National Heritage Council & National Film and Video Foundation on their 2016 Annual Performance Plans

Arts and Culture

19 April 2016
Chairperson: Ms X Tom (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

Strategic & Annual Performance Plans
National Film and Video Foundation Annual Performance Plan 2016/17
National Heritage Council Annual Performance Plan 2016/17
National Heritage Council Strategic Plan 2016/17 and 2019/20

The National Heritage Council and National Film and Video Foundation presented the highlights of their previous work, their challenges and their plans for 2016/17.

The Portfolio Committee was disappointed in their meeting with the National Heritage Council (NHC) after the whole discussion was spent resolving why two different versions of their Annual Performance Plan (APP) was sent to the Committee. The NHC explained that this was due to it not checking the copies received from the printers. The Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) – whom the NHC reports to - committed to dealing with the problem before 10 May. They will write to the Speaker to withdraw the shorter, incorrect version of the APP so that the Committee is only left with one document.

On the matter of outstanding action regarding the recommendations of a forensic audit report, the NHC said the council has difficulties in dealing with the matter as it happened during the term of a council two terms prior to the current one.  The conclusion was reached that the NHC will come back to the Committee after its discussions with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and reporting to the Minister.

A case of fraud was discussed with the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF). That case was now being investigated by SAPS and the alleged fraudster resigned after she was put on suspension – without receiving her pension.  The Minister received a complaint from a bursary applicant regarding the turnaround time of appeals for failed applications and the NVFV said the particular applicant has already been funded more than four times.

The Committee asked if film commissions can be established in all the provinces to which the NFVF answered that it was very difficult for them as this mandate falls under different departments (such as Arts and Culture, Tourism or  Economic Development) in the various provinces but they are working on this in Limpopo and North West, which means there would be four provincial film commissions by the end of 2016/17. They were planning road shows to develop knowledge about the art of filmmaking for youth. Its first public screening project was also underway – the screening of relevant films during Youth month. There was much excitement about “Happiness is a four letter word” a locally produced movie and box office hit.


Meeting report

The Chairperson said that instead of the best and worst performing entities, they have decided to call entities with whom they have issues and challenges, some of which are in the public eye. She encouraged the NHC to be honest and said that the issue to be raised should not be taken personally.  She handed over to the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) to give an overview of what the National Heritage Council is about.

National Heritage Council 2016 Annual Performance Plan
Ms Kelebogile Sethibelo, DAC Deputy Director General: Institutional Governance, said that they acknowledge that have had challenges and said they have appointed two new deputy directors to help with that. She first gave an overview of how the NHC is aligned in its goals to the DAC. She was happy to say that 23 community heritage projects have been supported and funded. Within the area of Ministerial Priorities the NHC felt pleased that it was doing its bit to promote a culture of reading (a magazine was published and distributed) and progress was also made with the Liberation Heritage Route (30% of identified sites on the revised tentative list are researched annually).

In their performance overview, the NHC has an 85% achievement figure and they still have a surplus of about R10 million in their income and expenditure trends figure. The audit outcome is – as with the past three years – unqualified with findings. One of the challenges was that of irregular attendance by council members at their committee meetings (only 60% attendance figure).

Before giving over to the NHC Chairperson, the CFO, Mr Zweli Mathebula, asked to make a few remarks in order to contextualise their situation. He pleaded for heritage to not be seen as a soft target when there are fiscal constraints. South African society’s genius and coherence as well as the conflict from its legacy is still with us. He noted that at a recent Indaba it was observed that their mandate is a very broad one and that some activities are, as they are a young council, not sustainable. He said they are trying to get their act in order as the non-functioning of NHC committees was detrimental and they are now addressing that.

NHC Chairperson, Mr Malusi Balintulo, assured members that the somewhat controversial, vision – “A nation proud of its African Heritage” includes all who live in South Africa. He said that it is heritage - and not sport - that resides within people. He said they are planning an impact study to see how South Africans are feeling about their heritage.

As far as aligning with the DAC’s strategic objective of using national days as a platform for promoting constitutional values, nation building and social cohesion, the NHC has implemented a number of initiatives such as the South African Traditional Music Achievement Awards (SATMA) and the Ubuntu Awards. They were also proud that within their organisation they had a receptionist that became a heritage expert and a driver that also qualified through employee wellness programs. He said these employees now have skills for the nation.  

Regarding the Ministerial priority areas, NHC is happy that the idea they invented – the Liberation Heritage Route – was mentioned in the State of the Nation Address. The NHC will soon be cascading the relevant policies into a plan of action for the route. NHC’s other priorities are:
- Nation building and social cohesion: Are we still the Rainbow Nation?
- Focus on Africa: An exchange between heritage experts in Africa
- Promotion of languages: To go beyond the protection of languages, to the development of languages. A pilot programme is underway in Limpopo
- Arts and Culture Development (Mzansi Economy)
- Promote Community Arts
- Libraries: South Africans are coming up with important research (such as the Wars of Dispossession)
- Arts Education
- Skills audit
- Reporting and compliance.

The NHC produced a publication titled “Critical Reflections on Heritage” which focuses on the conflict of competing interests between conservation and economic beneficiation. As an example he noted the Sanlam Building, at 44 Strand Street, Port Elizabeth, the house where Steve Biko was tortured before his death, is in private hands that put a price of R80 million on  the building.  He said it was great what has happened in Vilakazi Street, Soweto, but that there needs to be more like that.

Regarding the matter of heritage in private hands, the NHC is focussing on the question of Best Model of Management: Private versus Public Ownership, to see what should happen to neglected privately owned objects of historic significance and with monuments, memorials and statues. The focus is on searching for the best model through comparative studies and relevance of old models in the new dispensation.

In closing Mr Balintulo said their biggest challenge is the new regulations passed by the Department of Trade and Industry (the Dti) that are limiting them from receiving or benefiting from funding residing within the National Lottery Commission. He said that fundraising for Arts, Culture and Heritage - outside government allocations - in the midst of austerity measures and global financial meltdown, is almost impossible. According to him this may lead to the detriment of heritage projects. 

The Chairperson thanked the NHC for their presentation and said that the Committee sees their passion. She said they need their questions answered because MPs get asked question too that they need to answer.

Ms V Mogotsi (ANC) showed the Chairperson two separate documents, one with 21 pages and one with 44 pages. She asked what they are going to do about that and added that the document is out in the public domain.

The Chairperson asked for an explanation about the two documents.

Mr Tembile Yako, Executive Manager, Office of the CEO, said that the one with 44 pages is the correct one.

The Chairperson asked if they can explain the other document. How had they ended up with two different versions?

Ms Mogotsi asked where the organisational structure was in the document with the 44 pages.

Mr Yako noted that the NHC structure is on page 35. He said what happened was a production error. NHC took them from the supplier to Parliament in a box. They were assured that the documents in the box were the same as the one they were given to proof read.

Mr Zweli Mathebula, NHC CFO, said that they had a longer version but then they heard that it needed to be shortened. They heard the previous Thursday that they needed to shorten the presentation. The longer one was then already at Parliament. They then extracted a shorter document from the longer document.

The Chairperson said she heard him, but that the issue is the Annual Performance Plan and not the presentation. She said they always say that the NHC need to quality check any document that comes out of their office because the minute it lands on the desk of the Portfolio Committee, it is a public document. Now the public would have two versions of their APP and which is the right one? She reiterated that it was important to not take documents straight from the printers. They need to quality check their documents as they do not know what is in the documents they get from the printers. She said the issue of quality checking is important. They can never justify having two documents in Parliament.

Mr Mathebula apologized, saying they will ensure this next time but that the content is in both documents.

The Chairperson said that the content cannot be the same.

Mr T Makondo (ANC) said that content is not the same. The only thing that is the same is the picture and the signatures.

The Chairperson explained that when a member gets a document that does not have all the information, it is a serious problem because it impedes the member from doing what the member is supposed to do. She said that it is important that they go through the documents.

Ms S Tsoleli (ANC) said she has both documents with her and it is not the same.

The Chairperson said that the DAC has made a confession that they have not seen the AAP’s of all their entities and that they should sit down and look at the entities.

Ms Sethibelo of the DAC explained that of the three documents, the one is an extract from the other.

The Chairperson said she was out of order. The Committee members have shown the different APPs. They do not need to justify it and they made a terrible mistake that they must go and rectify.

Ms Mogotsi said she does not have a PhD but she can read and the documents are not the same.

The Chairperson wanted to proceed and said it was Mr Grootboom’s turn to comment.

Ms Tsoleli said they want to be guided because even the committee researcher had the shorter version of the document and she was unsure how they must proceed.  She asked for guidance from the Chairperson.

The Chairperson said she thought she has done that and they will be using the correct APP because they do not have much time. She said the Department has failed dismally when they admitted that they did not look at the entities APP’s. She proposed that they look at the presentation and the 44 page APP and ask questions.

Ms Tsoleli said the APP is what guides them and she asked how they must adopt the APP as a true document to be used in this financial year.

The Chairperson thanked her.

Ms Mogotsi said she will not participate because she was denied the right document.

The Chairperson asked if there was anyone else who wanted to participate in the discussion. When there was none, she said that what should happen now is that the DAC should ensure that they deal with the matter before 10 May. They must write to the Speaker to withdraw the shorter, wrong version of the document so that the Committee is only left with one document to deal with. She said they will take their word but that it has to be done officially and before the end of the day if possible.

She then asked if they can ask questions about the forensic audit as it is an issue outside the APP.

Ms Sethibelo said they would do that.

The Chairperson asked again about the forensic audit.

Ms Sethibelo said the forensic audit report was handed over to the NHC chairperson.

The NHC Chairperson, Mr Balintulo, said as a “newish” council they have difficulties dealing with this matter because it goes back two councils before them. He said their first interaction with it was in a letter from the Minister after they have just taken office. The Minister was enquiring about what happened to the recommendations of the report. But they did not have the report. They tried to research it in the minutes of the previous council, but there was very little on it. They responded to the Minister saying that their predecessors did not see it fit to follow the matter up. They emphasised “corrective measures” to avoid reoccurrence. It is still an unresolved matter, but the council finally got the executive summary and recommendations of the report in March 2016 and because the matter was referred to the NPA already they will now be corresponding with the NPA. He said at their next meeting on 26 April 2016, they will discuss the information they have at hand and finalize a report to the Minister.

Mr Makondo said that they have been awaiting this report and the actions thereof. He asked if they will, with their meetings and interaction with the Minister, also brief the Committee.

Mr Balintulo said that they are willing if it is procedural and he presumed that it will have to come through the Department.

The Chairperson said that the Committee can even summon them to come.

Mr Balintulo said they would oblige.

The Chairperson thanked the NHC chairperson. She said that it was things like that, that discourage the Committee because they do not have enough time and if they cannot make use of the time they have and be effective, the Committee does not take kindly to that. She said it was a pity that the NHC had this mishap. She asked them to do their best to get the right document to them before the end of the week. She emphasized quality checking again.  She said that it is a little thing that destroys the good work that they do.

Ms Nandi Madiba, NHC Audit and Risk Committee member, commented about the outstanding report. She said she is not a member of the Council but independent. Section 77 of the Financial Markets Act allows for the establishment of audit committees for the purpose of ensuring effective compliance. She said that if such a report starts “running around” they cannot make the advice effective within the council. She said the Auditor-General’s findings are managed by the Audit and Risk Committee to resolve and clear them and she suggested that they test the effectiveness of this protocol.

The Chairperson thanked her and said that they did have a meeting with the Department’s Audit Committee and that they are hoping that the Department will strengthen the relationship with the NHC Audit Committee.  She thanked them.

The NHC was invited to stay on for the engagement with NFVF. The Chairperson said it would be good for “cross pollination” of ideas.  

The Chairperson repeated what was said earlier – that the Committee used to invite the best and worst performing entities but that now they invite the entities who have challenges. She assured the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) that they are doing well - but that their challenges are in the public domain and that it should be discussed. She told the NFVF that they were there to convince them about their budget needs so that the Committee can convince Parliament. She asked that they be told what is happening in each province and when there will be submissions so that they can monitor that.

National Film and Video Foundation 2016 Annual Performance Plan
Ms Sethibelo, DAC Deputy Director General, led the presentation firstly to assure the Committee that the NFVF is aligning with DAC Strategic Goal Objectives and secondly to assure them that the Minister’s key points are getting attention. In that regard she remarked that the NFVF will fund the development and production of films that will mark the 40th anniversary of the Soweto Uprising and the 60th anniversary of the Women’s March and that a call has been issued for such films. This is in line with the Minister’s objective of nation building and social cohesion. As far as the focus on Africa goes the NFVF funds films that are about the continent such as “Wizard of Zim”. She also noted the following:
- The Liberation Heritage Route: Funding of stories that promote our heritage such as Spirit of the Karoo
- Promotion of Languages: Funding of indigenous language films
- Arts and Culture Development (Mzansi Economy): Fund 66 projects in development and 38 in production
- Promote Community Arts: Film Centre infrastructure project (planning phase underway)
- Libraries: Film libraries included in the Film Centre project
- Arts Education: 60 bursaries awarded to learners to study the art of filmmaking and road shows to develop audiences around the country.
In their performance overview,  NFVF has a 72% achievement figure and again a clean audit.

The challenges they face is the flouting of NFVF’s systems and processes pertaining to bursary administration. The matter has been handed over to the South African Police Services (SAPS). Also, two complaints were lodged with the Department about the administration of funding and turnaround times. The council will be instructed to ensure that turnaround times on appeals are observed. As far as the second complaint, the DAC is looking at the possibility of appointing independent assessors with knowledge of the film and video industry.

The NFVF chairperson, Ms Mmabatho Ramagoshi, said that – taking into account their budget - they find their mandate cumbersome and mentioned that there are other entities (the Dti’s Film Incentives) that are also supporting film – but with bigger budgets. Another challenge was a platform for the showing of the films made. On the matter of the fraud case that the Committee was aware off, the accused was no longer with the NFVF and the CFO was given the responsibility of opening a case with the SAPS.

She said that they cannot fund everyone who appeals after not receiving funding and she revealed that the complainant to the Minister had in fact been funded more than four previous times.

She explained that NFVF wants to follow a three-tier structure as far as their funding distribution goes and that they want to fund new filmmakers first because those who have been in the industry for a while are able to find alternative funding more easily.

NFVF Chief Executive Officer, Ms Zamantungwa Mkosi, highlighted their human capital development and said they offered in-house training for scriptwriters and producers. Their bursary programme is still successful and they funded 64 local and 6 international bursaries in 2015/16. They have a project where about 80 interns will be placed at various broadcasters and production companies across the country.  The Enterprise Development Programme has supported four black owned production companies over a three year period and from this came films such as “Ayanda” and “Happiness is a four letter word”.

Ms Mkosi was also proud that through the NFVF, 24 women and 24 youth are now filmmakers. As far as audience development goes, they are funding local film festivals and other platforms and supporting old festivals such as the Durban International Film Festival and the Sol Plaatjie event in the Northern Cape. She said they wanted to place a greater emphasis on treaty activations with BRICS countries and they want to organise public screenings of relevant films and will do so – during the coming Youth Month. She said they fully appreciate the resources they do get and are driving towards partnering with provinces.

The Chairperson thanked them and gave an opportunity for members to asked questions.

Mr Makondo asked how far they were with the issue of bursary fraud. He wanted to know if the NVFV took internal control of the matter.  He noted that in the APP the targets do not tally with what they budgeted for.  As an example he mentioned the number of film festivals and bursaries. He asked if it was a typing error.  He asked why the training budget keeps decreasing when it is a strategic goal. Why do they have a surplus? As a further concern he mentioned that there are not many black people in the fields of screenwriting, producing and directing. He asked why R24 million was set aside for a performance management system. He asked where the schools in Limpopo were that they referred to. He said the vacancy rate did not tally with APP.

The Chairperson said that they are interested to know if the incident of fraud mentioned was the only one.

Ms Tsoleli asked if the DAC guides the entities the same way regarding the development of the APPs. She said that some items are in the NHC APP that are not in the NFVF APP. She said that the presentation is good and congratulated them on a clean audit for the last 10 years. She asked if there were schools in the Free State. She asked if they have a relationship with the Market Theatre and what that was. She thanked them for the gifts and just wanted to make sure it was budgeted for.  

Ms Mogotsi said the issue of bursaries takes them to education and training and recent Stats SA statistics show that education and training is the worst in Eastern Cape and Limpopo. She asked if there was any possibility of vocational training to assist those provinces. She asked for clarity on why there were 27 full time employees in the strategic planning document and 38 in the organisational structure of the APP. She thanked NFVF for the gift and said the film “Happiness is a Four Letter word” is very good and professionally done.

The Chairperson said this shows how they are related to the DAC.

Mr G Grootboom (DA) asked if NFVF is planning to reduce their reliance on consultants. On business development, he asked why the different categories were not mentioned in both documents? He asked why they did not mention what policies they were working on. What is their relationship with international film companies? Does NFVF have a relationship with the Cape Film Commission (CFC), the KwaZulu Natal Film Commission and what is their current relationship with the SA Film Commission?  He asked what happened to the person involved with fraud activities and whether the person was suspended with full pay.

The Chairperson also asked why the budget on skills training was reduced if it was a priority. She stressed that they must realize it is not about them, but about the people and asked for a “picture” of what happens when they get together with related international entities and stakeholders and who benefits. She said they were interested to know where the projects held and hosted by the NFVF, are. She asked for clarity on who the receivers of bursaries are and if they were from all provinces. She asked what they based their targets on. She said it was important for them to be able to motivate for their budget.

Ms Mogotsi’s last question was whether there will be any gain from “Happiness is a four letter word”

Ms Sethibelo replied that there are guidelines for the APP from National Treasury. She said they were rushed because after receiving the APP they have to subject it to their internal audit and risk management faculty and she said they did not plan well for that.

The Chairperson said they were not rushed and that they delayed to do their work because the Department knows in advance when they needed to do what.

Ms Ramagoshi, NFVF chairperson, replied about the alleged fraudster. She said that after they got the letter from the Portfolio Committee, NFVF management investigated and the manager was immediately put on suspension. The manager then resigned. However, the NFVF did not stop with the forensic audit. The report from the forensic audit was that they should open a case with the police which they did. They also did not give the former manager all her money.

Mr Makondo said there were a number of cases of institutions taking cases similar to this to the police and subsequently to court. When in court, that person is not found guilty. There is a particular timeframe in which the institution can deal with the person and if you just leave the matter, the person can run to the Labour Court. He said there must be consequences within the institution.

Ms Ramagoshi said the alleged fraudster was put on suspension and when she resigned, they received legal advice to not give her all that is due to her.

In response to Mr Makondo asking when she resigned, Ms Ramagoshi said she resigned in November.

Ms Tsoleli asked if the alleged fraudster received any of her pension money and Ms Mkosi replied that they did not give her anything.

The Chairperson asked the NVFV chairperson next time to give the full details the first time she speaks.  

Ms Mkosi explained the seeming decrease in the training budget. She said the higher figure is because of their partnership with the Skills Education Training Authority (SETA). Their own budget only allows for the figure they mentioned but when they partner again with SETA, it will be higher. On their relationship with other institutions, she said it was “work in progress”. They are looking into a partnership with libraries especially after libraries received computers from the Gates Foundation because that is in line with their objective of online applications. They have good partnership with the KZN Film Commission and the Western Cape's Tourism, Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Wesgro). Their relationship with the CFC and the SA Film Commission is under strain because they did not want to fall under their national guidance. The CFC closed its doors and an agreement was reached between them that they can use the name “SA Film Commission”. She said CFC posed itself – in competition with the NFVF – as the national representatives of South Africa also overseas. They are working together with the SETA to take over some of the CFC’s previous interns.

Mr Grootboom wanted to know how Westgro relates to filming.

Ms Mkosi replied that in the province of the Western Cape, the mandate falls under Westgro.

The Chairperson asked if efforts are being made in provinces where there are no film commissions.

Ms Ramagoshi said that the issue was a challenge for them. She said that in the different provinces the film commissions reside under different mandates such as Arts and Culture or Tourism or Economic Development and the fact that they are not all under Arts and Culture, makes it difficult.

Mr George Leolo, NFVF Deputy Chairperson, said they met with the MEC of Economic Development in Limpopo three weeks ago and that want to expedite the commission there. He said they will have a meeting with North West to establish a film commission there and by the end of 2016/17 there will be at least four such commissions.

Ms Karen Son, NFVF Chief Financial Officer, replied that the consultants relate to their internal audit function which is completely outsourced. Regarding their organisational structure, they had challenges in the past in terms of vacancies of two of their HODs but that both of them were appointed on 1 April 2016 and that four new positions were also filled, one where they had a challenge with distribution. The other challenge is the extreme increase in the applications they receive for projects and the NVFV needed to introduce a unit to deal with that. In the Production and Development department, a very skilled unique resource was needed and they had to increase the salaries.

Ms Mogotsi asked if one is allowed to hold someone’s pension back.

Mr Grootboom asked for clarification on the “audit committee meetings” in the document and if that was the outsourced consultants. He asked about the turnaround time of funding to projects.

Mr Leolo replied that the internal audit is actually the work by the auditors, which is the external company that audits them. In terms of bursaries, they issue a call and that part of their own critique is that their bursaries usually go to people from Gauteng, the Western Cape and KwaZulu Natal. He said they recently received funding again and with that they are going to fund the 10 best students in all of the provinces.

Another member of the NVFV dealt with the question of South Africa receiving a lot of international film attention.  He said that it was a function of their “international activation” and that from production companies going to location expos, a film such as “Avengers” was shot in Johannesburg. Even though it is only six minutes in the movie, two weeks were spent here and it served the city well with US dollars spent.  He said that that was one of the benefits of going to international festivals. Also, they have co-production treaties with other countries such as Germany and that is part of the effort of finding alternative avenues for funding. Around distribution, he said that it was important to note that film making has business viability. “Happiness is a four letter word” is once again an example of how money can be made not only in South Africa but also internationally. He said transformation was a journey and that they focus on development and that is the reason they are having road shows – as not everyone has access to the internet and film schools to gain knowledge of how to write and produce a good story. He then explained the process of funding within the NVFV. He said that “Happiness is a four letter word” will make money for the woman who made the movie and her brand and that that will make her a good investment. 

Ms Ramagoshi said they have challenge with public institutions teaching more theory than practical and that most kids want to go to private film schools because the kids see that that is where they get a job straight after graduating.

Ms Mkosi said the school that they are supporting is the Limpopo Film and Television School in Polokwane.

The Chairperson said they will give that school a visit. She urged the NFVF to have a pilot programme in each province where young people can engage with these skills. She said that they can be able to create champions to break the cycle of poverty. She said that it lies with Arts and Culture to transform society.

The meeting was adjourned.


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