The South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA) spoke on its maximisation strategy for its Property Portfolio which would increase income and allow the properties to be maintained properly. SAHRA idea of developing and remodeling some of its Portfolio Properties into cottages and farms, raised the concern of some Committee members that the significant part - the heritage - of the properties would be lost. However, SAHRA explained that they would maintain a balance between development and heritage. Second, in regards to the Graves Project Forensic Report, the Committee complained that SAHRA presented an unfinished forensic report. A second meeting would be held once the forensic report was concluded.
Statistics South Africa said that recreational, cultural and sporting activities contributed R8,0 billion (0,25%) to the economy in 2013. The Quarterly Labour Force Surve showed that in 2014,158 000 were employed in these activities and provided a 1,0% contribution to total employment. Men are more likely to be employed in radio/TV, while women are more likely to be employed in sports and other recreational activities. Adults (35-64 yrs) are more likely to be employed in library/archives and news agencies. Blacks Africans, coloured and whites are mostly employed in sporting activities while Indians are mostly employed in radio/TV. Whites are more likely to be employed in news agencies than any other population group. A greater proportion (61,4%) of persons with education level below matric were employed in sports activities. More than half of those with tertiary education were employed in radio/TV. The briefing was received with great enthusiasm by the Committee and suggested that Stats SA should present relevant statistics to other parliamentary committes.
South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA) Property Portfolio
Ms Veliswa Baduza, SAHRA CEO, briefed the Committee on the performance of the Property Portfolio of SAHRA as well as its planned maximization strategy. SAHRA played a key role in the identification, conservation, protection and promotion of South Africa’s heritage resources for present and future generations. SAHRA currently has a property portfolio of 36 buildings, that were donated to the National Monuments Council and the Historical Monuments Commission (predecessors of SAHRA), by the State and other institutions and individuals. These properties were donated to ensure their continued protection and to prevent them from being demolished. However, there’s no easy way to ensure the protection of these building as their maintenance is quite expensive. The reason SAHRA has developed a property maximization strategy that will fall into a business scenario is in order to restore the heritage sites and create economic profit for the sustainability of these sites.
The 36 properties are composed of three burial sites, three open sites, 15 monuments and 15 buildings. Seven of those properties have been identified as having the potential for significant economic and social development. They would not only generate revenue but also create job opportunities in the communities such as farming, arts and culture hubs, hotels, and day care centres. She summed up by saying that the development of the properties is only a plan that has not been executed. They are still in discussion with the Department of Arts and Culture for the funding and full implementation of the strategy.
Graves Project Forensic Report: SAHRA briefing
Ms Baduza explained that an MOU was entered into between SAHRA and the Heritage Foundation on 17 January. The former SAHRA CEO at the time Ms S Van Damme represented SAHRA, and the Managing Director Mr G Opperman represented the Heritage Foundation. In terms of this MOU, it stated “the Parties are desirous of entering into an arrangement for the establishment of a framework for the conservation and management of mutually agreed white and black concentrations camps, graves and cemeteries, including the Burgher graves (Anglo-Boer South African War (1899-1902) in South Africa.” A total of R2.25 million was transferred from SAHRA to the Heritage Foundation for the restoration, conservation and management of the identified burial and memorial sites of all concentration camp, burgher and prisoner of war graves, and certain battlefields to be the responsibility of the Heritage Foundation between 2010 and 2014. There were approximately 40 sites that were continually cleaned, upgraded and maintained.
An investigation of the Heritage Foundation was prompted by the discovery of an alleged irregular payment made to a service provider who never completed the assigned work. UBAC (Pty) Ltd was appointed to conduct a forensic investigation into all the reported irregularities since 2011/12. As the findings suggest, the Heritage Foundation contravened section 11 and section 15(6) of the MOU (Additional Projects without consultation). Some part of the budget was allocated to pay salaries, security, purchasing of new vehicles and other general expenses. It would appear that Ms S Van Damme (CEO), Mr D Sibiya and Mr T Phili failed to protect the conservation of the heritage sites. Ultimately, UBAC advised SAHRA to recover R1,6 million from the Heritage Foundation.
In terms of the forensic report, SAHRA does not agree with all the conclusions reached by UBAC. SAHRA insists that:
- All work executed by the Heritage Foundation was in line with the MOU.
- The finding that only R313 502 of the expenditure is legitimate, is not correct.
- The finding that the Heritage Foundation breached clause 11 is unfounded, as the projects that were outside the list were condoned by SAHRA by providing more funding.
- The amount of R1, 6 million which the forensic report suggests should be recovered is not advisable as the projects undertaken relate to the same purpose of rehabilitation of the heritage sites.
- The assets acquired by the Heritage Foundation are small assets with a cost value of R37 000 and two vehicles with a market value of R165 000. SAHRA thinks the assets should remain with the Heritage Foundation as they are contributing to maintaining the heritage sites.
Thus, SAHRA has concluded that there were no irregularities and that all work undertaken falls within the ambit of its mandate. The report is now closed and there are plans for further engagement with the Heritage Foundation.
The Chairperson was impressed with all the issues that came out, and commented that he had no understanding of how the situation had happened. The Committee passed a budget in line with the stated plan. Under no circumstances can there be any cuts or changes to that plan - otherwise as the auditor said, it is irregular expenditure.
Mr T Makondo (ANC) asked if the development of the Portfolio Properties would not result in the loss of their historical significance. He referred to the Graves Project forensic investigation and pointed out that the final report was never sent to them. He asked the SAHRA Board to explain where were their comments on the provisional reports.
Ms V Mogotsi (ANC) was also concerned about developing the Portfolio Properties. By remodeling the properties into cottages and farms etc, this ends up changing the essence of the property, putting an end to its heritage. On the forensic report, she demanded the right answers to the investigation, and clarification on the report being closed.
Mr P Mulder (FF+) asked SAHRA how they plan to maintain balance between heritage and development.
Ms N Bilankulu (ANC) asked for the reason that the report on the Graves Project was concluded.
Mr Dumisani Sibayi, SAHRA Executive Officer: Heritage Resources Management, replied that in regards to the Portfolio Properties, the revenue that will be created should maximize the property’s value as well as help the sustainability of these properties. The development of the properties will never lose the balance between heritage and development. They will keep the significant heritage value by keeping the outside in its original state and modernize the inside - subtly. He expressed enthusiasm for the project and asked for the Committee's support. There is potential in these land and buildings, and this development will help in the preservation of these properites.
Ms Baduza added that the Portfolio Properties development is still in the early stages of planning, and that it has not yet been executed. In case the development of the properties falls into a hospitality business model SAHRA will seek professional advice.
On the forensic report, Ms Baduza replied that the case has not been closed. SAHRA has not received the final report from UBAC. She acknowledged that SAHRA should push UBAC to conclude the investigation, as there are more aspects under investigation besides those presented to the Committee.
Mr Makondo thanked SAHRA for the responses. However he distrusted what was being said. He had a problem with the tone that was coming from the answers. The answers should show logic. A forensic report is never presented to a Committee until the investigation has concluded. He insisted that the SAHRA Chairperson should comment as he had been quiet on the matters being addressed. He did not want answers from the CEO, Executive Officer or other SAHRA staff, as they are part of the investigation as well.
Mr Fanie Makhanya (SAHRA Chairperson) replied that the silence from the Council about the forensic investigation can be explained as it is an issue that arose before he was appointed in that position. He promised the Committee to come back and report on the findings once the investigation is concluded.
The Chairperson replied that Mr Makhanya inherited the past once he accepted the position and that whatever happened before is his responsibility as well. He said the Committee expects a clean audit report and trusts that Mr Makhanya will help achieve this result.
Creative Industry/Arts and Culture Statistics: briefing by Statistics South Africa
Mr Pali Lehohla, Statistician-General at Statistics South Africa, defined Culture, for statistical purposes, as the contributory process that enables culture to be created, distributed, received, used, critiqued, understood and preserved. Activities in the entire culture cycle should be measured. This definition of Culture relates and can be used to measure the economic dimensions of it in any country. There is a direct impact in economic growth and job creation when considering culture. This association results in a more accurate study of the contribution to GDP, contribution to employment, and helps determine who is more likely to be employed.
The UNESCO Framework for Cultural Statistics defines culture through the identification and measurement of the behaviours and practices resulting from the beliefs and values of a society or a social group. Data are typically collected from business and enterprise surveys, household expenditure surveys, business registers, earnings surveys, labour force surveys; and censuses. While these data collection instruments may not have been designed specifically for the collection of cultural information, they nonetheless can allow for an analysis of selected cultural and related activities.
Using economic data, it found that recreational; cultural and sporting activities contributed R8,0 billion (0,25%) to the economy in 2013.
Employment data was established via the Quarterly Labour Force Survey. In 2014,158 000 were employed in thiese activities. This provided a 1,0% contribution to total employment. Men are more likely to be employed in radio/TV, while women are more likely to be employed in sports and other recreational activities. Adults (35-64 yrs) are more likely to be employed in library/archives and news agencies. Blacks Africans, coloured and whites are mostly employed in sporting activities while Indians are mostly employed in radio/TV. Whites are more likely to be employed in news agencies than any other population group. A greater proportion (61,4%) of persons with education level below matric were employed in sports activities. More than half of those with tertiary education were employed in radio/TV. Large proportions of persons were employed in sport activities in most provinces. Gauteng (41,0%) employs more people in radio/TV than any other province.
Statistics South Africa has not yet developed an integrated framework for cultural statistics production
Statistics South Africa should domesticate the UNESCO Framework for Cultural Statistics and consultations have started with the Departments of Trade and Industry and Arts and Culture
The Chairperson was very happy with the presentation and thanked Mr Lehohla.
Ms Mogotsi said she had no questions, but thanked him for the presentation, as it was very entertaining and informative.
The Chairperson suggested Mr Lehohla should present relevant information to the different parliamentary committees.
Mr Lehohla agreed and accepted the invitation for further presentations.
The meeting was adjourned.
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