followed up through research and impact assessment. Because of limited capacity, the NAC was increasingly considering options of collaborative funding.
Mr Mphomela described how after one year in office, the Council had identified a need to change beneficiaries and redesign the funding model of the agency. He claimed to have received great media focus and controversy during the first phase of this re-allocation, but the NAC had remained focused and determined, and had thus achieved a significant reshaping of the funding model, along with a greater pattern of transformation and redistribution.
Briefing by Luthuli Museum on its 2015/16 Annual Performance Plan and Strategic Plan
Mr Jabulani Sithole, Chairperson: Luthuli Museum, said that the museum had undertaken significant changes and major improvements since 2004. The entity was currently negotiating with one of the schools in the area to acquire its building and incorporate it as a satellite for the museum, therefore expanding its structure.
Albert Luthuli had been a great leader who had contributed to the liberation of South Africa. It was therefore important to safeguard his heritage and strengthen the discussions over his legacy. As Luthuli had received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1960, the entity had been able to develop a partnership with Norway and the Nobel Institute.
Mr Sithole praised the entity's 2012 achievement, when it had managed to digitise the museum's collection. Another strong accomplishment was the visitors’ numbers, which had increased steadily in the past years. On the other hand, the entity was facing as a major challenge of financial sustainability.
The Chairperson said that although the Treasury's strict approach tended to constrain the Department's actions, DAC officials should strive to develop sustainability as much as possible. She suggested that the entity should look into new ways of raising funds.
Mr Jula Ncwane, Finance Manager: Luthuli Museum, said the entity was aware of the constraints imposed by the Treasury. He expressed the feeling of inadequacy resulting from the museum’s non-capacity to display a better legacy as a direct result of financial restrictions. He thus pleaded for an increase in the entity's budget.
Mr Xaba also described how the museum was hosting music events and functions as an ancillary to its primary purpose. In this regard, he praised the collaboration with strategic partners, as well as with religious structures. He added that the museum shop needed to be further promoted. He also suggested the inauguration of a national Albert Luthuli Day, to further enhance the sharing of his heritage. He said that the Council had identified the inconsistencies of certain targets, and would therefore re-prioritise and redefine them.
The Chairperson urged the Luthuli Museum to sensitise provincial and municipal levels of government in order to seek primarily financial support.
Ms Mogotsi criticised the entity for delivering the presentation document too late. She raised questions about the seeming lack of continuity in the entity's strategy, stating that the new Council seemed to be attempting to re-design the museum in depth. There was a need for the entity to provide greater information with regard to its organisational structure. She reminded officials of the importance of Albert Luthuli's legacy, which must not be altered by poor service delivery by the museum.
Mr Brian Xaba, Director: Luthuli Museum, said that the present Council had been recently appointed -- on 1 December 2014 -- and included DAC officials. Apart from this new Council, the entity was still facing issues linked to its staff structure, which was currently limited to 14 individuals and was not enough to address all the museum's priorities. Staff often had to double up and perform tasks beyond their original position or working schedule. As a result of this shortcoming, the Luthuli Museum had had no choice but to outsource services for human resources and information technology. On a more positive note, he emphasised that several employees of the entity were also members of the Luthuli family.
Mr Malhangu stated that the more accurate the crafting of the objectives, the fewer problems that would occur in the process to achieve the indicators. He pointed out that issues linked to technology had not been displayed in the quarterly targets. The document had been well crafted, yet it lacked crucial information. He therefore urged Luthuli Museum staff to revisit the document, with particular emphasis on its vision.
The Chairperson claimed that the Committee required greater details on the entity's monitoring. The report described the output of one publication, and greater detail on the process was needed. She criticised this indicator for its vagueness, as quantifiable data ought to be paired with a more qualitative appraisal.
As Albert Luthuli was a South African icon, it was important for the youth to gain more knowledge about him. In this regard, she suggested that the entity should enhance its partnership with the Department of Education. In the reshaping of its vision, as suggested by Mr Malhangu, the Chairperson stressed the need to incorporate Treasury's guidelines.
Mr Ncwane said that the discussion was not reflective of the real situation at the entity, suggesting that problems might have been over-emphasised during presentation. Despite its limitations, the Luthuli Museum was a successful institution which had witnessed a 300%increase of visitors within the last six years. He acknowledged the importance of enhancing collaboration with municipal and provincial governments, and asked for the Committee's guidance in this regard.
Mr Xaba thanked Committee Members for their constructive comments. He said that the Council's recent appointment had made only a short period of time available to initiate these major changes in the entity. With regards to the delay in the document's submission, he contended that the document had actually been submitted on time and that internal issues at Parliament must have led to the delay.
He added that resignations of staff members during the year had created significant issues which were hindering the incremental building process of the entity. The entity would inspire itself from the PCo’s successful and relevant presentation, in order to strengthen its medium to long term approach.
The Chairperson warmly thanked every entity present at the Committee meeting and highlighted their commitment to the enhancement of their respective missions. She held the belief that greater consultation with the Committee and the Department would enable the different museums and councils to strengthen their service delivery capacity to ensure South Africa's cultural prosperity, as the core vector of social transformation.
She finally emphasised the importance of educating the youth in this year of the Freedom Charter.
The meeting was adjourned.
- Analysis of the Luthuli Museum 2015-2020 Strategic Plan & Annual performance plan for 2014/15
- Analysis of the Nelson Mandela Museum 2015-2020 Strategic Plan & Annual performance plan for 2014/15
- Analysis of the Msunduzi Museum 2015-2020 Strategic Plan & Annual performance plan for 2014/15
- Playhouse Company presentation
- Msunduzi Museum Presentationto the Portfolio Committee on Arts and Culture
- Nelson Mandela Museum, Mthatha presentation
- Luthuli Museum Briefing to the Portfolio Committee Arts & Culture
- Luthuli Museum briefing to Portfolio Committee Arts & Culture notes
- National Arts Council presentation
Tom, Ms XS
Bilankulu, Ms NK
Mahlangu, Mr JL
Makondo, Mr T
Mogotsi, Ms VP
Mulder, Dr PW
Rabotapi, Mr MW
Tsoleli, Ms SP
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