Three entities of the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) – the Nelson Mandela Museum, the Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB) and the Performing Arts Centre of the Free State (PACOFS) – briefed the Committee on their recent performance.
The Nelson Mandela Museum said the resignation of their previous Chief Executive Officer (CEO) had forced it to operate without a CEO for three months, and this had led to some financial irregularities. The Auditor General’s report of July 2014 had shown that leave accruals could not be identified, and there had been inadequate project reconciliation. The Department had requested that there should be an administrative intervention, and due to this the Museum had been able to appoint an acting CEO. At present, the Museum’s base funding could not support exhibitions, but with assistance from the Department of Tourism, workshops for tour guides had been held to improve the telling of the Nelson Mandela Museum narrative. Since the oversight, the Museum had started implementing supply chain management (SCM) policies. Evaluation and adjudication committees had been appointed, and SCM committees had been established. The Department and the Museum had scheduled a workshop for 6-7 August 2015 to address and take forward some of the issues raised by the Portfolio Committee.
PanSALB listed a wide range of challenges. There were vacant executive positions which had not been filled, the entity was underperforming, there was a bloated and unmandated organisational structure, there were problems of litigation, there was low staff morale and the entity was financially compromised. The Board had decided that all vacant senior executive positions should be filled until a new organisational structure had been put in place. The entity still faced challenges due to the financial mismanagement and debts which had been incurred in the past. Many contracts had been cancelled due to financial constraints, or because they added no value to the entity. Due to the financial irregularities, the Board had asked the National Treasury to conduct a forensic investigation. A referral involving ten affected individuals was on-going at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) and although attempts had been made to settle the matter, the affected individuals had reneged upon what had been agreed.
PACOFS told the Committee that its report was filled with many inaccuracies and had not been approved by the Board. Several members of the Board had resigned, and there was a shortage of skills within the entity. The report was not presented to the Committee, but the Committee Members made comments on the issues emanating from the report. They pointed out that the report was not only filled with inaccuracies, but was poorly presented as well. The Committee said the entity had made no improvements since the oversight visit in December 2014. A DAC representative said the Department had tried to arrange meetings with members of the Board, but most of them had not been available due to their other work commitments.
Nelson Mandela Museum
Ms Nozuko Yokwana, Chairperson of Nelson Mandela Museum, said that when the Portfolio Committee had visited the Museum in November 2014, it had found that there was a huge crisis and a turnaround plan was needed to steer to the Museum in the right direction. It was concluded that the Department of Arts and Culture should develop a programme which would help the Museum to solve its issues, and the programme structures should reach Parliament in December 2014. The Portfolio Committee had identified four broad areas which needed to be improved. Firstly, improve the reputation, image and integrity of the Museum. Secondly, address the human resources department, financial and governance short-comings. Thirdly, assist and encourage an inclusive and conducive working environment among all museum staff. Finally, monitor the audit improvement plan and provide assistance where needed.
During the oversight visit, it had been found that although the current Council had been instituted in November 2013, the appointment of a Chief Executive Officer had taken place in October 2012. The resignation of the previous CEO had forced the entity to operate without a CEO for three months, which had led to some financial irregularities. There had been other deeper issues related to the supply chain, and an incorrect R2 million expenditure on operations which had been meant for infrastructure. The Auditor General’s report of July 2014 had shown that leave accruals could not be identified, and there had been inadequate project reconciliation. In addition, there had been unauthorised expenditure of R499 900 and R2 million of irregular expenditure through the supply chain. The new Council had suspended its former CEO, which had led to some administration constraints. The Department had requested an administration intervention, and due to this the Museum had been able to appoint an Acting CEO. During the period of the administrative intervention, a Legal Council Member had resigned due to travelling constraints, as the member lived in Durban and had found it challenging having to travel weekly to Mthatha. The member had not been replaced yet. The suspension of the former CEO had created some frustrations for the Museum because the entity had not reached a financial settlement with the former CEO. He had demanded R3 million, which the Museum did not think he deserved.
Mr Noel Solani, Acting Chief Executive Officer, said the vision, mission and values of the Museum had been changed to align it with the values for which Madiba had stood. In addition, the Museum would ensure that more exhibitions were installed in the renovated Bhunga building. However, more funds would be needed for exhibition development. At the current state, the Museum base funding could not accommodate the exhibitions. With the assistance of the Department of Tourism, workshops for tour guides had been held to improve the telling of the Nelson Mandela Museum narrative.
Some of the critical positions, such as curator, collectors and conservator, could not be filled due to the limitations of the funding baseline. The Council and management had started engaging in a restructuring exercise. The exercise would be linked to the new strategic plan. The CEO, senior managers and staff had all signed their performance agreements, and job descriptions had been clarified with all the staff members. The root cause of the low morale among staff members was due to low salaries. On 28 February 2015 there had been a consultation forum between the staff and the Council. The forum had been part of a programme to help boost the morale of the staff. To date, all staff members had received inflation-related salary adjustments and in terms of the performance bonus, the Museum had planned a policy review workshop which was set to be held in August 2015. Since the oversight, the Museum had started implementing supply chain management policies, Evaluation and adjudication committees had been appointed, supply chain management committees had been established, and they were being trained by the Public Administration Leadership and Management Academy (PALAMA). The Department would provide the Museum with technical support when needed, especially when it came to their strategic plan, annual performance plan and quarterly reports.
In order to build an inclusive and conducive working environment, the Museum had started having regular staff meetings. All staff members had been issued with all the existing policies to read and to comment on. The Audit Committee had meets quarterly to review the internal audit report, and there would also be an oversight visit from the Department to assess the audit readiness for the 2014/2015 financial year. In other developments, the Department and the Museum had scheduled a workshop for 6-7 August 2015 to address and take forward some of the issues raised by the Portfolio Committee.
Mr T Makondo (ANC) said Madiba had believed strongly in democracy, and asked why the Museum had not included “democracy” as part of its new values.
Dr P Mulder (FF+) said that it was disappointing to see that only 35 per cent of the vacant positions had been filled. The entity should strive to improve this issue and fill more vacant positions, which would help with the improvement of the Museum.
The Chairperson said the Committee did not only play an oversight role, but also stood to support the entities. It was important that the board of the entities should take responsibility for the management issues, because there were some serious issues which the Committee had not been happy about when the oversight took place. The Museum had taken the Committee’s advice and improved in the areas which had needed serious attention. The other entities should also follow the path which the Museum had taken to improve their management issues, especially the financial matters. The public entities should also stop victimising their staff members after they had engaged with the Committee. The Committee had decided to speak to the staff members to find out which problems they thought should be dealt with, and what should be done to improve the morale of the staff.
Mr J Mahlangu (ANC) said the Museum had improved on all levels. The victimisation of staff members was unfortunately an inherent problem which needed to be solved. Staff members also needed training to meet the new standards which had been set. He corrected the entity’s impression that the Committee conducted “fact finding” visits, as they had indicated in their report. That was a misrepresentation of the Portfolio Committee, which only did oversight visits.
Ms Yokwana said the former CEO was demanding R3 million from the Museum as part of his settlement. In addition, charges had been laid against him and he had refused to resign before the Museum decided to fire him. However, the Museum had been seeking legal advice, because the amount that he was demanding was not the amount which had initially been agreed upon.
The Bhunga building was supposed to have opened on Madiba’s birthday, but the Department of Public Works had not completed building it. This meant that all developments around the opening of the building had had to be pushed back.
Mr Solani said they did not think it was necessary to include democracy as a new value because the newly listed values represented some form of democracy. However, they would consider adding “democracy” to the list of values.
Mr Mahlangu closed off by saying that the Museum must keep the Committee posted on any new developments and problems which may arise.
Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB)
Prof Mbulungeni Madiba, Chairperson of PanSALB, said PanSALB’s mandate was to promote and create conditions for the development and use of all the official languages in South Africa, including the San, Khoi and Nama. PanSALB’s functions were to make recommendations with regard to any policy which dealt, directly or indirectly, with language matters at any level of government. The entity made recommendations to organs of the state where it considered such an action advisable for the adoption of measures aimed at the promotion of multilingualism.
The Chairperson asked Prof Madiba to move on to the important matters of the report because the Committee knews what the functions of PanSALB were.
Prof Madiba said the main challenges for PanSALB were the vacant executive positions which had not been filled, the entity was underperforming, there was a bloated and unmandated organisational structure, there were problems of litigation, there was low staff morale and the entity was financially compromised. The Board had appointed Dr Mpho Monareng as the new CEO of PanSALB, and it had requested that the new CEO should also appoint a Chief Financial Officer (CFO), even though the entity’s management was still being restructured. The Board would also be involved in the process of selecting the new CFO.
The current Acting CEO had put measures in place to develop the staff’s productivity, and the Board had established committees to assist the organisation with some expertise. The previous organisational structure had been replaced with the 2012 plan -- the 2012 structure had also been approved by the National Treasury. In the meantime, the Board had decided that all vacant senior executive positions should be filled until a new organisational structure had been put in place.
The entity still faced financial challenges due to the debts which had been incurred in the past. However, PanSALB had taken steps to try and deal with these issues. Firstly, there would be a review of existing contracts and service providers. Secondly, a forensic audit would be done. Needless to say, the entity had done an internal audit before, but that had proved to be fruitless because the entity had still been faced with the same challenges. Lastly, control systems and measures would also be put in place to manage the finances of the entity.
A R11 million contract between the Board and Sithole Mzumbo Consulting had been cancelled, as there had been no budget for the expense. Another contract with Zanenza Communications had also been cancelled, although the company was suing the Board for outstanding commission. Both of these companies had not entered into contracts with the entity, while Sithole Mzumbo was billing the entity for monthly services. These services were not covered in any contractual agreement.
In conclusion, a lot of contracts had been cancelled due to financial constraints and because they added no value to the entity. Due to the financial irregularities, the Board had requested that a forensic investigation be performed by National Treasury. A preliminary report had been forwarded to the Acting CEO and PanSALB was awaiting the final report. The Board’s responsibility was to provide strategic direction or framework for the development of a Strategic Plan. The plan had been submitted to the Department and the entity was still waiting for feedback. There had also been litigation against the Board, which was currently facing litigation from some of its previous service providers. This had been after the Board had communicated with the service providers, informing them of the financial situation. The service providers were demanding payment for services which they claimed they had rendered to PanSALB.
On 11 December 2014, a Labour Court case, dealing with the litigation, had been dismissed for a lack of urgency. However, the case remained pending before the Labour Court, although the individuals had never pursued the matter further. On 8 May 2015, a similar application had been dismissed for a lack of urgency before the Labour Court, and this application too was pending before the Labour Court. A referral involving ten affected individuals was on-going at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), and attempts were being made to settle the matter, although the affected individuals had reneged from what had been agreed upon.
Mr G Grootboom (DA) said the report was poorly written. It was filled with inaccuracies and spelling mistakes – if the positions had been filled, why had the report indicated that the positions were “vacant”. The word “canned” was colloquial, and it had been used in the wrong context. Referring to “nullifying my appointment as the Acting CEO” on page 25, he asked which Acting CEO the report was referring to, because the entity had a new CEO. It looked like the entity had copied and pasted the previous presentation, because the points in the report were misleading.
Ms V Mogotsi (ANC) said PanSALB had not delivered on what they had promised the Committee. Half of the report was incorrect, and it did not make sense for the Board of PanSALB not to know the number of employees in their entity. The report should not be discussed because they had not delivered on any of the matters which the Committee had raised during the oversight visits.
Ms S Tsoleli (ANC) agreed with Dr Grootboom that the report had been copied from the previous report that had been presented to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP). The Board was supposed to report on their challenges and to outline the progress they had made in trying to deal with their challenges. She asked why the report had been submitted to the Acting CEO and not the Board, because the report could not be submitted to the same person who had been involved with the drafting of it.
Dr Mulder said the Committee was being harsh on the entity. The new CEO may bring in new ideas to develop PanSALB. Language may be a problem to most people, especially if the person was expected to draft a report in a language which was not their first language. He proposed that the entity should be given a second chance to submit another report to the Committee.
The Chairperson said it was not acceptable that PanSALB had submitted an incorrect document to the Committee. When a report was submitted to Parliament it immediately became a public document and the public could not be given incorrect information. The problem was that the entity had constantly distanced itself from the Department. It needed to work with the Department so that the Department could provide the entity with the financial support that it needed.
Mr Mahlangu said there were small matters which the entity also had to deal with. There was the pending case of Ms Linda Mxiweni, who had resigned to continue with her studies. She had been unable to gain access to her pension funds because the entity had not made proper arrangements for her to access them. He asked that the entity should look into this case. He reminded the Committee that PanSALB had not submitted their annual performance plan, nor their quarterly report. This was something that the Committee took very seriously. The funds which had been given to the entity were only to pay the salaries of staff members, because there had been no strategic plan indicating what they were going to use the funds for.
The Chairperson said she agreed with the Committee Members that the report must be sent back to the entity for amending.
Prof. Madiba replied that there had been a communication failure between the Committee and the entity. The entity had not been made aware of the presentation, and the report had been done at the last minute.
The Chairperson said they would make a follow up on their annual performance plan.
Dr Grootboom said the report indicated that the structures within PanSALB had fallen. He asked if the entity had been able to identify what had caused its structures to collapse. The entity should include the answer to his question at the next meeting when they presented their report again.
The Chairperson reminded PanSALB that their duty was to report on how they had dealt with the issues which have been identified by the Committee and the Department.
Performing Arts Centre of the Free State (PACOFS)
Ms Ontlametse Mochware, Deputy Chairperson of PACOFS, told the Committee that the report was filled with a lot of inaccuracies. The report had not been approved, or seen by the Board members. There were members of the Board who had resigned due to other commitments – most, if not all the members, were full time employees at universities and other institutions. The entity had not been functioning well, as it faced financial problems. She concluded that the entity was not ready to present the report.
The Chairperson said that a Board of any organisation should be responsible for all the functions that took place in the organisation. She asked the deputy chairperson who should be liable for the services which had not been delivered, if the Board had not approved the report. It did not make sense that a report was being submitted to the Committee without the approval of the senior executives.
Mr Mahlangu said the Portfolio Committee had made recommendations to the entity so that they would improve, but it looked like the entity had not taken any of the advice that had been given to them. He suggested that the report should, however, be discussed without it being presented to the Committee.
Ms Tsoleli said there were areas which needed the Committee’s serious attention, and they also needed answers. She agreed with Mr Mahlangu that PACOFS should not present the report, but it needed to be discussed.
The Chairperson said the report would not be discussed, and it was unacceptable that they had submitted poor work. She handed over to the Committee to make comments on the report.
Mr Mahlangu said the report had not been presented to the Department of Arts and Culture and the front cover suggested it was a presentation to the Portfolio Committee. He asked that the entity changed the cover of the report. The entity did not seem to have any knowledge of what issues had been raised during the visits. He asked that the Committee’s administrators hand over the Committee’s report, which included all the issues which had been raised during the oversight visits. Nothing had changed at the entity. PACOFS was still faced with the same challenges which had been identified last year. He concluded that the bad report was a reflection of the lack skills within the entity.
The Chairperson reminded PACOFS that they were accountable to the tax payers. When services were not being delivered, they undermined the people that were paying for those services.
Ms Mochware replied that there were members of the Council who had decided to resign at the last minute. It was no secret that the entity was losing people with the necessary skills to drive the entity forward.
Mr Teboho Macholo, Chief Executive Officer of PACOFS, asked if he could play a clip for the Committee as an answer to their questions.
Mr Grootboom asked when the CEO of PACOFS had been appointed.
The Chairperson replied that PACOFS’ CEO had been present during the oversight visit in December. She asked Mr Macholo to try and present to the Committee without playing the clip, because there was not enough time. The Committee only wanted to establish what the entity had done to try and solve the problems that had been identified during the visit which had taken place in December 2014.
Ms Monica Newton, Deputy Director General, Department of Arts and Culture, said in the past they had tried many times to set up meetings with PACOFS, but most of their members could not avail themselves for meetings. There had also been a lack of clarity as to what should be reported to the Committee, but PACOFS had made some progress.
Ms Tsoleli asked what progress Ms Newton was referring to, because the report told a different story. If anything had changed, then it should have been written in the report.
The Chairperson said PACOFS did not respect the tax payers.
The Committee had requested that the Director General should be present at the briefings, but he had decided not to attend the meeting.
She concluded that the adoption of minutes and the Committee’s programme should be moved to Tuesday next week, because some Committee Members had other meetings to attend at 13h00.
She reminded all three entities that the Committee would also support them in any way. They should work with the Department to try to solve any issue which may arise in the future.
The meeting was adjourned.
- Progress Report on Turnaround Plan 2015 – PACOFS Management to DAC
- Nelson Mandela Museum – In the footprints… An agency of the Department of Arts and Culture
- PanSALB - Report to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee: Arts and Culture
- Status/Progress Report on PACOFS
- Status/Progress Report on Nelson Mandela Museum 2015
- We don't have attendance info for this committee meeting
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