The Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) presented its 2015-2019 Strategic Plan and its 2015/16 Annual Performance Plan to the Committee.
The Department said it existed to preserve, protect, promote and develop South African arts, culture and heritage. It had to use its resources effectively and be able to do more with less. This was strongly linked to effective governance systems and effective and efficient utilisation of financial and human resources. It aimed to conduct effective oversight and monitoring of public entities and, by taking into account the above, economic spin-offs such as job creation, youth empowerment and broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE) would happen. The Department should have effective monitoring mechanisms to ensure that economic spin-offs took place in appropriate areas of society. The DAC wanted to address the empowerment of women, the youth and people with disabilities.
Among its achievements, the DAC had created jobs through a variety of mechanisms, including infrastructure development projects, the work of the public entities and through implementation of the Mzansi Golden Economy (MGE) strategy. While the jobs created had been below expectations, mainly due to the impact of the economic downturn on major festivals, over 14 000 jobs had been created. Jobs in the creative industries were generally part time and in this instance, 93% of jobs created in the creative sub-sector were part-time.
The Auditor General’s report for 2013-14 had highlighted a number of challenges. These included significant internal control deficiencies in the procurement process, and poor SCM contract management; performance agreements were not signed within set time frames, and assessments for senior management service (SMS) members not done; the Department had made payments in contravention of the supply chain management regulations amounting to R74 million in 2014 and R95,5 million in 2013; there were no adequate systems to maintain records of commitments for approved and contracted procurement; and effective and appropriate disciplinary steps were not taken against officials who made and/or permitted irregular expenditure, fruitless and wasteful expenditure.;
The Department had identified 11 key priority areas. These were coordination, White paper finalization, Mzansi Golden Market, heritage promotion and preservation, the arts, cuture and heritage (ACH) schools programme, library services, the cultural diplomacy programme, the language programme, DAC public entity governance, national days, and archives and records management.
Further presentations were brief, due to time constraints, but included information on legacy projects, a bursary programme, archiving records, library policy and heritage improvements generally. There was then a short overview of the annual budget and targets.
Members wanted to know more about the bursaries that the DAC offered, particularly the sign language bursaries, and the process afterwards for students. There was concern about the budget cuts and how the DAC would finance all of its projects with such a limited budget. Questions were asked regarding the situation of the national flag and flagpoles in schools. There were a number of queries about the Language Programme. Everyone was in agreement about the importance of languages in South Africa and there was call for the DAC to do more in terms of promotion and translations of the 11 official languages, with a particular request for the translation of the national anthem. Members needed further clarification on the function of both Africa Day and Africa Month. There was also a focus on questions surrounding ways in which the government could encourage South Africans to learn about and appreciate their own culture and background.
DAC’s Strategic and Annual Performance Plans
Mr Vuyo Jack, Acting Director General, Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) said that 80% of the Department’s budget went to its entities. It had engaged in extensive consultations as part of the process of developing the strategic plan (SP) and (APP) in order to achieve cohesion, which was one of the main aims of the DAC.
The DAC existed to preserve, protect, promote and develop South African arts, culture and heritage. It should use resources effectively and be able to do more with less. This was strongly linked to effective governance systems and effective and efficient utilisation of financial and human resources. It should conduct effective oversight and monitoring of public entities and, by taking into account the above, economic spin-offs such as job creation, youth empowerment and broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE) would happen. The Department should have effective monitoring mechanisms to ensure that economic spin-offs took place in appropriate areas of society. The DAC wanted to address the empowerment of women, the youth and people with disabilities.
Mr Jack emphasised the need to consider a business model in terms of looking at sustainability and attracting bigger audiences, as well as building skills and capacity, and creating a productive, diverse and inclusive environment. Alignment of the SP with the National Development Plan included nation building and social cohesion, job creation and economic development, and quality education and rural development.
Among its achievements, the DAC had created jobs through a variety of mechanisms, including infrastructure development projects, the work of the public entities and through Mzansi Golden Economy (MGE) strategy implementation. While the jobs created were below expectations, mainly due to the impact of the economic downturn on major festivals, over 14 000 jobs had been created. Jobs in the creative industries were generally part time and in this instance, 93% of jobs created in the creative sub-sector were part-time. A successful Social Cohesion Summit had been held in 2012 at which a 12-point declaration had been endorsed and adopted. Included in the Declaration was the hosting of provincial social cohesion summits, and to this end North West and Gauteng had hosted the provincial summits for social cohesion. Social cohesion advocates had been appointed and their programme had been adopted. Community conversations had taken place in almost all the provinces. In 2011, the Department had embarked on an ambitious effort to strategically re-orientate itself towards the transformation of the Arts, Culture and Heritage (ACH) sector. The adoption of the Mzansi Golden Economy strategy, whose primary objective is to escalate economic benefits and job creation within the sector, was a direct response to the call that was made by the President in 2010 that all of government should make a significant contribution to job creation and economic growth.
The Auditor General’s report for 2013-14 had highlighted a number of challenges. These included:
- Significant internal control deficiencies in the procurement process, and poor SCM contract management;
- Performance agreements were not signed within set time frames, and assessments for SMS members not done;
- The Department made payments in contravention of the supply chain management regulations amounting to R74 million in 2014 and R95,5 million in 2013;
- There were no adequate systems to maintain records of commitments for approved and contracted procurement;
- Adequate and reliable corroborating evidence could not be provided for 20% of the targets to be assessed;
- The financial statements submitted for auditing were not supported by full and proper records;
- Material misstatements identified by the AG were not adequately corrected;
- Effective and appropriate disciplinary steps were not taken against officials who made and/or permitted irregular expenditure, fruitless and wasteful expenditure;
- There were inadequate systems to prepare reliable monthly financial statements and performance reports.
Mr Jack said there had been positive developments in terms of filling the CFO position, and mentioned the zero tolerance policy for irregular spending, which seemed to be working. There were also clear and distinct targets for the employment of women, youth and the disabled within the prescribed budgets. The DAC was dealing with issues around infrastructure, making internal controls stronger, streamlining service delivery and broadly improving in terms of cultural diplomacy. A proactive approach was being adopted with cultural diplomacy, looking at education, curriculum and skills development. The specific priorities were enabling legislation, inclusive economic development and making sure that the growth in the economy was distributed evenly.
In response to the policy priorities and delivery of outcome 14, the Department had identified the 11 key priority areas. These were coordination, White paper finalization, Mzansi Golden Market, heritage promotion and preservation, the ACH schools programme, library services, the cultural diplomacy programme, the language programme, DAC public entity governance, national days, and archives and records management. Reference was also made to the Centralised Schools Programme, which it was hoped would get children off the streets, in a similar way to sports in the past. Other ideas included building libraries to try to attract people to them, and the development of centralised governance and policy manuals.
Ms Monica Newton, Deputy Director General, DAC, presented on the APP elements of the programmes, focusing on institutional governance, social cohesion and international relations.
The DAC had entered into 33 conversations, getting people to talk about their concerns in order to come up with solutions in a joint way. The APP had been working towards social cohesion, creating flagship programmes for the empowerment of youth, women and the disabled.
The APP had a framework agreement with the Department of Education’s curriculum enrichment programmes guidelines, using arts and culture to get social messages across. In terms of international relations, there had been a number of international partnerships formed. She also spoke of the success of Africa Month, which was a three-year commitment of the APP. There was continued encouragement and implementation of the Professional Languages Programme, as well as provision of translation and editing services to the government.
Ms Newton said that the Department was looking at having a new focus on community arts. It had procured art and artists, developed new infrastructure and had created programmes for community inputs. Internationally, there were many partnerships, including the Venice Biennale, and Africa Month was a good way of continuing to develop this.
Ms Matildah Mogota, Deputy Director General, DAC, presented on Programme 1 (Administration), outlining the sectoral goals -- a transformed and coherent sector, nation building, sound governance, modernised systems and a professional, capacitated ACH sector. She went on to explain the indicators and national targets.
Mr Vusithemba Ndima, Deputy Director General, DAC, presented on the key programmes of the APP. He outlined the ‘Flag in Every School’ project, as well as the distribution of books and posters in communities,the translation of the national anthem and legacy projects. He gave details of the DAC bursary programme, and emphasized the importance of the digitisation of the national archives and a number of projects to maintain archives and documents correctly, in order to retain the history and culture of South Africa. He then briefly outlined the policy on libraries.
Mr Makoto Matlala, Deputy Director General, DAC, outlined the budget allocations of the Department and gave brief economic justifications for the expenditure. He summarised the Department’s baseline figures and explained that 80% of the budget was given to entities, and showed where cuts were being made by the Department.
Mr H Groenewald (DA, North West) enquired about the relationship between the DAC and the Department of Education, commenting that there were many common areas in their fields, such as language training, particularly the development of the smaller languages, He wanted to know how arts and culture were incorporated into basic education.
He also asked about the bursaries available for language learning. It had previously been mentioned that there were bursaries available for 522 students, but also 77 students in another presentation. He wanted clarification on these numbers. Further he wished to know what happens to students when they finish at university -- are they trained further, or put into the schools?
The mention of job creation was a worry to Mr Groenewald, due to the fact that 93% of the posts would be temporary. A temporary job for two or three months was not a good job, and in this situation, people could not plan for their futures and would fall back into poverty. He asked if 14 000 jobs had been created, whether they would be permanent or temporary, and what types of jobs they would be.
Mr Groenewald commented on the infrastructure that had been mentioned in the presentation, saying that all over South Africa there were cultural centres and buildings, but in most of the places, not much was happening. He used the Golden Gate in the Free State as an example of this. He asserted that few people were there to run the centres, so they were a waste of resources and taxpayers money. He would like to see progress in making it mean something for the communities, creating a space to teach people more about the areas’ history.
He said he felt flags in schools was a good idea, but this had been suggested previously by the Department of Sports and Recreation, and there had been little progress made in that regard. He wanted to know who was responsible for putting all of these flags up in schools.
Mr M Khawula (IFP, KwaZulu-Natal) said that page 5 of the document, which entailed strategic objectives aimed to drive sound financial management, the targets were about procurement locally and empowering women. He argued that the targets should be more directly related to financial management and consideration of audits, for example, rather than empowerment, as they did not match.
From independence to now, people were being told there had been just one party contributing to the liberation of South Africa. How would the Department make it all encompassing and not reflect this story? He raised concerns about how the Department could stay practically responsible for all the parties in government. He wanted to see greater patriotism on national days, as he felt that the days were being overrun by local parties, and there should be a return to patriotism, such as one saw in Russia.
Ms T Mampuru (ANC, Limpopo) asked about the time frames mentioned in the presentation, and when the Department would be establishing a full complement of their establishment? She noted the 2% percent employment target on disability, and asked for further clarification on this statistic. She commented that often “invisible” disability was not taken into account, and asked about how many of the 2% percent in this category had been absorbed into the Department.
Ms L Dlamini (ANC, Mpumalanga) thanked the DAC for the detailed presentation, but was curious as to why there had been so many separate presentations as opposed to just one.
She asked why 80% of the budget was going to entities. Moreover, why was most of the budget going to personnel, and what were the personnel doing? In terms of social cohesion, the DAC could do more, mentioning that in the previous year there had been a presentation about this and nothing substantive had changed. She asked about the different activities that the DAC was doing in terms in social cohesion. She emphasized the importance of the DAC believing in culture themselves in order to inspire and encourage the belief in culture in others.
Ms P Mququ (ANC, Eastern Cape) wondered how Africa Month was different from April or any other month. She argued for more to be done in the month of May, placing a greater emphasis on understanding and learning other languages, and wearing traditional attire. She also contended that Africa Day should have a focus on promoting the wide range of South African cultures, rather than the whole of Africa. She hoped that people could have a greater understanding of where they came from, and their origins.
Mr D Stock (ANC, Northern Cape) said his question that had been asked several times in the past and had not been answered. This concerned the uniformity of the provincial departments. He said that all of the provinces had different names and types of committees, and asked to what extent this affected service delivery and implementation.
Ms Mathys gave her apologies for being late.
Ms L Mathys (EFF, Gauteng) wanted feedback on the progress of the dictionaries in the 11 official languages that had been spoken about by the Department last year. She liked the advertisements for Africa Day, but expressed concern that the Department was saying one thing and doing something else. She used the example of inviting other Africans into South Africa and then in reality keeping tight borders. She wished to highlight the importance of training police and talking to law enforcement about illegal workers and immigrants.
Ms Mathys asked about the percentage success rate of graduates with DAC bursaries. She wanted clarification on the numbers in terms of the bursaries for sign language. She urged the DAC to be more proactive rather than reactive about apartheid symbols. She argued that the country was reaching a tipping point, and that especially in light of the recent xenophobic attacks, people were frustrated and angry, and the DAC should amend their procedures. She recommended removing all of the apartheid signs in public places and then making people expressly object, rather than the other way around.
The Chairperson said that under the umbrella of the DAC, it was important to promote all of the official languages. She felt that it would be useful to have more interpreters, which would necessitate meetings in the committee rooms. She felt that language was a really big problem. A big part of promoting who we were as South Africans was through language, though she appreciated that the resources could not necessarily talk to that.
The Chairperson raised concern about the budget reductions, especially in such a small department. It was always under-funded, comparatively speaking. She felt that this was an issue for the DAC, which carried such a massively important mandate. She asked how they had reduced the budget for personnel and if there were vacant posts. Efforts needed to be made to create an environment of employment.
The Chairperson wished to know what the status of the Pan South African Languages Board (PanSALB) constitutionally and whether they had to report to Parliament or the Department.
She wanted a provincial perspective of the DAC bursaries, including where and to whom the 500 places were being allocated. With regard to school flags she asked why, with 25 000 schools, only 14 000 flags had been provided. She wanted to know what the plan was in this regard.
Mr Jack clarified that the aims of the incubators were to equip artists with technical skills, create content, market their work and provide tools to filmmakers, such as cameras and other equipment, to make local films. In order to encourage people to buy these local films he suggested the Mzanzi Golden Market to create awareness. The DAC planned to register the artists on a database and use this to give opportunities to the artists, by way of a networking portal.
He said that bursaries could be part of the portal, so that the Department could track them and facilitate integration into the DAC. This would help with placement opportunities, as people would already be on the database after receiving the bursaries, so it was easier to create this opportunity network.
In response to Ms Dlamini’s question about the need for so many presentations, Mr Jack replied that this was in order to be comprehensive and to provide detailed information so that Members could engage with the content.
The decision to spend 80% of the budget on the entities had been made from a policy perspective. The Department had to make the policy and the entities in the provinces had to implement the policy. The DAC was looking at this critically in terms of value for money, as per the business model. This was the reason behind the process of the White Paper -- through the consultations, the idea was to make models for the entities to be more effective.
Mr Jack emphasized the importance of keeping a system of checks and balances and that the DAC had to remain a policy-making entity, rather than completing the function of implementation. Consolidation had to be separate.
Ms Newton clarified that the Language Bursary Programme was not only for sign language, but for other official languages too. She noted that there was a greater demand for trained staff, especially after the Official Languages Act came into force and the government had planned to create a pool of people to draw on. With regard to the language bursaries, there were a number of partnerships with universities throughout the country. They had reached 522 bursaries, which was above target, due to UNISA where they could administer many more bursary recipients through distance learning than with full-time students. The heritage bursaries were smaller, and the difference between them was noted. As well as this, the language practitioner councillors were meant to act as regulators, and there was an ongoing need to emphasise to government the importance of these policies. There was positive progress, in that around 57% of the departments were now compliant.
Ms Newton explained that the dictionaries were developed at the Lexicography Unit of PanSALB, and were continuing to be updated. However, because it was a moving target, they were complex and needed time to develop.
On the status of PanSALB, Mr Jack explained that administratively they were accountable to Parliament and the Department. The DAC could not interfere in the substance of language matters, and greater clarity was needed here.
Mr Jack addressed Mr Groenweld’s concern about job creation, saying that due to the fact that these temporary jobs were restricted to the lifespan of the particular projects, the solution was to continue to develop these projects so as to create more work. It was the inherent nature of the industry that jobs would have to be mostly temporary and often part-time.
Mr Jack then talked about the issue that Mr Stock had raised about provincial uniformity. Much had been done in this area -- for example, court issues were addressed in a uniform manner, and the framework on how to implement the libraries had been done at the provincial level. He felt it was difficult to have uniformity, but thought it was covered in terms of he court orders
Mr Ndima responded about the national anthem’s translation into 11 languages. He agreed that it could have unintended consequences, in that people had to understand what they were singing. The idea behind it was that people might not understand the other languages, but should just understand these parts of the song. He felt that this was what Africa is about, and would help people to become more emotionally attached.
He said that the DAC was trying to invest more money in the youth. He hoped that by being taught from such a young age, they would gain a deeper understanding of the other official languages.
He addressed the issue about documenting history, and stated that it dated back to pre-colonial times, not current times.
On the issue of flags in schools, he said that at the provincial level the DAC, working closely with Department of Education, had installed around 21 000 and continued to make progress.
He said he was aware that the issue of symbols had been raised before. The monuments, museums and memorials in South Africa reflected the diversity of the country, as well as the policy and legislative framework. These were all founded on the principle of reconciliation and the legislative framework did not condone discriminatory symbols. The stance of the Department was that they could not be encouraged.
Mr Jack referred to the human resources question, saying that it did not make sense to have a large number of vacancies and then fill them. He said that if one cut down the budget, there would be no capacity to deliver, and they would need to implement a consultancy reduction plan too. The DAC had set out targets in this regard but due to budgetary constraints, it might not be possible to meet them all. He offered to produce a report on the figures surrounding the employment of the “invisible” disabled.
The Chairperson thanked the Members for their discussion and the DAC for their detailed presentation. She asked that next time, the presentation should be a little shorter due to time constraints, and perhaps a provincial perspective should be considered.
The Chairperson noted that letters of apology had been submitted by the Minister and Deputy Minister. She hoped that next time they would make a concerted effort to attend.
The meeting was adjourned.
- Integrated Presentation Strategic Plan and Annual Performance Plan
- Programme 1 (Administration) 2015-19 Strategic Plan and 2015/16 Annual Performance Plan
- Institutional Governance Key Projects 2016/16
- APP Inputs: Heritage Promotion and Preservation
- Arts, Culture, Promotion and Development:Key Projects 2015/2016
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