Department of Arts and Culture audit: Auditor General briefing, with Minister present; Nelson Mandela Museum status report
Arts and Culture
11 October 2016
Chairperson: Ms X Tom (ANC)
The Portfolio Committee met with the Auditor General and the Minister to receive feedback on the Department of Arts and Culture’s audit outcomes and its entities. The Committee later met with the Nelson Mandela Museum to discuss the state of affairs at the Museum.
Seven entities received clean audit outcomes, seven entities received unqualified with findings outcome, eleven entities received qualified outcomes with findings and two entities received disclaimed opinion outcomes with findings. There has been an overall regression within the portfolio with six entities having regressed, 3 improved entities and 18 entities whose findings were unchanged. Members expressed that GRAP 103 had impacted the overall audit outcomes of the Arts and Culture Portfolio.
Minister Nathi Mthethwa commented that the visit of the Portfolio Committee to the Nelson Mandela Museum raised strong matters, the issue there was basically an issue of leadership and instability and it was important that that area of leadership was dealt with. The Minister mentioned that they had not found a credible Director General candidate even after the interviews and the selection process had been done and so the process of appointing a Director General was still ongoing. He assured the Committee that the position would be filled by the end of the year.
Committee Members invited the Office of the Auditor General to sometimes visit one of the meetings and listen to the Members in their attempt to deal with matters highlighted by the Office of the Auditor General. The job of the Committee was to make sure that entities performed well and that was what they intended to do. The Nelson Mandela Museum had been invited to the meeting because the Portfolio Committee was not pleased with the entity’s performance. The Committee had been to the Museum thrice; they visited the Museum in Mthatha three weeks ago and were not pleased. The Committee believed the Museum would improve and have an ‘unqualified with no findings’ audit outcome and if the officials failed to achieve that outcome, the Committee would not beg them but would request that they leave the institution or they would have to fire themselves.
Members were not pleased with the audit outcomes of the Nelson Mandela Museum and mentioned that it seems as if they had become worse. Members further expressed concern on the presentation that the Acting Director General gave because it differed from the one that he read from. Members requested his version of the presentation be sent to them as soon as possible. The Nelson Mandela Museum was still faced with the Chief Executive Officer challenge where a great part of the Council’s office term was spent dealing with the matter of a poor performing Chief Executive Officer. The reason for the delay in appointing a new Chief Executive Officer was partly because of the difficulty of removing a civil servant and the council argued that it would rather have a delay than hire someone who was not fully suitable for the position.
It was mentioned that it was important that communication between councillors and other staff members should be improved. The Chairperson mentioned that the Nelson Mandela museum needed to be at a level that it was supposed to be and follow in the footsteps of Dr Nelson Mandela’s excellence and that was non-negotiable. The poor attendance of the council members to the meetings with the Portfolio Committees when visiting the Nelson Mandela Museum was unacceptable because matters being raised in Parliament were issues that could have been discussed with the Council in Mthatha at the Museum and together with the Portfolio Committee come up with ways to try and solve them.
Members expressed concern on the restructuring project that was done at the Nelson Mandela Museum where the organisational structure was flattened from 45 positions to 26 positions with 10 managers. The Council assured the Committee that no staff member was retrenched or fired during the restructuring process.
The Committee suggested that the museum increase its security measures because most of the time the artefacts were stolen by staff members and not ordinary robbers who were not aware of the real value of the art piece. The Council took note of the comments made by the Committee and said they would work on them.
Mr J Mahlangu (ANC) suggested that the presentations be prioritised and Committee minutes be considered after the meeting
The Chairperson welcomed Minister Nathi Mthethwa; she believed the Minister would find value in attending the meeting. The meeting was very important for the Portfolio Committee because it dealt with the mandate that the South African Constitution had tasked the Committee with, which was the mandate of oversight. She urged people not to take the questions the Committee asked personally since it was their Constitutional mandate to ask questions which were sometimes difficult, the questions were not intended to offend anyone but to have the Department and its entities account for their actions and decisions. The Portfolio Committee also has to hold government into account with respect to how the taxpayer’s money was used and to ensure that there was no wasteful expenditure in the Department and its entities.
The Committee sometimes found that there was no alignment between what the entity wanted to do and what the Department wanted to achieve and the Committee had to send back Annual Performance Plans of some entities. It was the duty of the Department to ensure that the Annual Performance plans of its entities were aligned with what the Department aimed to achieve. The Minister was then invited by the Chairperson to give a political overview on the matters that would be discussed at the meeting.
Minister Nathi Mthethwa said what would be needed from the Portfolio Committee was the continuation of engagement with entities that were under the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) and also engaging with the DAC so that people were clear in terms of what needed to be attended to. The visit of the Portfolio Committee to the Nelson Mandela Museum raised strong matters, the issue there was basically an issue of leadership and instability and it was important that that area of leadership was dealt with. A credible Director General candidate had not been found even after the interviews and the selection process had been done and so the process of appointing a Director General was still o going. It was better to be late than be rash in appointing someone for the position who might also be part of the problem because another issue was having to account. He assured the Chairperson that somebody would be found for the position by the end of the year.
Presentation by Office of the Auditor General
Mr Andries Sekgetho, Business Executive from the office of the Auditor said he was quite new to the portfolio and had taken over from Mr Musa Mhlongo since he retired. The Auditor General of South Africa (AGSA) had a constitutional mandate and the Office tried to strengthen public confidence through their auditing. The role of AGSA with regard to the specific meeting was to provide oversight structures like the Portfolio Committee with support in executing its mandate. The office of the Auditor General conducted audits on an annual basis and gave feedback to departments, mainly on how the departments had accurately, reliably and completely reported on their performance information. Mr Sekgetho highlighted some important terms related to a financial audit opinion. The financial audit opinion usually had five outcomes, namely:
- Unqualified opinion with no findings (Clean Audit). This refers to an outcome where the auditee has produced credible and reliable financial statements that were free of material misstatements. In this particular outcome the auditee has observed and complied with key legislation in conducting its day-to-day operations to achieve on its mandate.
- Financially unqualified opinion with findings. This was when the auditee has produced financial statements without material misstatements or could correct the material misstatements but maybe there was a problem in the performance information aspect where maybe there was an incomplete or inaccurate report in terms of the performance information or maybe there was non-compliance with regard to key legislation.
- Qualified opinion. This was where the auditee has experienced the same challenges as those that were unqualified with findings, but, in addition, they could not produce credible and reliable financial statements.
- Adverse opinion. Was when there were material misstatements in the financial statements that the AGSA disregards with almost all the amounts and disclosure in the financial statements.
- Disclaimed opinion. The auditee in this outcome fails to provide the office of the Auditor General with evidence for most of the amounts and disclosures reported in the financial statements, and the office of the Auditor General was then unable to conclude or express an opinion on the credibility of their financial statements.
Mr Sekgetho then handed over to Mr Zipho Mdluli to give an overview of the outcomes of what has transpired in the Arts and Culture Portfolio for the 2015-2016 financial year.
Mr Zipho Mdluli, Senior Manager: AGSA, proceeded with the presentation.
Seven entities received clean audit outcomes, seven entities received unqualified with findings outcomes, eleven entities received qualified outcomes with findings, and two entities received disclaimer opinion outcomes with findings. There had been an overall regression within the portfolio with six entities having regressed, 3 improved entities and 18 entities whose findings were unchanged.
The three entities that improved their audit outcomes were the Luthuli Museum, Windybrow Theatre and Pan South African Language Board, which Mr Mdluli complimented and mentioned that it was important to give credit when it was due because these entities had improved their audit outcomes from the previous financial year. The entities that remained unchanged included the Playhouse company, Artscape, Freedom Park, National Council of South Africa, National Film and Video Foundation and Robben Island, which Mr Mdluli called the shining light since the outcome of their audit findings were clean and had remained clean for the last three years. There were entities that received a ‘qualified with findings’ audit outcome but with outcomes that remained unchanged. These entities included: The National Library of South Africa, Msunduzi/ Voortrekker Museum, KZN Museum, Iziko Museum, William Humphreys Arts Gallery, Nelson Mandela National Museum and National English Literacy Museum. The abovementioned entities were merely affected by the matter relating to heritage assets which resulted in the regression within the portfolio leading to challenges within entities as well. The other entities affected by heritage assets included the National Museum, War Museum of the Boer Republic and Ditsong Museum of South Africa. The Performing Arts of the Free State, State Theatre of South Africa and Ditsong Museum of South Africa went from ‘qualified opinion’ outcomes to ‘disclaimer and adverse opinion’ outcomes with significant challenges in their accounts and record keeping. The State theatre had a vacuum in the leadership space and the auditors were unable to receive sufficient assurance on what was produced by management and this also affected record keeping in the entity. The overall regression of the Arts and Culture Portfolio from the year 2013- 2016 was mostly a result of the requirements of GRAP 103 under Heritage Assets and that affected 38% of the entities in the portfolio. The predominant areas which were common throughout the portfolio which resulted in the regression included the Heritage assets in the 2014-15 and 2015-16 (affecting 10 entities) financial year, the Property, Plant and Equipment affecting three entities in the 2015-16 financial and lastly irregular expenditure affecting three entities in the 2015-16 financial year.
Some of the challenges faced by entities within the portfolio as a result of the matter relating to GRAP 103 included: different measurement techniques and experts that were required for the entities to be able to comply with the standards. Secondly, there was no clear guidance from the Accounting Standards Board and National Treasury to the entities to make sure that they complied with the standards. The entities were unable to prove impracticability to comply with the measurement criteria. Lastly, some entities did not have adequate documentation and controls in place to account for all heritage assets. The presentation slides detailed the performance information and the improvement of the outcomes and usefulness of the performance information submitted by the auditees of the portfolio. The most common findings on the usefulness of information given by the auditees included indicators or measures that were not well defined, performance targets that were not measurable and reported performance information that was not consistent with planned objectives measures and targets. There had been a regression on the reliability of the performance information and the common findings suggested that the reported information was either incomplete, invalid or inaccurate.
There was a slight regression in compliance with legislation with 8 entities in 2015-16 instead of the 9 in 2014-15 that received no material compliance findings. The presentation slides provided a detailed outline of the areas on non-compliance per auditee as well as fruitless and wasteful expenditure. The fruitless and wasteful expenditure had decreased as compared to the previous years where this year the auditors reported R2 million that was reported by entities as compared to last year which was R3,7 million. He reminded members to take in to account that the amount was in respect of the financial year and not the cumulative amount over a period of years as recorded in the financial statements of the auditees. The costs of irregular expenditure had also decreased from the 2014-2015 financial year where the costs were reported to be R186 million to R171 million in the 2015-16 financial year.
There had been some improvement in the internal control areas under leadership, financial and performance management as well as governance. The AGSA expressed concern on some areas such as leadership where Mr Mdluli mentioned that there needed to be some kind of intervention in the leadership. Once the areas of leadership were adjusted it could be easy to adjust the control areas in governance, financial and performance management.
There were significant commitments that the Office of the Auditor General had made with the Minister during their interactions. The first two commitments implemented were the improvement on supply chain management policies that were revised and also consequence management would be implemented against officials not complying with regulations. The second commitment was the review of Annual Financial Statements would be done by two senior officials, the Interim Audit firm and the Audit Committee before submitting them to the Auditor General. The three areas that the AGSA office argued to still be in progress include: record keeping, records should be easily retrieved and verified for audit because poor record keeping has also affected some of the entities of the portfolio and its outcomes. The second area was the appointment of the vacant posts in management and lastly ensuring that the position of the Director General was filled at the Department. There were three top root causes of the outcomes of the overall assessment made by the office of the Auditor General, these included slow response in improving key controls and addressing risk areas, the second being instability or vacancies in key positions or key officials lacking competencies. The last root cause of regression was inadequate consequences for poor performance and transgressions.
Mr Mdluli ended the presentation by giving key recommendations for improvement for the portfolio:
- The appointment of the Director General and CEO to ensure that there was leadership stability in the portfolio. The AGSA emphasised that it was critical for the position to be filled with someone who could take accountability within the position.
- Auditees that submitted financial statements of poor quality for auditing should strengthen their processes and controls to create and sustain a control environment that supports reliable reporting.
- Management should act on recommendations made by the AGSA in a timely manner and implement action plans for internal controls that were sustainable.
- The accounting officers must successfully implement basic internal controls and accounting disciplines by preparing regular and accurate financial statements and performance reports.
- The senior management, leadership and oversight structures should continue to pay close attention to the occurrence of supply chain management transgressions. They should also continue to investigate the incidents of non-compliance, take appropriate corrective steps, and implement consequence management.
- Accounting authorities and accounting officer should consult National Treasury and Accounting Standards Board for clear guidance on the application of GRAP 103 Standard for Heritage Assets.
The Chairperson thanked the presenters and said the Committee appreciate the work done by the Office of the Auditor General and the recommendations given. It was disheartening to find there were qualified officials to report misstatements because these were people who were being paid to do their job and it was unacceptable. She suggested that there should be some form of penalisation for officials if they presented misstatements because the Department paid for the hours spent by the Office of the Auditor General.
Dr P Mulder (FF+) said the audit outcome show that it had been really bad since the Minister took over where he referred to slide 8 of the Auditor General presentation which outlined the audit outcomes of the Arts and Culture Portfolio over three years. There was a big regression since the Minister took over but that was not fair because without the GRAP 103, the outcomes became a totally different picture. It would be fascinating to see what the outcomes would be if the 48% of the troubled entities reported in the audit would be remove. He was quite certain that the outcome would be different. He visited some of the entities and was told that they received a letter from the Minister of the Department which said that they were exempt from audits and then the auditor came and said that the letter did not count. There was a misunderstanding somewhere which might have influenced regression. The entities also said they survived if they received funding from outside sources like the Lottery fund but they were now unable to receive funding based on the ‘qualified opinion’ outcomes. There has to be a way to solve this.
Mr T Makondo (ANC) said there must be a reason why some records were not provided to the auditor and the reason for not having proper record keeping was unacceptable because records could not just disappear. He advised that the Minister, the Executive authority and the councils dig deeper in the entities that had been found to have record keeping issues.
Mr Mahlangu commended the Auditor General’s Office (AG) for the clear and beautifully crafted report, the use of colours which made it easier to understand. He asked for guidance in terms of trying to locate the entities with material misstatements that needed special attention since he was away at the start of the presentation.
The Chairperson explained that the presentation had been crafted in a way that was user friendly with key terms that made it easy to understand. The Chairperson invited the Minister to comment before the Auditor General Office responded to Member’s comments.
Minister Nathi Mthethwa agree with Dr Mulder on the GRAP 103 issue. There would not be any progress if the matter of regression was not attended to. There were entities with professionals and most qualified workers who had been part of the entities for years and with the recent audit outcome one fond that there had been a regression in the 2015-16 year because of GRAP 103 and because of it, it was not possible for there to be a clean audit.
Mr Zipho Mdluli addressed the matter relating to GRAP 103, which was a matter that had been discussed about three years ago and kept coming up.
The Chairperson said it was sad was that institutions that had been performing well now had negative audit outcomes and that the outcome affects the fundraising process as audit outcomes were one of the first things that funders look at. It was important that Members follow up on the negative outcomes of some entities and find a way of working together with other officials to tackle the GRAP 103 issue. She thanked the office of the Auditor General for their presentation and the response that they have received.
Mr Andries Sekgetho of the AGSA asked if they could have commitments written down so that when they met with the Portfolio Committee again they could have an idea and a common consensus of what needed to be discussed because some of the sentiments were that the portfolio would further deliberate on what has been presented.
Mr Mahlangu added that the presentation served as a good guideline for the Committee to perform its oversight mandate. He invited the Office of the Auditor General to sometimes visit one of the meetings and listen to Members in their attempt to deal with matters highlighted by the AG office. The job of the Committee was to make sure that entities performed well and that was what they intend to do. The Nelson Mandela Museum had been invited to the meeting because the Portfolio Committee was not pleased with the entity’s performance. The Committee had been to the Museum thrice; they visited the Museum in Mthatha three weeks ago and they were not pleased. The Committee believed that the Museum would improve and have an ‘unqualified with no findings’ audit outcome and if the officials fail to achieve that outcome, the Committee would not beg them but would request that they leave the institution or they would have to fire themselves.
The Chairperson thanked the Minister for the time he had taken to attend the meeting.
Nelson Mandela Museum
The Chairperson said the Committee was disappointed in their last visit to the Museum because there was only one Council member present even after there was a considerable amount of time which passed after the letter was sent to the museum. The Council members still failed to show up to the museum when the Committee had last visited and this created an idea that the Council was not committed to its duties and did not take the Committee seriously. The Portfolio Committee did not visit the entities because they were on holiday but because they were exercising their Constitutional mandate of oversight. The issues that came out of the visit were issues that could have been attended to by the entity’s Council such as issues that led to the strike and disruption of services.
Mr Vusithemba Ndima, Acting Director General, DAC, gave a brief overview of the update of the state of the museum since the last visit from the Arts and Culture Portfolio Committee on 14 and 15 September 2016. A number of critical issues were raised at the meeting such as the organisational structure of the institution; the unsigned job descriptions and 2016/17 performance agreements; the status of the Council; labour related issues such as shifting of employees during restructuring; issue of communication within the organisation; infrastructure related issues such as the Qunu upgrade; the status of the three sites; tools of trade as well as finance related issues. At the core was the issue of stability that was mentioned also by the AGSA officials and the speeding up of the process of appointing the CEO would assist a great deal in addressing the rest of the issues because there was an element of timidity when it comes to performances by acting CEO, what was important was appointing a permanent CEO.
After the lunch break the Chairperson said she was aware that officials had flights to catch later in the day and urged Members and officials to be cognisant of time. She handed over to the Nelson Mandela Museum Council to present and said it would be proper if the council tendered apologies because there were some officials from the Museum Council which were absent.
Mr Khulekani Buthelezi, a member of the Nelson Mandela Museum Council, tendered apologies for the officials who were absent. The Chairperson of the Council Ms Nozuko Yokwana, Council Member Ndaba Mandela and Council member Vuyani Jarana could not make it to the meeting. Mr Buthelezi thanked the Portfolio Committee for the visit and the advice on management of staff within that two-day visit.
Ms Andiswa Vikilahle gave a background of the purpose of their visit which was to report on progress made by the Museum. The purpose of the Portfolio Committee’s last visit to the museum was to get a progress report on issues that were raised during an oversight visit on 24 November 2014 and to also get progress report on museum facilities. When the Council took over on 1 November 2013, after 180 days of being at the office the Council made an assessment of the state of the organisation looking at three areas, namely; Executive Management Effectiveness, CEO Leadership Effectiveness and Council effectiveness. The issues that were found in the executive management area were the need for support of the marketing and task team; non-existent project management skills, the need for attention in the Human resource and finance function and poor resourcing of heritage function. The CEO Leadership Effectiveness area showed poor record delivery; poor delivery on capital projects; failure to follow procedure in dealing with issues; financial misconduct; a lot of audit findings and failure to meet reporting deadlines. The area of Council Effectiveness had issues such as weak Council support, Councillors who were yet to attend their first meetings and resignation of two Councillors.
The Council then developed eight areas that they would focus on in order to improve performance, namely; governance and leadership; vision focus and direction, CEO leadership; Management capacity; executive management capacity; culture and practices; lack of accountability and the funding legacy.
The first challenge that the Council had after they had created a road map for themselves was the challenge of the CEO. The Council was inaugurated in October 2013, assumed office in November 2013 and the CEO was suspended in June 2014 and the disciplinary process which led to the dismissal took a long time and the CEO was eventually dismissed in December 2015. The CEO job position was advertised between February and March 2016 and at the end there were two candidates that seemed to be suitable for the position. In August 2016 the vetting and reference check results for the two candidates came back negative and the Council then had to go back and start over. The reality was that the Museum could not just employ anyone for the CEO position it was important to employ the right person for the job who maintain the standard of service and reflect the stature of the person that the institution was named after. In September 2016 the former CEO took the Museum back to the CCMA but that did not deter the Museum in the quest to find a permanent CEO. The company that was assisting the Museum in conducting an executive search for a CEO has engaged with the Museum’s company secretary in assisting with the recruitment process.
From an overall organisational design and human resource management the Nelson Mandela Museum currently had 24 employees, three executive management members including the CEO with one vacant position which the Museum was in the process of getting the position filled. There were a number of job grading conducted, one was conducted by Avela Consulting where Patterson Grading was recommended. In 2011 there was an exercise done by GMR, where a comparison was made between the Nelson Mandela Museum, Iziko Museum, the Bloemfontein Museum and Robben Island Museum of what the salary structures were for each entity and the conclusion was that the salary of Nelson Mandela Museum staff members was similar to those of other museums that it was compared with. The year 2016/17 was the first year where the Museum would get to negotiate salaries with its employees because in the past the institution would take whatever decision has been made by the governing council and apply it to the institution. The Museum was unable to fund operations because of the shrinking budget envelope. In relation to the staff morale, the Museum has annual consultations with the council as well as ongoing consultation between management and staff.
The restructuring of the organisation started in 2014 where the structure was flattened from 45 positions to 26 positions. The process of restructuring was reported to have been transparent with staff involvement and the process was facilitated by the Department of Arts and Culture. They key principles around the restructuring process were to reduce the number of unfunded positions; open a new chapter for the museum from being a living legacy to living values; place people in relevant positions and to fulfil the mandate of the museum.
The average funding growth of the organisation had been below inflation, according to the financial administration perspective. As a result, the organisation reduced its targets over the years so that they could be able to match the available funding with what the organisation had the capacity to do. The reduction had impacted some areas such as funding for capital expenditure such as motor vehicles. There was slow progress in addressing issues that have been raised by the Auditor General. There was currently a 38% decline in findings affecting the audit report and there was a 16% decline in total number of findings included in the management letter.
The Nelson Mandela Museum was working on three projects, the first one being the upgrade of the Bhunga building which has been completed and officially launched, secondly the issue of the ICT infrastructure which was currently at the evaluation stage and the Qunu upgrade. The security services offered to the Museum were outsourced. The State Security Agency (SSA) conducted a threat and risk assessment of the building and were waiting on the report because the assessment was done in July 2016. The South African Police Services (SAPS) conducted a physical security assessment of the building and there have been no security incidents reported since the re-opening. The State Security Agency was scheduled to conduct a Security Awareness Workshop on 20 October 2015. On the 21 October 2016, a Technical Surveillance Counter Measures exercise would be conducted and the employees would return vetting forms.
The museum has been able to make sure that council members attended meetings and engaged effectively. The museum has developed good relations from a project management capacity in terms of the Bhunga upgrade with the Department of Land Affairs to finalise the project. Areas that still remain a challenge include the CEO and leadership capacity, Executive management capacity, culture and practices and the funding of the legacy since the budget allocated to the institution was not enough. Once the hurdle of appointing a CEO was passed, then it would be a lot easier to tackle other areas that were a challenge for the organisation. She thanked the DAC for the continued support and the restructuring process would not have been a success if it were not for the support of DAC.
Mr Makondo said the term of the office of the council was coming to an end by end October 2016, he asked since the term was ending, what would they say they had contributed to the institution. The council does not have to answer this question. The Council had not provided any possible solutions or plans on how to deal with the weaknesses that were reported but instead only listed the weaknesses. When the Portfolio Committee visited Nelson Mandela Museum in 2014 the issue the CEO was there and the organisation assured the Committee that the matter would be resolved however the organisation was still battling with finding one in 2016, the Committee expressed displeasure. He asked for clarity on the organisational structure of the museum and whether the vacant position reported was funded or not.
Mr G Grootboom (DA) commented that the report creates an idea of good work in progress, however when the Committee visited the institution the good work was not prevalent. The report did not speak to the current and prevailing staff morale of the organisation and there was a big difference between what the organisation was reporting and what the Committee found during its visits to the museum. There was no indication of what the organisation had done to boost staff morale. There was no indication of the costs of hiring a consultancy firm to deal with job grading. How did the incumbents who were reduced from top positions during the restructuring of the organisation receive the news of being “fired”?
Mr Mahlangu commented on the presentation given by the Acting Director General, Mr Ndima which was a summary and mentioned that the DG robbed the Committee with the presentation and the points he brought up were different from those that were in the presentation which made it difficult to follow his presentation.
Ms S Tsoleli (ANC) supported Mr Mahlangu’s comment, she also struggled to follow the presentation because the presentation slides that were handed out to the Committee and the guests were different from the one that the Acting DG was reading from.
Mr Mahlangu requested that the Acting General’s version of the presentation be sent to Members because even though what he was saying was true, it was still different from what was in front of them. The failure of the council to commit to attending meetings with the Committee when they visit was unacceptable behaviour and the Committee had planned to invite the Council to Parliament and then get the police to bring them to Parliament. He mentioned that the Council’s behaviour would also jeopardise possible future engagements with the Portfolio Committee or one of the members of the Committee if the Council was ever to work with any of the Members or have the council contracts renewed. He expressed his disappointment with the Museum and its staff because a commitment between the Committee and Council was made that the organisation would have a clean audit in the year 2016 but now it seems that the organisation was in an even worse state than it was in when the Committee last visited. The organisation was the worst organisation when it came to financial performance. In the presentation, the Council mentioned that SSA and SAPS took part in ensuring that the institution was secure. In most museums the work was not stolen by people who come in to rob the museum since they were not fully aware of the value of the art pieces but they were usually stolen by the people who worked within the organisation. The culprit was convinced possibly by some international buyer and the staff member made sure that the art piece disappeared and the problem was that in most instances stolen art works only appeared after an audit was conducted.
Mr J Mahlangu raised a point of space management at the museum. He suggested that the staff members deal with parking space and maybe find another space to park in because the space that was currently being used gets overcrowded and that was risky.
The Chairperson asked if everyone who worked at the Nelson Mandela Museum was under contract because in most cases contracted workers did not fully commit to their job because of the knowledge that the contract would end. If the staff members were actually contracted how then did the museum expect the workers to perform and produce best results when they know that their contracts would end. The issue of the privatisation of Mvezo was not brought up by the Council in the presentation and the Chairperson had an interview with the Daily Dispatch where she explained that the issue was not publicised or amplified to the Committee and this made it seem like it was not an important issue. This was an issue that the Council should have prioritised and have engaged the Mvezo Council with. Hopefully the newly appointed council would make engaging with the Mvezo Council a priority and see to it that both museums found a way to work together because the life story of Former President Nelson Mandela could never be complete without Mvezo.
Mr Mahlangu suggested that there should be a way to try and preserve whatever was left of the homes and areas where Nelson Mandela spent his childhood and where the leadership grooming began because once these areas were lost and the life story of the world’s icon would slowly get washed out.
Council member of Nelson Mandela Museum, Mr Similo Grootboom conceded that the Council had indeed come very short in addressing issues and assured the members of the Committee it was not because the council disrespected or undermined the Portfolio Committee but because it was just a mere failure on their part as the council. He assured the Committee that the CEO position would be filled very soon even though the replacement process and visits to the CCMA have been quite a challenge, the Council was confident that the position would soon be filled. The Council acknowledges the points raised by the Committee on the Mvezo issue and the Council has made progress in terms of improving relations between the two organizations.
Mr Khulekani Buthelezi apologised for the poor council attendance and commitments to the meetings with the Portfolio Committee during the visit to Mthatha. The lack of attendance was because the council members believed it was short notice taking into account other responsibilities that the council members had. The Chairperson of the Museum also tried to attend but was unable to and all council members tried to attend and the poor attendance was not because the council and board members disregard the Portfolio Committee.
The Human resource manager Mr Zolisa David Mqamelo addressed the Chairperson’s question on contract workers and confirmed that all the senior executive members of the organisation were on contracts which was a bit of a challenge because there was usually no institutional memory in such instances. There had been a proposal that the middle management team be put off contracted employment and there proposal was being considered. The organisation had a huge structure which was based on the strategic view of the organisation and the structures which were flattened during restructuring were just positions and not warm bodies meaning there were no labour relations required, there was no retrenching or firing of people.
Ms Tsoleli asked for clarity on the restructuring procedure because from what she understood restructuring meant considering cutting down costs out of whatever funding was allocated and their restructuring resulted to having 10 manager and 14 staff members and that did not make sense. If an organisation has more managers it meant that the organisation would have more benefit packages.
Ms Vikilahle explained that the idea behind restructuring was to organise the institution differently in order to address the mandate and they were aware that some positions were not needed and so removed them. The issue of securing the artefacts, organising the parking area for the institution as well as improving communication between staff members have been noted.
The Acting Director General acknowledged the comments that the Committee Members made regarding the preservation of the Mandela legacy and would be working with the Council to find out what kind of support it would be needing from the Department of Arts and Culture if the means allowed and this could not be done immediately given that there were some programmes which organisations planned to meet before starting other projects.
Mr Makondo wanted it placed on record that the Portfolio Committee has never met with the board of the Nelson Mandela Museum during their visits to the organisation and that it was only on the day of the meeting that they met some of the board members.
The Chairperson added that the best place to meet the board was at a place where the board was meant to perform its duties so that they could be in a position to receive important information that could help grow the organisation and experience what they would not necessarily experience. When the board members met the Portfolio Committee in Parliament they met for discussions and to look at reports and papers. The Committee had never had the opportunity to meet the board in the Eastern Cape. She agreed with Mr Makondo that it was not acceptable that the Committee was only meeting the board now because had they been present the time the Committee Members visited the museum the issues that appeared to be a challenged now would have been discussed then and possible solutions would have come up. The work that the board did was appreciated and being a board member was a patriotic act which showed that people wanedt to do good work for the country and not expect the country to do work for them. The Committee would be working with the board and were looking forward to receiving clean audits.
The meeting was adjourned.
Tom, Ms XS
Grootboom, Mr GA
Mahlangu, Mr JL
Makondo, Mr T
Mthethwa, Mr EN
Mulder, Dr CP
Tsoleli, Ms SP
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