The Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) briefed the Committee on its first quarter expenditure report and on the status of the settlement agreement between the DAC and the South African Roadies Association (SARA). The Chairperson also welcomed a request from the South African Geographical Names Council (SAGNC) to brief the Committee on approved geographical names.
The DAC provided a brief overview of its first quarter expenditure performance. It had generally under-performed in that period, given that it had achieved 51% of its targets, meaning that only 37 of its 79 targets had been fully achieved. Members expressed their dissatisfaction and concerns about the DAC’s under-performance and suggested it was highly likely that the DAC would never overcome its historical record of under-performance and under-spending.
The Department presented the main points of the settlement agreement with the SARA. It had been agreed that the SARA would submit its request for funding its projects to the DAC, and that the request should be considered, based on the Department’s policies. Should the application be successful, the parties could enter into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) regulating the funding relationship. The SARA had submitted a funding proposal covering administration, operations and international relations costs. However, the DAC had considered the funding proposal and settled on supporting the international relations programme to the value of R2.8 million over a period of three years. The MOA had also been concluded, and the DAC continued to support other initiatives, including the renovation of the SARA building infrastructure. Members felt that they had nothing to comment on, and would rather wait for the outcome of the meeting between the concerned parties and the Public Protector.
The SAGNC briefed the Committee, focusing on approved geographical names and the challenges it was facing. The biggest challenge was waiting for people to apply for a change to the name of a place, building, road, etc. Some renaming proposals, which had been approved by the Minister, had been challenged in the courts. Members felt that the name changing process was taking place slowly. Name changing was part of true social transformation. A lot had to be done, such as an awareness campaign. The SAGNC was taking the initiative in changing certain names in order to meet its objectives. Members felt that the SAGNC should avoid any repetition or duplication of names, and places with offending names should be renamed. A Freedom Front Plus Member said that changing geographical names was a political issue. The SAGNC had to ensure that everyone was accommodated. In geographical renaming, the ANC should not focus solely on adopting names reflecting the ANC’s heroes without considering other opposition parties’ heroes.
The Committee considered the third term programme and minor changes were effected. The minutes of three Committee meetings were considered and adopted.
Consideration and adoption of minutes
The minutes of 2 June 2015 were considered and adopted without amendment.
The minutes of 9 June 2015 were considered and not adopted due to a language problem. Mr J Mahlango (ANC) suggested that the language of the minute should be revisited. He was seconded by Mr G Grootboom (DA).
The minutes of 9 August 2015 were considered and adopted without amendment.
The Chairperson said that the South African Geographical Names Council (SAGNC) had submitted a request to be accommodated in order to brief the Committee on geographical names approved. The request was considered and approved.
Consideration and adoption of Third Term Programme
Chairperson asked whether anything could be incorporated in the programme or subtracted from it. She took the Committee through the programme, listing the entities that would be briefing the Committee during the course of the third term period.
Mr Mahlangu said that during the weeks of 18 August and 25 August, he and Grootboom would not be available. He raised two issues regarding the programme. Firstly, the Committee had been invited to attend an environment meeting on Friday, and the Fridays were not good days for attending meetings. Secondly, the Committee should consider matters arising from its Limpopo oversight visit because the visit had exposed some areas where the DAC was not doing well. The Committee should engage with the Department of Public Works when it came to public infrastructure development.
The Chairperson said that the Friday meeting was a joint meeting between the Portfolio Committee on Arts and Culture and the Portfolio Committee on Tourism in order to consider issues which jointly fell within their mandates. For example, Robben Island was both a cultural and tourist site. Therefore, the committees should meet to discuss their mutual issues of concern.
The Chairperson said the Committee should also consider a joint of meeting with the Department of Basic Education. The Limpopo oversight visit had exposed schools which had no national flags or other national symbols.
Mr Mahlangu suggested that Members should have a discussion on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) heritage sites. The problem was related to the fact that these were managed by the Department of Environment, so the Committee needed to state its position on these international heritage sites.
The Chairperson agreed. The Committee Secretariat should compile a list of these sites, including the role the Department of Environment was playing, as well as any role played by other role players.
The Chairperson did not call upon Members to adopt the report.
Department of Arts and Culture on its first quarter performance report
The Chairperson said the Committee needed to know how far the DAC had progressed with its plan.
Mr Vuyo Jack, Acting Director General, DAC, provided a brief overview of the Department’s performance, followed by the branch-specific performance, and an explanation of the programme performance indicator and expenditure report. Generally, the achievement of targets stood at 51%, meaning that 37 out of 79 targets had been achieved. Key indicators of programme performance were explained in more detail, focussing primarily on targets that had been fully achieved or not fully achieved.
Total expenditure had amounted to R6.7 million by 30 June 2015, representing 17% of the whole budget. Money had been spent on four programmes -- administration; institutional governance; arts and culture promotion and development; and heritage promotion and preservation. He gave a summary of the total budget against expenditure per economic classification, including an explanation of expenditure variances per economic classification (see attachment).
He also provided an overview related to the provinces’ and municipalities’ conditional grants on community libraries.
Mr Grootboom asked how many students had benefited from language practice bursary awards. Why had flags been imported from China and not produced locally, which could have promoted job creation? The presentation had failed to touch on how the DAC intended to build a South African identity. Finally, he sought clarity on the variance in the distribution of provinces’ and municipalities’ conditional grants. What were the criteria?
Mr T Makondo (ANC) expressed his dissatisfaction with the progress of the DAC. The Committee had hoped that things would go right in the DAC. It had been supporting the DAC to ensure that things were turned around, but still the DAC could not perform well. The presentation showed only that the DAC was good at managing salaries, but not good at allocating and managing its work properly. He was concerned about the DAC’s history of under-performance and under-spending. If the DAC’s progress was not good in its first quarter, it was highly likely that it would under-perform in the other three quarters.
Mr Mahlangu also expressed his dissatisfaction with the DAC’s under-performance and remarked that it was unacceptable and intolerable. The Committee should find guidance from the National Treasury on the matter. He sought clarity on various matters, including the lack of payments to Limpopo’s artists, why conditional grants were not identical, why there were out-dated books on library shelves, on the absence of provincial archives, on what happened to court records and whether court records were only the Department of Justice’s responsibility. He also asked whether the DAC had 26 or 28 entities, why South African and African Union (AU) flags were not distributed at all schools, and where libraries mentioned in the presentation were based.
Ms V Mogotsi (ANC) welcomed the public procurement approach, but expressed concern over the manner in which gender equality, and people with disabilities, in placement was handled. She was worried about the DAC’s overall dysfunctionality, and hailed women and people with disabilities who were hard hit by poverty.
Mr M Rabotapi (DA) asked who managed a library built by the DAC, and how long it took a new library to function fully.
Mr Jack thanked the Committee for its constructive inputs and suggestions. With regard to language bursaries, he said that the target for 2015 had been 320, and the provisional figures were 52 students at Wits University, 67 at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, 64 at the University of the North, and 40 at the University of the Western Cape (UWC). The figures were allocated in accordance with the size of the universities’ departments.
Mr Jack agreed that the DAC had not performed well. There were 26 entities that had been funded.
Community libraries were difficult to manage. The DAC had established 17 community libraries, some of which were completely independent from government. Some were dependent on local municipalities or the provincial government. The Community libraries in Limpopo which had been visited by the Committee were, for example, under municipal management. The functionality of the municipality was a matter that the DAC was dealing with.
Mr Jack said he would like to make a presentation on the Operation Art Bank. The incubators project was funded through municipal channels.
Mr Grootboom said that the discrepancies in conditional grants had not been clarified.
Mr Mahlangu remarked that sport was not used by the DAC to promote arts and culture. In Limpopo, municipalities were more interested in the arts, but not in sports.
The Chairperson agreed that there was a strong arts and culture spirit in Limpopo, but the DAC was not supporting them on the ground. The DAC should apply its mind to supporting people in Limpopo.
Mr Jack responded that there had been a delay in contracting with artists at all the schools. The DAC was working to expedite the paperwork. It would be looking at the programme to see how it could run efficiently. The programme varied from one province to another. In the Free State, it was registered as an additional programme, and therefore this affected the payment of artists. In Gauteng and the Western Cape, the artists were remunerated at a higher level, because of the competitive nature of these provincial environments. It was difficult to obtain skills with higher level qualifications. For these reasons, it was difficult to standardise the conditional grants at the provincial level.
With regards to flags, Mr Jack explained that the AU flags should be at public administrative buildings, but not at schools. He could not respond to the question of importing flags from China, but he was aware that the DAC should buy locally.
Referring to support for local municipalities, Mr Jack said that municipalities were struggling to deliver on time because of the difficulties in managing their budgets, especially in Limpopo and North West.
He acknowledged that the DAC was focusing on national archives, and not provincial or municipal archives. A study would be completed by September which would provide recommendations on how the challenges related to provincial archives could be overcome. With regard to operating new libraries, he said they should open their doors within a reasonable time.
Mr Grootboom said he had noticed that there were no AU and South African flags at the Beit Bridge border.
Ms S Tsoleli (ANC) said there were numerous community libraries which were in bad state and needed the DAC’s attention. They had not even been mentioned in the presentation. Community libraries were vandalised when they were not used.
The Chairperson said community libraries were of concern, so there should be a discussion on how they could be dealt with. Any library ought to operate in a conducive way. While money could be distributed through tenders, it remained the duty of the DAC to make a follow up on how the money was spent.
Briefing by South African Geographical Names Council (SAGNC)
Mr Johnny Mohlala, Chairperson: SAGNC, took the Committee through the status of the SAGNC as the naming authority in South Africa, its composition, mandate, jurisdiction, approved names, capacity building and advocacy and challenges.
The SAGNC had been established in terms of the South African Geographical Names Council Act 118 of 1998. Each country had the sovereign prerogative to standardise its geographical names. The SAGNC had replaced the National Place Names Committee.
Mr Mohlala said that the naming of geographical features in South Africa was part of the process of the transformation of the South African heritage landscape in order to forge a common national identity and nationhood. It was also a part of symbolic reparation, as recommended by Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The process of renaming was subject to application, and all names were submitted to the Minister for approval.
The naming of all juristic names -- for example, the name of a country, names of provinces and names of the local authorities -- fell outside the jurisdiction of the SAGNC. Included were all names of features under the control of local authorities, such as streets, municipal buildings, squares, parks and cemeteries, or any other features within the jurisdiction of the municipality. Privately owned buildings and farms also fell outside the mandate of the SAGNC.
Mr Mohlala described the challenges that the SAGNC, along with the DAC, were facing. In the process of renaming, the SAGNC was challenged by resistance to change, which usually escalated to court cases challenging Minister’s decision. The participation of the public was not clearly defined in relation to the standardisation of geographical names. Legislative shortcomings rendered some provinces and municipalities ineffective.
Mr Grootboom sought clarity on the extent to which the DAC had been involved in guiding the SAGNC in the changing of names. According to the legislation regulating the renaming, there should be no identical names. How were two identical names dealt with?
Mr Mahlango said that there were names of places that could be found, for example, in both the Western Cape and Eastern Cape. There were other names that were used in Europe. He remarked that the SAGNC played a crucial role in transforming South Africa. The SAGNC had a say in all matters relating to renaming, and therefore it had to guide other entities even if matters did not fall within its jurisdiction.
Mr Makondo said that the Committee had had a discussion with the Minister in connection with the absence of transforming South Africa through geographical name changes. What could be learnt from the SAGNC’s process was that voluntary applications for changing names were not working. The spirit of 2000 and 2004 had faded away.
Dr P Mulder (FF+) said that changing geographical names was a political issue. The SAGNC had to ensure that everyone was accommodated. White people, and especially Afrikaners, had been in South Africa more than 400 years. However, there were names in Afrikaans that were being challenged. In geographical renaming, the ANC should not focus solely on adopting names reflecting the ANC’s heroes without considering other opposition parties’ heroes.
Ms Tsoleli expressed her concern about the fact that name changing was still an issue after two decades of democracy. Pre-1994, in the Free State, only towns where black people were staying had African names. Other cities and suburbs were bearers of European names. She did not agree with Dr Mulder who contended that some European names -- in particular, Afrikaans names -- had a historical connotation and relevance. That did not matter at all. How could a place have a European name? The Europeans - whether colonialists or white settlers – knew that this land belonged to the black man and that black people had named places. These names had been ignored. The SAGNC had not done its work properly because it had not undertaken an awareness campaign programme to sensitise black people to apply for name changes. Black people were not aware of the name changing process and procedure, or did not understand the relevance and significance of renaming. It should be noted that the renaming of places and towns lies at the heart of blacks’ liberation.
Mr Rabotapi agreed, and said that renaming should consider all great South African names, such as Steve Biko and Mangaliso Sobukwe, not just great names with ANC backgrounds.
Ms Mogotsi remarked that renaming was not after the ANC’s great people. The renaming was based on public consultation. Therefore, it could not be said that the ANC was imposing its own names. The fact was, however, that the ANC represented the majority of people in South Africa.
The Chairperson said there was an urgent need to ensure that names were changed from European names to African ones, and it was difficult to have a structure that ensured that names were changed accordingly. Renaming illustrated or reflected true social transformation.
Mr Mohlala welcomed the Members’ engagement, and was elated by their inputs and comments. He said that the duplication of names was challenging. He cited a name that could not be approved, because it existed in Japan. Some names were not approved if it transpired that they were just mere translations of previous names. The SAGNC was doing its best to avoid duplication and repetition. So far, more than 400 names had been dealt with in Gauteng. However, as he had been chairing the SAGNC for only two weeks, he could not provide a real picture of the work already done in each province.
Mr Mohlala noted that the SAGNC would submit to the Committee a report comprising all names that have been changed and would-be changed names. Once a renaming application had been lodged and had approved, a name would be submitted to the Parliament for approval. He further noted that people were naming places following different political leaders coming from different political backgrounds and new names were proposed and approved when in various languages, including Afrikaans. He also noted that the question raised by Dr Moulder was falling in political realm and should be debated at political platform.
Mr Mohlala agreed that there would be a problem if the SAGNC followed the traditional process of renaming. If it sat and awaited applications, the renaming process would take ages. For that reason, it had initiated an awareness campaign and discussion workshop with communities on how to go about name changing.
The Chairperson commented that name changing was a very sensitive matter, but the SAGNC should not afraid of discussing these complex issues. It would be supported by the Committee. In its discussions, the SAGNC should include municipal councils. There was a need to work together, in their diversity, to get the SAGNC’s work done.
Mr Mahlangu remarked that the SAGNC should avoid the situation where one had “Amsterdam” in both South Africa and Holland, or having a name such as “East London.” These names had a colonial connotation.
The Chairperson also remarked that places that carried names with an offensive meaning should be identified and renamed.
Dr Mulder expressed his concern about the Chairperson’s buying-in approach. He was of the view that consultation was a must, in order to accommodate everyone. South Africa should learn from other countries which had changed names every time an opposition party came in to power. To avoid this, all voices should be heard.
DAC on the settlement agreement with the South African Roadies Association (SARA).
Mr Jack took the Committee through the main points of the settlement agreement. It had been agreed that SARA would submit its request for funding its projects to the DAC, and that the request should be considered based on the Department’s policies. Should the application be successful, the parties could enter into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) regulating the funding relationship. The SARA had submitted a funding proposal covering administration, operations and international relations costs. However, the DAC had considered the funding proposal and had settled on supporting the international relations programme to the value of R2.8 million, over a period of three years. The MOA had also been concluded.
After the assessment, the DAC had committed itself to renovating the SARA house infrastructure and had committed R10 million for that purpose. In addition, the SARA was requested to identify certain areas where the DAC could assist, including identification of potential partners. The DAC continued to make itself available for engagements with SARA to ensure a good working relationship. To ensure that SARA’s vision and mission were achieved, support to the value of R800 000 had been provided to SARA for the live events, and the technical and production conference.
Mr Jack commented that the engagements between the DAC and SARA were always heated and emotional. In most of their engagements, they had failed to reach a conclusive agreement.
The Chairperson said no decision could be taken by the Committee. She would be attending the meeting to discuss the misunderstandings between the DAC and SARA, and would provide a feedback to the Committee.
Mr Mahlangu commented that the SARA was problematic, and sought clarity on why the SARA was objecting to becoming a departmental entity. How could the SARA run to the Public Protector and the Speaker of Parliament? The solution to the SARA problem should be resolved by section 134 dealing with establishing entities. That was a solution that the Chairperson could take to the meeting.
The meeting was adjourned.
- South African Geographical Names Council presentation
- 2015/16 First Quarter Performance Report
- Status update on implementation of Settlement Agreement between DAC & South African Roadies Association
- Briefing Document Outlining Update on Actions Undertaken & Outstanding in Terms of Settlement Agreement Between DAC & SARA
- Template of Analysis on Support and follow ups that Have occurred in Respect to SARA Settlement Agreement
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