The Office of the Auditor General South Africa firstly presented the Committee with the audit outcomes of the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) and its entities. The presentation reviewed the audit outcomes over the past three years, and noted that in the financial year 2014/15, audit outcomes of the entities varied, with from clean audit reports through to ten entities with qualified reports, largely on the basis of lack of competence to comply with the new requirements, one with a disclaimer and one report not submitted on time. Five entities had achieved their predetermined objectives for the year. The root causes of regression included lack of consequences for poor performance and transgressions, instability or vacancies in key positions and key officials lacking appropriate competencies. The key recommendations for improvement were better coordination and communication between the DAC and entities, strengthening controls to support reliable financial and performance reporting and compliance with legislation; implementing adequate systems or processes to support accurate and reliable information and better financial and performance management to enhance checks during the year to ensure that all reconciliations were done regularly, and overall compliance with procurement. The Auditor-General noted that in this year, the Museums had had to comply with new rulings in relation to valuation of heritage assets, but many had not managed to comply with that. Four entities' financial health was of concern and the AGSA was concerned about another four.
The Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) firstly presented a report on the South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA), focusing on the efforts to enter into partnerships to help fund this entity. The Department was severely criticised for not handing in a written report. It was noted that a Memorandum of Understanding for a renovation project with the SA Roadies Association had been drafted and letters were sent to various institutions, as around R6 million was needed for SAHRA to be sustainable. Members wanted a full and detailed report with timeframes for the plans over the next six months.
The Minister of Arts and Culture gave a short presentation in which he highlighted two significant features of the 2014/15 year: the first being the celebration of 20 years of democracy, and the second being the hosting of Africa Month in May which showcased achievements across the Continent and linked well with the attempts of the African Union to africanise dialogue. There was a need for the DAC to build a more inclusive and proud society from the fractured past. The Minister criticised anyone who vandalised symbols that did not match their own beliefs and looked forward to the whole nation recognising that this was not right. DAC had a particular challenge in building a nation whilst economic justice was not fully operative. He noted the need to develop all languages and urged that all entities must catch up and be on the same page. The White Paper review was continuing.
The DAC then presented its own Annual Report. It gave some highlights from selected programmes, particularly in the Mzansi Golden Economy in which 87 cultural events had been supported. No geographical place renaming took place in this year – a point on which the Committee was concerned. Celebration of liberation and remembrance projects were mentioned. The DAC continued with its schools awareness programme, and detailed how the libraries conditional grant was spent. DAC was the first department to approve the language policy before the deadline date prescribed by the Use of Official Languages Act and continued to develop terminologies. The DAC had set up an implementation forum, submitted four progress reports to the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME), acted with other departments, including the Department of Basic Education. Challenges included the findings of misstatements in the financial statements, non-compliance with some regulations and inadequate systems to prevent irregular expenditure. However, its audit report was unqualified but with findings. If had spent R3.45 billion from the R3.52 billion budget and would have to surrender R72.6 million. An analysis was presented. There was also R145 million under spending on the conditional grant. It was conscious of the need to spread projects more evenly across provinces. It awarded 14 000 bursaries and upgraded 20 libraries, and had created around 7 900 jobs in the six Performing Arts institutions. It had been using contract staff to fill the vacancies. Consequences had been introduced for poor spending.
Members were critical of the DAC's lack of involvement in the repatriation programme, asked for more detail on the jobs and wanted time frames to be specified for its efforts, and how fruitless and wasteful expenditure would be tackled. They questioned if audits of libraries had been done, access to museums, particularly for artists in Limpopo and Eastern Cape, and commented that national days should not be turned in ruling party days, lest they lose the essence of nation building. They questioned the forensic investigation into the Northern Cape theatre, and urged that all national languages needed to be developed to high standard and more attention paid to development of Sign Language. They wanted to know where the Rivonia Trial transcripts were to be kept, commenting that they must be accessible, questioned the closure of the reconciliation route between Freedom Park and the Voortrekker Monument and asked how the heritage in privately run museums would be preserved. Members asked if the DAC could not do something about power outages in theatres during performances. They were concerned about the decline in collections, and stressed the necessity of educational and outreach programmes. Further questions were raised on the bursaries, the Artists in Schools project, expressing alarm that some artists had not been paid, and said that DAC should have been more proactive in relation to the new GRAP standards implementation.
The Robben Island Museum presented its Annual Report. It was showing a surplus in this year and income had increased, and it had spent well and had two consecutive clean audit reports. Its main concern was that it needed to have funding consistent with its status as a World Heritage Site, and be consistent in the narrative from tour guides; there was also a need to be specific about the role of women in the struggle. It was conscious of the need to digitise information.There were also attempts to supply green energy on the island and MOUs were in place. One concern was that it had fallen behind in submitting the State of Conservation report in line with UNESCO undertakings. Members asked about the Museum's relationship with the City of Cape Town, and urged a smooth handover.
Iziko Museums then presented its Annual Report, noting that 75% of the performance outcomes had been achieved. The income had dropped over the last three years. However it was pleased to note 41 000 people taking part in free admission, raising awareness, and hosting of 21 000 learners. It had an A rated researcher and had produced 34 peer reviewed publications. Conservation was a major focus but this needed significant funding. It had 38 income-generating partnerships and generated R12.9 of own income and hosted several internships with 69 people, and ran a Meaningful Access Programme. It had again received an unqualified and clean audit. Some of the achievements over the last three years were detailed, including an evaluation.
Its main challenge were shortage of financial resources, the fact that it had no contemporary arts works, the deficit and the need to upgrade the Planetarium. Members were appreciative of the good work and encouraged more dialogue with the DAC, although there was not sufficient time for much engagement.
Chairperson's introductory remarks
The Chairperson noted that this meeting would allow the Committee to reflect on the work being done by the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC or the Department) and its entities, and it was important to get feedback from the Department and the Auditor-General to identify areas of weakness and plan for future oversight. She was disappointed that the DAC was not present to hear the briefing by the Auditor-General South Africa (AGSA). The Committee valued its relationship with AGSA and appreciated its overview of performance of DAC for 2014/15.
Auditor General South Africa (AGSA): DAC Audit Outcomes briefing
Mr Zipho Mdluli, Senior Manager, AGSA, and Mr Musa Hlongwa, Business Executive, AGSA, briefed the Committee on the audit outcomes of the Department of Arts and Culture and other entities, over the past five financial years. The slide presentation was supplemented with a second document that provided the Committee with more detail (see attached documents).
Mr Mdluli noted that the relationship between the AGSA and the Committee was important, as AGSA would assist the Portfolio Committee in its oversight role of assessing the performance of the Department of Arts and Culture. In terms of the performance overview, this Department had achieved 71% of its set targets in the 2014/15 financial year, while 29% had not been achieved. These figures remained the same from the 2013/14 financial year.
The number of entities overall that received clean audit reports was also roughly the same as for 2013/14, and although overall regression had increased in the 2013/14 year, in the 2014/15 year there were ten entities with qualifications, although for eight of those, these were linked to heritage assets. This was a result of a new standard with which entities were fully required to comply in the 2014/15 financial year. The root cause was the lack of skills and competencies to comply with the new standard.
Five entities, namely the DAC; Ditsong Museums of South Africa; the Msunduzi/Voortrekker Museum; National Library of South Africa and the Pan South African Language Board achieved their predetermined objectives for the year.
The AGSA six key focus areas were: quality of submitted financial statements; quality of submitted performance reports; compliance with legislation; financial health; human resource management and information technology.
The root causes of regression that should be addressed included lack of consequences for poor performance and transgressions; slow response from management; instability or vacancies in key positions and lack of appropriate competencies for key officials.
AGSA recommended that entities should develop an action plan that was time-bound, to address the prior year's qualifications and that this be monitored quarterly. It also recommended that the DAC, Die Afrikaanse Taalmuseum, the National Arts Council of South Africa and the National Museum would benefit from regular interaction between themselves and the AGSA.
Mr Hlongwa then presented on combined assurance. There had been a slight improvement in audits received. One of the entities received a disclaimer with findings, and there was one audit that was not completed on time. The audit that had been outstanding,had not been completed. Twelve entities had to make changes but fourteen submitted correctly.
The DAC believed that four entities did not show good financial health. Nine, including the Ditsong Museum, the National Library of South African and the Windybrow Theatre, could be of concern. Four entities would not require further attention but AGSA was concerned about seven.
Findings in relation to ICT had generally been good.
The Chairperson commented that it was very useful information that had been provided. The Committee also appreciated the information booklet that was provided, but felt that the language used should be clearer, for instance to explain what “irregular expenditure” meant. In addition, it would be useful to get that booklet in other languages. She was alarmed to note the lack of a permanent Director General present.
Mr J Mahlangu (ANC) thought that the DAC had performed quite well and that there has been a great improvement against the audit findings of 2013/14. While it had not been an easy journey, the Committee would not give up on the Department and needed to know exactly what the position was, so that it could assist the entities.
Mr G Grootboom (DA) was concerned about the slow response from management, noting that the buck must stop with management, although he conceded that perhaps some managers may not have been trained properly so that the slow response from management was not perhaps due to them taking too much time, but was rather due to a lack of proper training.
The Chairperson agreed that slow response from management was a problematic area, and that the Committee needed to ask the Department about that. She thanked AGSA on behalf of the Members for its presentation. She said that stagnation in the assessment of assurances was worrying. She also expressed appreciation to the Committee Members for going the extra mile in the joint oversight, and their persistence in seeing problems through to resolution.
Department of Arts and Culture Annual Report 2014/15 briefings:
Ms Monica Newton, Deputy Director General, DAC, explained that the first part of her presentation outlined the position with the Department itself and the second dealt with two of its entities: the Robben Island Museum and Iziko Museums South Africa. She apologised for not having a written report, but hoped that an oral report would suffice.
In relation to the South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA) the Department was still seeking additional information before sending letters to a number of potential supporters of SAHRA. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) had been drafted and R10 million was set aside for the regulation project, on the advice of the Independent Development Trust (IDT), leaving a balance of around R4 million. Letters had been sent to various institutions including the National Heritage Council, the National Lottery Commission, the National Arts Council, the Gauteng Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture, requesting any support that could be provided to SAHRA for the operational funding for the organisation, Just over R6 million a year was required, to run SAHRA as a self-contained entity. The DAC's own MOU with SAHRA would also continue in the meantime, and as with all other MOUs, SAHRA would be allowed to make comment. SAHRA had requested that the DAC support its administration and operational funding and that presented some challenges for the Department.
Rather than moving through a fiduciary organisation such as the IDT, the DAC had created an MOU directly with the South African Roadies Association, which would allow them to appoint a professional project manager as well as other professionals. DAC had recognised that there were some challenges with the IDT and some of the agencies that it had used for infrastructure projects, but also recognised that SAHRA was perhaps able better able to respond, as it was closer to the ground, and more flexible.
The MOU regarding the renovation project was under way and should soon be concluded, including the endorsement that the DAC requested, requesting support for administration and operational funding requirements, as well as the possibility of perhaps reporting the balance of the renovation project. City of Johannesburg and the Gauteng Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture had been requested, for example, to also contact the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development (GDID), to see if it could provide assistance in terms of project management or anything similar.
The Chairperson thanked the DAC for the information, but expressed disappointment at the lack of a written report, since it had already been agreed that the DAC would provide the Committee with written documents a few days before the date of presentations. This would have helped Members to follow the details and to get full information in order to monitor the DAC's work.
Ms V Mogotsi (ANC) agreed and was also disappointed that no documents were provided. It seemed that the Committee was doing its work but the DAC was not. Ms Newton, as the Deputy Director General, should have known that she was to present, should have prepared a written document and given it to the Committee.
Ms N Bilankulu (ANC), suggested that because the DAC did not have a written report to give to the Committee, the DAC was in fact not ready to make a presentation to the Committee.
The Chairperson said that she wanted the Committee to engage with the DAC nonetheless, because it needed responses to the questions asked, but stated that it was totally unacceptable that the Committee did its work, but the Department did not, which made it difficult for the Committee to explain the situation to the people it was serving.
Mr Mahlangu asked if there had been any progress with regard to expenditure.
Ms Newton replied that a three year contract had been signed with the National Roadies Association (NRA). That budget would be confirmed and made available to the SAHRA for the renovation. The endorsement was essentially to be done in the processes of the funding rounds of the National Lottery Commission; 200 had opened up for this year. A proposal had been submitted to the National Arts Council and this was also being researched. The DAC would try to figure out what happened there,and would deal individually with the various agencies that the DAC had approached on behalf of the NRA.
The Chairperson asked when the R10 million was going to be made available to SAHRA.
Ms Newton replied that it would be in this financial year, but if not, then provision would be carried over to the next financial year.
The Chairperson asked if Ms Newton thought that a R10 million project could really be concluded in six months; whether that time would be sufficient or if the project would drag on for another three years. She asked if meetings were taking place between the DAC and SAHRA, pointing out that they were supposed to be taking place regularly so that there was a common understanding between the DAC and SAHRA of how things would unfold.
Ms Newton replied that she was not aware that official meetings were taking place but she did know that there had been a large amount of correspondence between the DAC and SAHRA.
The Chairperson repeated her query whether DAC really thought that a R10 million project could be completed in six months.
Ms Newton stated that she was not aware of meetings, but she would need to confirm and would get back to the Committee about that.
The Chairperson asked the DAC to give the Committee a picture of when the six months would start; it was already October, and the Committee needed to oversee this.
Ms Newton clarified that the six months included October.
The Chairperson interjected that the DAC did not yet have a MOU.
Ms Newton clarified that whilst there was no final MOU there was a draft. Many of the programmes could be implemented in parallel with others, and a project manager could help to make decisions more efficiently. She was confident that much of the work could be done in six months, but she did think that it might not be concluded in that time.
The Chairperson repeated that she needed to know the scope of those “six months”.
Ms Newton responded that she was including October since if the DAC was able to conclude the MOU within the next week or two, it would be able to secure of the services of a professional project manager, who could identify the various components of the project and determine how to speed them up.
The Chairperson asked that the DAC provide the six month plan by Tuesday of the following week, to specify when the project would start and end. She commented that the DAC did not seem to be taking the matter seriously; it was a standing matter. Again, she commented that DAC had come to this meeting without providing this information beforehand, and this was totally unacceptable. She was not allowing this matter to fall off the agenda until it was resolve.
Remarks by Minister of Arts and Culture
Mr Nathi Mthethwa, Minister of Arts and Culture, commented that there had been two significant events in the year under review . The first was the celebration of 20 years of democracy. Prior to 1994 there had not been a nation, given the divide between racial and ethnic groups, but at that stage, everyone had agreed to do everything in their power to change this situation. The portfolio of arts and culture was a powerful catalyst for change.
Secondly, South Africa had hosted Africa Month in May, informed primarily by a belief in peace and friendship in the world, and this had showcased achievements of the African continent, and the accomplishments of its people. The work of social cohesion and nation building did not start and end only with South Africa. South Africans also must acknowledge that they were African, and in celebrating Africa Month, it had celebrated the whole identity of a continent, the cradle of humankind. There was a need to use culture for the service of humanity, of the gospel of the new awakening, from the West and East and from North to South, and for social regeneration. All these issues were interconnected to create a whole human being and humanity. The African Union (AU) agenda of 2015 sought to Africanise dialogue, which resonated well with what our predecessors had said. There were still elements of the culture of segregation and apartheid dominating society, and many fractures still remained to be healed. The DAC must still re-make, out of the fractured past, a more inclusive, proud society, with people who acted together. The Constitution underscored the point that the people came from different backgrounds, but were one people, who should not ignore or look down upon other people's culture and heritage. South Africa could not talk of “building a nation” without looking to the fundamentals of a nation. If there was no economic justice, if the challenges of joblessness and a slow-growing economy was shedding jobs continued, then South Africa would have difficulties in achieving goals. South Africa was, however, on the path to change, and the DAC wanted to change things for the better.
Speaking to languages, he noted that there were research aims for the languages, and over a period of time, the pace in developing other languages would increase. It was not a question of money.
He noted that there was something very wrong with how many of the entities were viewed, as their ideas were very important but they needed to catch up. The outcome of some oversight visits could be predicted in advance, and the DAC was determined to see through the White Paper Review. 80% of the budget of the DAC went to its entities yet some of them could not even come up with any tangible programme productions. The DAC was, however, now in a better space, with a clearer path, and the oversight by the Committee was not wasted; the DAC heard it and would ensure that it responded.
The Chairperson thanked the Minister. She agreed with the Minister that if 80% of the budget went to entities, and these entities failed then that meant the whole Department had failed. What the Minister had said gave her some comfort that he was looking into these problems, as well as others experienced by the DAC, and giving them his full attention.
2014/15 Annual Report of the Department of Arts and Culture: Departmental briefing
Mr Vuyo Jack, Acting Director General, Department of Arts and Culture, presented a strategic overview of the 2014/15 Annual Report, noting that this set out the achievements of the Department, in terms of financial and non-financial performance.
The DAC was organized into eleven programmes for the 2014/15 financial year:
- Outcome 14 Coordination
- White Paper Finalisation
- Mzansi Golden Economy
- Heritage promotion and preservation
- DAC Schools Programme and improving human capacity
- Libraries Conditional Grants
- Cultural Diplomacy Programme
- Language Development
- DAC Entities Governance
- National Days
- National Archives Programme
He provided some brief information on the eleven programmes, including some of the highlights and successes for the programmes for the 2014/15 financial year. The Medium Term Strategic Framework had fourteen outcomes, and the DAC would lead and coordinates Outcome 14: nation building and social cohesion.
The DAC had been revising the 1996 White Paper on Arts Culture and Heritage, and there had been a strong push to complete this by the end of 2015. In Programme 3 – the Mzansi Golden Economy – 87 cultural events had been supported, 41 touring ventures had been supported and the DAC had also implemented 22 public art projects.
Under Programme 4, – Heritage Promotion and Preservation – the Geographical Names Programme entailed the naming of geographical features in South Africa and was part of the process of transforming South Africa’s heritage landscape. Mr Jack expressed regret that no new names had been implemented in 2014/15. However, the DAC had experienced some challenges, such as the court case involving Makhado, where the court ruled in favour of retaining Louis Trichardt as the name.
Another subprogramme was .the Liberation Heritage Route projects, which memorialised events, epochs and people who shaped the country’s history at various stages of development. Some of the highlights of the achievements in the last financial year included the statue of Bhambatha being installed at Greytown on 2 April 2014. In addition, the Sarah Baartman Centre of Remembrance was being built and the DAC had spent about R34 million on that. 56 sculptures had been completed within The National Heritage Monument, and they were installed in Tshwane during Heritage month. The DAC also had the National Symbols Programme to popularise the country’s national symbols. Under the Repatriation programme, three repatriation projects took place. Burials took place on 13 September 2015 in Heroes Acre Cemetery in Chesterville for Nat Nakasa, 14 March 2015 in Pella for Moses Kotane and 22 March 2015 in Ventersdorp for JB Marks. The biggest challenge with the repatriation project was the lack of a coordinated approach with criteria. The Department was busy working on this, to apply coordinated criteria.
Programme 5 was the DAC Schools Programme and improving human capacity. The Flags in School programme sought to create awareness of and popularise the South African flag as one of the national symbols. The DAC also completed the last year of a three year cycle of the Language Bursary Project. Over and above the Artists in Schools Programme, four arts education programmes were implemented jointly with the Department of Basic Education (DBE).
Under Programme 6 – which dealt with libraries conditional grants – 1 676 library staff had been employed, free internet access was provided, and a service for the visually impaired was established at 27 libraries.
Under Programme 8 – Language Development – the DAC approved its language policy before the 2 November 2014 deadline, in compliance with the Use of Official Languages Act No 12 of 2012. Annually, in consultation with expert panels, terminologies would be developed in fields including life orientation, mathematics, arts and culture, and human, social, economic and management sciences. In support of the 2014 elections, specific terminologies were developed in partnership with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).
Programme 10 - National Days - was a priority programme.
Under Programme 11 - the National Archives Programme – the UNESCO World Heritage Day for audio-visual heritage was celebrated on 27 October 2014 and the 11th annual National Oral History Conference was held from 13-17 October 2014, in Johannesburg. The Rivonia Trial Dictabelt Project was well under way and the French L’institut National De L’audiovisuel (INA) had already digitised a number of these dictabelts, while staff at the National Film, Video and Sound Archives (NVFSA) were currently transcribing them to make them accessible to learners.
Some overall achievements recorded by the Department for the 2014/15 financial year included the setting up of the Implementation Forum, chaired by the DAC; compiling and submitting four progress reports to the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME); conducting bilateral meetings with various departments to unlock bottlenecks; meeting 71% of the planned targets; hosting a number of cultural events and festivals; the joint implementation (with the Department of Basic Education) of four arts education programmes; providing 284 bursary opportunities; building 17 new libraries, upgrading 20 existing libraries and purchasing 592 904 items for libraries. The DAC had also hosted two seasons in the International Relations Programme and approved its language policy before 2 November 2014.
Some negative aspects were also outlined. There had been findings of misstatements in the financial statements; findings on non-compliance with regulations; inadequate systems to prevent irregular expenditure; inadequate procurement and contract management systems and findings on predetermined objectives.
In relation to the audit report, the DAC itself had received an unqualified report in the 2014/15 financial year, as compared to the qualified opinion in 2013/14.
A budget and expenditure analysis was then presented. The budget allocation was R3.524 billion and 3.452 billion was spent, leaving a variance of R72.6 million. The balance not spent would be surrendered to the National Reserve Fund. Reviewing the economic classification, Department agencies and accounts (capital) had a variance of about R98.6 million, whilst overall, goods and services had a variance of about R 81.7 million. The variance on compensation of employees was down dramatically from R135 million in 2013/14 to about R765 000 in 2014/15, attributed to the use of contract staff to fill vacant posts.
There was a total of R145 million spent under the conditional grant for the 2014/15 financial year.
For the future, DAC would be mainstreaming social cohesion and nation building. It was also considering how it could spread its projects across the provinces equally and how it could go out proactively to other provinces. Research within the Mzansi Golden Economy Programme found that local audiences made up about 50% and more of audiences. Arts and Culture had a great contribution to make to local economies - for example, the National Arts Festival contributed R138.4 million to the Grahamstown economy, which was just one example of the economic impact of the sector.
DAC started the Art Bank, and it was also building the Mzansi Global Economy.
In 2014/15, 14 000 bursaries were issued, as part of the Artists in Schools programmes. 20 libraries were upgraded.
The DAC was the only department to meet the deadline on the language policy before year end. DAC was continuing to implement Human Language Technology, but this was dependent on availability of high quality digital resources in a particular language. All national days were linked to the theme of 20 years of democracy.
Mr Jack noted that overall about 7 900 jobs were created in the six Performing Arts Institutions. In relation to vacancies, the DAC had used contract staff, which decreased under expenditure, but it was trying not to do this and to make appointments and keep the vacancy rate low.
It had experienced challenges around the Performance Management system. In relation to the audit report, he repeated that in the past DAC audit reports had been qualified but this year, although there was an unqualified report, there were several root causes to deal with. There were perennial problems around inadequate systems to prevent irregular expenditure, and with human resources. DAC did not, however, show a large increase in fruitless and wasteful expenditure in the last financial year, because it was keeping a very tight control on expenditure, for example by not renewing the contracts of consultants whose contracts had expired. Consequence management was being tightened to control expenditure also.
The final budget appropriation was R3.5 billion, but DAC only spent around R3.4 billion, with the main variances on goods and services. He noted that this was concerning because there was a chance that National Treasury would decrease the budget for the following year. One of the reasons for capital underspend was the time taken to approve the design of the libraries, but it was unlikely that rollovers would be approved, and money not utilised would be lost. One of the perennial problems for the DAC had been the lack of consequences for underspend.
Most of the entities had, however, spent fully, except for the Cape Town Works project. However, the entities had, overall, only achieved around 69% of their set targets. The number of entities regressing from unqualified to qualified audits also increased in this year. He pointed out that all museums now had to value their heritage assets, and the main problem with this was that they would have to bring someone in to do the evaluations, although there was no increase in the budget to allow for this.
Mr Mahlangu felt that the DAC was not helping with the repatriation programme. He asked how the DAC had come up with the number of jobs. He asked for time frames to be given to the Committee of when implementation of interventions was expected to happen. He was pleased to note the achievement of targets, but asked what corrective measures had been used to deal with fruitless and wasteful expenditure. He also questioned if the DAC was making payments to suppliers within the requisite 30 days.
The Chairperson asked how the MGE programme had added to the work of the department, as all of the initiatives mentioned were already part of the work of the DAC. She asked if an audit of libraries had been conducted. Further reports were requested on where jobs were created, in which province, and what types of jobs these were. She asked how artists in Limpopo and Eastern Cape would get access to the museums. More details were also requested on the fruitless and wasteful expenditure for work that was not actually realised. In relation to the audit, she commented that if the DAC was not complying with the Generally Recognised Accounting Practice (GRAP) then when would evaluators deal with this. She pointed out that DAC was given a chance to become GRAP compliant, and DAC staff were therefore not doing their jobs in monitoring this.
Mr Grootboom felt that the DAC Annual Report had been well-presented, and it was clear that the Acting Director General knew what was going on, which was encouraging. In regard to the language policy, he said that the DAC's entities were not compliant, and asked how then the DAC could expect to have other departments comply. He particularly noted that the Department of Science and Technology was not compliant.
Mr Grootboom felt that the National Days were failing to build a common South African identity, and said these should not be allowed to turn into ANC events, but should be about South Africa as a whole. If they were about the ANC, they lost the very essence of nation building. He commented that the jobs created by the Mzansi Golden Economy looked good on paper, but questioned how many were actually attainable. He asked if the forensic investigation into the Northern Cape Theatre had been concluded, and what the outcome was.
Mr C Mulder (FF+) agreed with Mr Grootboom that the report was good. He agreed with the Minister that social cohesion and nation building were one of the most important responsibilities of the DAC, but he wanted to know how that could be measured, especially as they were voluntary. This would happen only if all people felt accommodated and appreciated by government, and not made to feel like outsiders. He expressed that leaders could determine social cohesion and nation building in the way that they speak, act and talk to each other. It was important to recognise that South Africans could be united by their nationality, but must not ignore diversity.
He commented that the DAC must develop all national languages to the level that English and Afrikaans were presently. He strongly agreed that people’s dignity was related to the level of their language’s development. He asked if the main problems were inherited or new; if the latter, then this was an indicator that the DAC was in trouble. He commented that one of the first PhD theses written in isiZulu had recently been completed by a student of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, and it was this kind of achievement that raised the level of languages and made people proud. The Department must set the example for the language policy, which it had, but he questioned how far along were other departments in doing so, as he had the impression that some were not taking this seriously.
Mr Mulder asked where the transcripts from the Rivonia Trial would be kept once they had all been transcribed, as it was important that they were accessible to the public.
Mr M Rabotapi asked about the closure of the reconciliation route between Freedom Park and the Voortrekker Monument.
Mr Mahlangu agreed with the Minister regarding the language policy, but wanted to know what route the DAC was going to follow to ensure that all languages were going to be raised to the same level as English and Afrikaans. Reiterating a point that other Members had raised regarding consequence management, he asked what the consequences of irregular expenditure were to be. He was disappointed to hear that there had not been any geographic name changes, and that this must change, especially given the litany of colonialist and apartheid names.
He noted that a budget had been allocated to language development but that the DAC did not indicate which languages would be developed. He wanted to remind the DAC to pay attention to South African Sign Language, which still suffered from lack of development. The DAC and the Committee needed to consider how they could assist in this regard.
Mr Rabotapi commented that in relation to matters of capital expenditure, the Committee got the impression that the Department had a number of loose ends. He felt that the DAC could also intervene in the power outages problem, and surely could make generators available as a gesture of good performance.
Mr Rabotapi was concerned about the privitisation of South Africa's historic inheritance and heritage. The Apartheid Museum was in private hands and the danger of this was that it may be lost to the country if the owners decided to close it. He noted that this was somewhat ironic, since in fact apartheid was state sponsored, whilst this museum was privately owned. The Committee had previously wondered how to salvage this Museum from private ownership. The Nelson Mandela capture site was also privately owned, but it should be state owned and affordable for people to access, also falling under the DAC.
Mr Rabotapi asked how it was possible that entities that seemed to be performing very well had now experienced a backslide.
The Chairperson asserted that it was “criminal” for the DAC not to spend money that had been given to it to serve the people, and urged that officials of the DAC must apply their minds seriously when making decisions. Institutions such as theatres could not be hampered by load shedding in the middle of productions.
She noted that in one of the DAC’s key performance areas, collections, there was a decline. She asked what it meant and how it happened. She also emphasised that educational and outreach programmes were very important because young people needed these outreach programmes.
She asserted that even thought the DAC seemed to be on the periphery of society, it was in fact at the centre of society. She urged that the information in the black booklet that DAC provided to Members should be widely available and translated, repeating that even a rural woman in a far-flung area should be able to read and understand all issues and know what “unauthorised expenditure” meant. DAC would leave the communities behind if it did not supply information to people in their own languages. She commented that there was an Afrikaans Taalmuseum, and an English language museum, but questioned if there were any catering to those who spoke other languages. Language issues must be prioritised by the Committee and Department.
The Minister thanked Members for their questions and contributions. He responded that the DAC had looked into the question of language museums. There was no lack of qualified people to run language museums. The English language museum was situated in a province where the predominant language spoken was isiXhosa, and it was necessary to deliberately promote this language. Although such museums were lacking at the moment, the DAC was doing other things in terms of language development. However, this was an aspect that would be pushed, as it was in everyone's interest.
The Minister noted that government had limited influence in some entities, particularly those such as the Voortrekker Monument and Freedom Park, and if entities were not state owned then it would be difficult for government to comment on or justify their operations.
The Minister commented that the Committee would be making a mistake if it were to view national days outside of the context of the process of reconciliation.
He commented that South Africans should not feel that it was acceptable to deface a statue, even if a person felt that the statue did not represent his own ideals. He was hoping for the day when everyone, across all colour lines, would agree that this was wrong. This had started with the defacing of the statue of King Tswana, which South Africans did not condemn, and they should. South Africa was rather different from countries like Mozambique, where the Portuguese were direct colonisers, for it had a rather different past. South Africa was characterised by a special type of colonialism. There was a need for a particular, unique and special way of dealing with the challenges. In 1955, the Charter asserted that South Africa belonged to all who lived in it, black and white, and everyone should be working in line with that, as all people owed this to themselves and posterity, and taking an honest and frank journey.
Mr Mulder agreed with 80% of what the Minister had said, particularly with regard to statues being defaced. He thought that it was to the benefit of both institutions for the Voortrekker Monument and Freedom Park to work together, as there were more visitors to the Monument than there were to Freedom Park.
The Chairperson thanked the Minister and said that he had provided the committee with food for thought. She hoped that the Minister would give the Committee more of his time so that they could raise issues with him, since at the end of the day, their discussions would benefit the people that the Committee served.
Officials from the DAC then responded to the questions asked earlier.
It was noted that 90 jobs were created across all provinces, but the breakdown was not available at the meeting. There was not actually an audit, but a verification exercise; the DAC verified the information that was provided by the provinces. There were huge demands for library material and more than 500 000 library materials were bought. In relation to skills and training of librarians, there were three provinces that provided bursaries for training and throughout the year, the libraries provided informal training. In relation to the national archivist, the DAC had been interviewing candidates and had selected and made an offer to one candidate, who would hopefully accept the post.
The Chairperson asked if the Department operated on anticipation, and asked if they understood what its input was to be.
The DAC official responded that where heritage was held in private hands, it was protected through SAHRA and the state therefore needed to buy these heritage items back. However, there was another protective mechanism, controlled by SAHRA, that prevented important artefacts from leaving the country.
More research and a report would have to be done in relation to the library upgrade in the Northern Cape.
Ms Newton also said that the DAC would have to check on and revert with more information on the MGE job creation figures; most of the jobs would be temporary.
In relation to the Art Bank, she said that artists derived revenue directly from the purchasing power of the Art Bank. DAC shared that information so that it could get as wide a response, even outside the province as possible. Once the programme was up and running, the first call for artists would go out next year.
Ms Mogotsi emphasised that the Committee needed to monitor what the Department was doing.
Mr Grootboom asked if the MGE programme was currently operational.
Ms Newton replied that the Mzansi Golden Market was largely an internal project at the moment.
In regard to the decreasing number of translations,it was pointed out that the number of documents that the DAC translated depends on how many documents it had received from government. However the DAC realised that it needed to market the translation service that it provided. It was conceded that the uptake of the language policy had been slow across government, and there were only 15 departments that had a language policy,
The Chairperson asked on what basis bursaries were being awarded.
Mr Grootboom said that the Foundation needed some serious investigation.
Another question was raised on the Artists in Schools project, for a number of those involved had no formal education; how then would the Department monitor and evaluate what was happening.
Ms Mogotsi asked if the contracts had been concluded.
Ms Newton replied that there were still a few projects where the payment of artists was outstanding and the DAC would need to rethink how these programmes were implemented.
Ms Mogotsi was alarmed that artists were not being paid, and asked how the DAC was going to deal with that.
The officials said that there were issues relating to finances and the implementation of the standards of GRAP 103. The DAC should have taken a more active role and done more in that regard. However, it was not given enough time or money to comply with the standards of GRAP 103, as National Treasury had said that there would be no increase in the budget, and therefore it put out a bid for implementation, because it also had other challenges, including not having a Chief Financial Officer at this time. This was something that the DAC was taking seriously. There was not always a correlation between differences and under-expenditure.
The Chief Financial Officer, DAC, said that the Standing Committee on Public Accounts was busy with an investigation but that should be finalised within the next couple of months. It related to the 2011/12 financial year.
The Chairperson said that it was unacceptable that this was an issue from 2011/12 that had still not been resolved.
The DAC responded that it was aware of the long time taken in resolving the issue, but pointed out that such investigations often were lengthy.
The Chairperson asked for comment on the fact that the irregular expenditure in entities was rising dramatically.
Ms Mogotsi said that the 7.17% quoted was not an actual reflection of the vacancies.
Mr Makhona said that money that was recovered did not appear in the annual report.
The Chairperson noted that the Committee was now repeating issues raised before, and should not have to do this.
Briefing on Robben Island Museum (RIM).
Ms Newton noted that the Robben Island Museum (RIM) was one of the entities of the DAC that was showing a surplus. The number of management meetings had dropped dramatically from 2012/13 to 2015/16. Income had increased from to R93.7 million. It was spending well, so National Treasury would not be recovering money from it, and it had had two consecutive clean reports.
The Chairperson congratulated the Robben Island Museum (RIM) management for having performed well but cautioned that it must be careful not to regress. She recognised that it was working under very difficult circumstances, but “only the best is good enough”.
The Chairperson of the Heritage Committee, RIM, noted that various members of the RIM Council were present but apologised that the Chairperson had been unable to attend.
Mr Sibongiseni Mkhize, Chief Executive Officer, Robben Island Museum, said that Rim should be funded as a world heritage site. It was concerned that the narrative from tour guides was not consistent and coherent. Another issue was that the story of women in the struggle was not being acknowledged in these narratives. RIM also acknowledged that it should be digitising information.
RIM was still committed to a holistic narrative. There were also attempts to supply green energy on the island and discussions had already been initiated in this regard. MOUs had already been created. A further concern, however, was that in relation to the state of conservation report, RIM was falling behind on the promises to UNESCO.
The Chairperson said that she hoped that the dialogue between the DAC and Robben Island Museum would continue. She also wanted to see continuity in the way that it operated, so that when there was a hand over it was proper and seamless, and nobody would be affected badly by the change.
Mr Grootboom asserted that Robben Island should not be governed by sentiment. He also asked
what the relationship was between Robben Island and the City of Cape Town?
A council member of RIM said that if a candidate were to be found, the handover would not need to be protracted. RIM was also establishing relationships with other heritage sites on the Continent. Maintenance was also important, RIM obviously could not let things collapse if it has the means to prevent that from happening.
Iziko Museum Annual Report 2014/15.
Ms Monica Newton noted that in regard to Iziko Museum, 75% of the performance outcomes were achieved. In terms of income, looking back over the past three years, Iziko’s revenue base was now considerably smaller. The number of committee meetings varied between four and three per year, management meetings increased from five to eight and staff meetings from two to ten.
Ms Rooksana Omar, Chief Executive Officer, Iziko Museums of South Africa noted that one of the highlights of the past year was having 41 000 people take part in the free admission to attend the Museum on commemorative days. Iziko also gave away concessions of R1.7 million. Iziko had 21 innovative temporary exhibitions catering to a variety of audiences. It also had 21 thousand learners access its educational visits and resources. Iziko had also offered about 138 000 activities through its education programme.
Dr Rogers Smith, the current paleontologist, had recently been awarded an A rating,and he was the only A rated museum worker in SA at the moment, so that was a huge accomplishment for Iziko, indicating that his research was globally recognised. Iziko had four doctoral associates and it was making its connections work. It also produced 34 peer reviewed publications, meaning that the academic community acknowledged the kind of work that it was doing.
She noted that conservation was an area in which Iziko needed to focus on developing people. This area needed a huge amount of funding and development and Iziko would ideally like to become a hub where conservation was actually taught to people. Iziko was also participating with universities in this regard.
38 of its partnerships contributed to income, and Iziko generated its own self-generated income of R12.9 million. Iziko also had volunteer workers who helped to facilitate a number of different courses. Iziko hosted a number of internships, with 69 people, of varying durations. These were work integrated learning programmes, through which Iziko allowed people to come into the institution and learn about heritage. Another of its projects was the Meaningful Access Programme, especially for people with disabilities. It had had unqualified audits for more than a decade and last year also received a clean audit report.
Ms Omar said that she had anticipated that the Committee would ask her what Iziko had done in the last three years. She had started up a process with an accounting firm to evaluate what was going on. Iziko had tried to lobby the National Treasury to give it a little more time, but in the interim she had gone out and found a service provider to describe how much it would cost to become GRAP compliant.
The Iziko statement of annual funding was also tabled. While she did not go into the details of the funding that was tabled, she did note that she was not sure how it was going to read this year. The Museum's government grant from the DAC represented the largest part of its income. In relation to funding for capital works, 16% represented own income which it generated itself through things like professional museum services. Its operating expenditures decreased by 1%, from R86 million to 85 million. Iziko started a process with an accounting firm and from the Accounting Authority’s Report, it was clear that there was an increase in the post-retirement medical aid deficit, and the Museum was looking into that.
Ms Omar provided a brief overview of the financial position, and the issues faced by the pubic entity. She noted that there was a lack of financial resources, despite raising about 17% of its own funding. Iziko did not have contemporary art works of contemporary South Africa. There was a deficit of R1.2 million. This was outlined in the annual report. The Museum needed to upgrade the Planetarium; particularly given that a number of young people derived great benefit from the Planetarium. She noted that the museum also needed to get new acquisitions.
Iziko was currently restructuring, and needed to align its finances, among various other things. Hopefully Iziko could present the restructured process to the Committee in November. Iziko continued to consider fund raising opportunities.
The Chairperson thanked Iziko, noting that the presentation was artistic. She said that there needed to be more dialogue, between the DAC and the Committee. The Committee had discussed how it could assist the entities on GRAP 103, to help ease the pressure on them. She asked the DAC if there was anything that the Committee could do in this regard, as the Committee realized that the Department was not getting enough funding.
Mr Mahlangu said that the Committee had been planning to approach National Treasury, but if the entity was going to do so itself, then the Committee would not need to do so. He therefore asked the entity to keep the Committee posted on this matter.
Ms Matshobeni was concerned about the neglect of the heritage of local communities. She asked how children from working class backgrounds were going to get to the museum. She also wanted to know how people who did not speak English were accommodated?
Ms Omar responded that Iziko had a partnership between itself and local bus companies to take children from rural communities to the museum.
Mr Grootboom said that the spending of museums in the report did not seem correct.
The Chairperson agreed that Mr Grootboom was correct in his concern. It was a great pity that the Committee did not have sufficient time to engage with Iziko for longer, but since the Museum was a short walk from Parliament, she would walk there to ask the questions that she still had. She said that the Committee recognised that the entity was working hard and thanked it for this and she encouraged it to continue doing good work. She said that although the Committee had to oversee the DAC, the Members were also here to support the DAC and its staff. She reiterated once again that everything that the Committee did, it did for the people that its Members served.
The meeting was adjourned
- Department of Arts and Culture, Robben Island Museum & Iziko Museum on their 2014/2015 Annual Report; Audit outcomes by Auditor-General 2
- Department of Arts and Culture, Robben Island Museum & Iziko Museum on their 2014/2015 Annual Report; Audit outcomes by Auditor-General 1
- Department of Arts and Culture, Robben Island Museum & Iziko Museum on their 2014/2015 Annual Report; Audit outcomes by Auditor-General 3
- Public Entities presentation
- Robben Island Museum: DAC presention
- Robben Island Museum 2014/15 Annual Report
- Department of Arts and Culture 2014/15 Annual Report
- Department of Arts and Culture 2014/15 Annual Report presentation
- Iziko Museum 2014/15 Annual Report
- Iziko Museum Performance Overview
- Iziko Museum 2014/15 Annual Report presentation
- Audit outcomes by Auditor-General
- PFMA audit outcomes of the 2014-15 financial year
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