The Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) reported that during the 2015/2016 financial year, it had embarked on a number of consultative workshops on the White Paper on Arts, Culture and Heritage in the different provinces. During this time, a summit meeting had been held, during which a wide range of recommendations were made to reshape the policy framework.
The highlights of the Department were the 33 community conversations that had been conducted and the four quarterly reports that had been submitted to the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation and the Cabinet. The Department had supported 50 cultural events through the open call for proposals. The events had included the National Arts Festival, the Buyel’EKhaya Pan African Festival, the Macufe Festival in the Free State, and the Standard Bank “Joy of Jazz.”
In the year under review, it had renamed 226 geographical places, including Jamestown, Aliwal North, Lady Frere, Elliot, Queenstown and Harrismith. It had awarded language bursaries to students from North West University, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, the University of the Western Cape and the University of South Africa.
Seven of the Department’s entities had received clean audits, six had received unqualified audit reports, 11 had received qualified audit reports, one had received an adverse audit opinion and one had received a disclaimer. The Department itself had received an unqualified audit report, but it had been asked to focus its attention on matters relating to the misstatements in the financial statements and findings on non-compliance with regulations.
The Committee was disappointed with the Department’s report because they had not followed the guidelines that had been given to them, and also with the fact that neither the Minister nor the Deputy Minister had shown up for the meeting. The Committee was also concerned about the state of the Department’s entities and the number that had received qualified opinions. They asked about the selection criteria used for the awarding of the language bursaries, and what changes the Department intended implementing to create awareness around social cohesion, Youth Day, Mother Tongue Day and cultural events. It was asserted that commemoration days were being perceived as political rallies, and non-party supporters felt excluded. The Department was asked to give recognition to struggle stalwarts who were not part of political parties
The Chairperson opened the meeting by expressing her disappointed at the absence of the Minister. She asked the Director General to explain why the Minister, or the Deputy Minister, were not attending the presentation on their Department’s report.
Mr Vusithemba Ndima, Acting Director-General: Department of Arts and Culture (DAC), said that he had not been told of the reason why neither the Minister, or Deputy Minister, could attend the meeting, but suggested that both could be attending to Cabinet matters.
The Chairperson replied that it was unacceptable that both the political heads of the Department could not attend the meeting. She also expressed her disappointment that neither had bothered to even render their apologies to the Committee Secretary, saying that the Committee was unable to fully assess the report without the presence of the political party leaders who represented the Department. Nonetheless, she expected to see how they had spent their budget, what their achievements were and what they were unable to achieve, and how the Department planned to make improvements where they had failed to achieve their targets.
Department of Arts and Culture: Annual Report 2015/2016
Mr Ndima reported that the Department had achieved 66% of their targets, and 34% were not achieved. The number of targets that were achieved had decreased as compared to the previous year due to a number of policy matters that needed to be finalised. During the 2015/2016 financial year, the Department had embarked on a number of consultative workshops on the White Paper on Arts, Culture and Heritage in different provinces. During this time, a summit on the White Paper was held in November 2015, during which a wide range of recommendations had been made to reshape the policy framework. In addition, a second Indaba had been held for stakeholders to submit more inputs for the White Paper. This process had been followed to ensure that stakeholders were included in the process.
National building and social cohesion remained the task of the Department -- to lead and co-ordinate efforts to reconstruct the fractured and divided past. The key highlights for the year remained the 33 community conversations that had been conducted and the four quarterly reports that had been submitted to the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation and the Cabinet. In the Mzansi Gold Economy, the Department had a flagship programme that managed the placement of artists in schools. During the year, they had placed 352 artists in all nine provinces. The incubator programme was intended to capacitate emerging artists. The incubators were designed to provide tools of the trade to allow for the creation of new local content and the broadening of participation of artists in the economy. 25 incubators had been enrolled in the Western Cape through the Artscape, 40 incubators in the Free State, 417 in Gauteng, and 30 in KwaZulu-Natal through the Playhouse.
In addition, 50 cultural events had been supported by the Department through the open call for proposals. These had included the National Arts Festival and the Buyel’EKhaya Pan African Festival in the Eastern Cape, the Macufe Festival in the Free State, Standard Bank’s “Joy of Jazz”, the South African Music Awards and Mbokodo Awards in Gauteng, and the Mapungubwe Arts Festival in Limpopo.
The South African Cultural Observatory was a national research centre hosted by the DAC, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), Rhodes University and the University of Fort Hare. The most important function of the centre was to collate, collect and disseminate research on the arts, culture and heritage sector.
With the advice of the South African Geographical Names Council (SAGNC), the Department had renamed 226 geographical names. These had included Jamestown being changed to James Calata, Aliwal North changed to Maletswai, Lady Frere changd to Cacadu, Elliot changed to Khowa, Queenstown changed to Komani, Mount Frere changed to KwaBhaca, Mount Ayliff changed to MaXhesibeni, and Harrismith changed to iNtabazwe.
35 libraries were upgraded and a total of 40 libraries were built -- 21 were built in the Eastern Cape, three in the Northern Cape, 10 in Limpopo and two in the Free State. Four libraries were upgraded in the Western Cape, 11 in Limpopo, five in KwaZulu-Natal and three in Gauteng.
463 bursaries were awarded to students wishing to pursue a career in the language profession, of which 164 were awarded to the North West University, 68 to NMMU, 40 to the University of the Western Cape and 73 to the University of South Africa.
In partnership with the Department of Sport and Recreation, the DAC had embarked on a campaign to discourage any form of xenophobia, using the power of sports, arts and culture to improve the image of the country.
In terms of the governance, shareholder compacts were signed with all the entities, annual reports for the public entities were tabled in Parliament as required, the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs), Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) and chairperson’s forums were held as planned. and the councils, except those of the Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB), were constituted and inducted. Seven entities had received clean audits, six had received unqualified audit reports, 11 had received qualified audit reports, one had received an adverse audit opinion, and one had received a disclaimer.
Mr Makoto Matlala, CFO: DAC, reported that the Department had received an unqualified audit report. However, the Auditor General (AG) had asked that attention be given to matters relating to misstatements in the financial statements, findings on non-compliance with regulations, inadequate systems to prevent irregular expenditure, and procurement and contract management systems that were inadequate.
The Department’s budget was allocated to four programmes: Administration, institutional governance, arts and culture promotion and development and heritage promotion and preservation. The administration programme had spent R253.9 million, which was R24.4 million less than its budget allocation. The institutional governance programme had spent R7.6 million more than its budget of R224 126 million. The arts and culture promotion and development programme spent R973 million, which was an under-spending of R26.8 million. Finally, the heritage promotion and preservation programme had been allocated R2.323 billion, and had spent all but R20 million.
There had been a variance of R5 million in the expenditure on the compensation for employees, due to the filling of vacancies being at different stages of the recruitment and selection processes. In terms of the expenditure on goods and services, there had been over-expenditure in the area of institutional governance due to management fees that were charged by the Independent Development Trust (IDT) for legacy projects. A total variance of R28 million was a result of delays by the Department of Public Works in invoicing the Department for municipal charges and operating leases, while a secondary contributor was the delays in the installation of flags at schools.
A total of R1.274 billion was transferred to provincial departments. Gauteng had received R153 million, KwaZulu-Natal (R157.6 million), the Western Cape (R158.5 million), the North West (R112.9 million), Free State (R155.8 million), the Northern Cape (R145.5 million), Limpopo (R97.7 million), the Eastern Cape (R143 million), and Mpumalanga (R150.3 million). Agencies receiving funding included the Artscape, which had received R53 million, the National Arts Council (R96 million), the National Film and Video Foundation (R116.7) million and the Mzansi Golden Economy projects (R14.5 million).
A total of R25.6 million was allocated for internal spending on employee social benefits, language development projects, cultural and creative industries and heritage promotion. Under-expenditure of R3.4 million was due to financial assistance projects that had been approved but were waiting for compliance documents from beneficiaries.
The Chairperson said she was disappointed that the Department had not spoken about the targets they had achieved and those that they had failed to achieve. The report had not also mentioned the corrective measures that the Department was planning on taking to ensure that they achieved all their targets in the next financial year. The lack of relevant information made it difficult for the Committee to engage with the Department and assess its progress.
Ms L Dlamini (ANC, Mpumalanga) said she found it difficulty to assess the DAC’s progress without knowing what their targets, achievements and non-achievements were. Nonetheless, they played an important role in ensuring that culture was preserved, but it looked as if they were failing to promote and develop culture because South Africa had become more American than any other African country. She asked which programmes the Department had developed to ensure that culture was preserved and how would they assess the progress of these programmes, in terms of trying to promote and develop culture. The Department had also failed in retaining social cohesion. South Africans were not united, and she wondered whether the Departments’ social cohesion programmes were actually working.
The cultural events which were hosted by the amaKhosi, were relevant for young people, and they could help the Department to preserve culture. However, the amaKhosi were in dire need of the DAC’s financial support. She was concerned about a statement made by the Department, that the report had made references to the name changes of towns in only important provinces. She asked if this meant that the towns whose names in Mpumalanga had been changed were not important, as they had not been mentioned in the report. She asked why the Samora Machel monument had not been operating according to schedule.
Mr M Khawula (IFP, KwaZulu-Natal) agreed with the Chairperson that a lot of relevant information had been left out of the report, which made it difficult for the Committee to fully engage with the department. Some areas where the Department had failed to report, included music piracy and the measures and programmes which the Department intended implementing to stop the piracy of artists’ intellectual property. It was unfortunate that the political leaders of the Department were not present because some of the questions needed to be attended to by the Minister and Deputy Minister.
The problem with social cohesion events was that they tended to be affiliated with political parties, so they ended up by being rallies instead of days of commemoration. This type of setting automatically excluded other members of the public who did not affiliate themselves with a political party, and social cohesion became lost due to political conflicts. Also, the Department could not commemorate struggle stalwarts only from the ANC political party, or those that were affiliated to a political party. He asked what the selection criteria for the language bursaries were, and why large universities like the University of KwaZulu-Natal had not received any of the bursaries.
In terms of the conditional grants to provinces, why were the provinces receiving similar amounts of money, when larger provinces like Gauteng, KZN and the Western Cape had more programmes and facilities to fund than the rest, and why had the capital transfers for libraries had decreased from R16.4 million to R6.6 million?
Mr D Stock (ANC, Northern Cape) asked where the amount of R6.6 million in fruitless expenditure had gone to, and what corrective measures the Department had put in place to ensure that they no longer received a report of fruitless expenditure. He asked that the Committee also be given the same treatment as the Portfolio Committee on Arts and Culture. The Select Committee did not receive invitations to cultural events, nor to the Cape Town Jazz Festival.
Ms T Mpambo-Sibhukwana (DA; Western Cape) asked what the 34% of targets were that they had not achieved, and what the reasons for not achieving those targets were. She also asked for the Department to explain why the Free State had more artist placements than in any other province, whether their partnership with the Department on Education in developing art in the townships still existed, and whether the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges also received the language bursaries. She also complained about the Committee not receiving invitations to the Department’s events. She asked the Department to also make use of sign language during their awareness programmes. The Mother Tongue Day should be celebrated every year, and the Department should develop creative awareness campaigns for the day, and it should be included in the calendars as well. She concluded to say that the Department had a lot of potential to drive the country forward and unify people of different cultural backgrounds, but they did not seem to know how to use their resources, or promote their ideas.
Mr C Hattingh (DA, North West) asked that a detailed report with information about the entities’ audit reports be sent to the Committee. The problem with the these entities was that the DAC itself had in the past not adhered to the supply chain regulations, nor to the Public Financial Management Act, hence the entities had also failed to comply. There had been a number of investigations done by the Department, but the Committee had not received a single report detailing the progress or advising what had happened to the employees who were charged. He did not believe that the report presented to the Committee painted the full picture of what was really happening in the Department – there was a lot of information that had been left out which would have assisted the Committee. He asked how much money the Department had spent on the Chinese cultural programmes, and how much was spent on the SA language programmes.
A Member of the Committee asked for a list of the artists who had received placement in Gauteng, because she wanted to do a follow-up. She added that important commemorative days, like Youth Day (June16), no longer held the same value as they did before. The youth did not attend the events that were hosted by the Department, instead preferred to drink and attend parties. The DAC should seek a partnership with the Department of Education to create a programme that would educate learners about the meanings of the colours of the South African flag.
The Chairperson suggested that the Department should investigate some of its agencies, like Artscape, because there had been allegations that the agency was not inclusive of the actors it employed. She asked why the Director-General had not yet been employed permanently, and suggested that all entities must have a functioning Board of Directors to steer them in the right direction. The Department had promised that it would develop at least 60% of the entrepreneurs, yet it had not been able to help develop even 40%. of the entrepreneurs it said it would. In addition, there had been R4.6 million in fruitless and wasteful expenditure and the policies that the Department had promised to develop had not been developed yet. She added that when a Department had not appointed a leader, the employees tended to disrespect the person who had been asked to act as its leader. It was important that the political leaders of the Department appointed a Director-General as soon as possible. She concluded by requesting the Department to answer some of the questions in writing, especially the questions that had been asked by the Committee Members who had departed early. She asked that these answers reach the Committee Secretary’s office by 7 December 2016.
Mr Ndima responded that the Department understood why its role was important for social cohesion, and for the whole of society in general. They had made a number of attempts to ensure that the flags in the schools were monitored, because there had been cases where the flags were left in the staff room or outside, and were not hanged as promised. In addition, the Department had compiled a report detailing the correct use of the equipment and infrastructure that had been given to schools. With this report, they also planned to add explanations of the different meanings of the colours of the flags, because the allocation of the flags was not only about putting them up but also about educating about the meaning of the flag. The Department had been facing difficulty with developing policies, and the different departmental clusters had in the past either rejected or reported them as being too ambitions to be implemented. The development of policies was an on-going struggle for the department, but they had been working closely with other departments to ensure that the policies were realistic.
The language bursaries were advertised in different media outlets and the universities, or the students themselves could apply for them. There were no criteria for selecting the universities, and no benefit had been given to particular universities. Criminal charges had been brought against the former employees after a forensic investigation done by Gobodo Forensic Investigative Accounting (GFIA) had shown that there had been criminal acts perpetrated against the Department. Instead of distributing a list of only the artists that had received placement in Gauteng, the Department would provide the Committee with a list of all the artists, the province that they had been placed in, and the schools where they had been placed. The Department would also provide the Committee with a list of the schools that had received flags. He admitted that the Department had been struggling to make commemoration days meaningful and educative. There were on-going discussions to make them more creative so that they appealed to the youth.
Ms Monica Newton, Deputy Director-General: DAC, added that the cultural events that were hosted by the amaKhosi were financially supported by the Department. However, other events like the Mother Tongue Day had not been getting the same support and resources as the Department would have liked. The University of KwaZulu-Natal had not submitted applications for the language bursary, hence they had not received any funding. PanSALB had also been struggling with developing programmes that could help develop and promote language in the communities. However, the Department was committed to developing more workshops and awareness programmes to promote the use of home languages. They had developed a partnership with Business and Arts South Africa to help artists to finance their projects.
The Chairperson requested that the Department to send to the Committee a list of the artists they had helped with financing their projects, and also to indicate which province the artists were from. She asked the Department to follow the guideline that had been sent to them by the Committee Secretary when they had to present their annual report. There were libraries in provinces that were listed under the municipalities, and those that were listed as part of the provincial government. The problem with the different listing of these libraries was that those that fell under the municipalities were struggling to upgrade their infrastructure. She asked the Department to help and support these libraries.
She concluded by saying that Parliament must lead by example and allow Members to debate in their home languages. The minutes would be adopted at the next meeting.
The meeting was adjourned.
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