Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology Annual Report 2001/2002

Meeting Summary

A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.

Meeting report


20 May 2003

Mr D Kgware [Northern Cape, ANC]

Documents handed out:
Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology: Annual Report 2001/2002 (document is awaited)

The Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology briefed the Committee on their Annual Report. In the short discussion that followed, Members expressed an interest in the subjects of indegenous music, the lack of leverage of other official languages in interpretation services and the publication of the Department Annual Report; and the existence of a policy guiding the funeral aid for South African artists.

Prior to the Departmental briefing, Mr Kgware commented that there was a perception that the Select Committee was not paying enough attention to the Arts and Culture section of the Department. He said that he wanted to correct this. The Committee was cluster-like in their organisation and approach and dealt equally with Arts and Culture; Science and Education. He alerted the Committee to the fact that the country would be celebrating a ten year anniversary of their democracy soon and to the fact that the Department of Arts and Culture would be intensively involved in these celebrations. He reported that there was a request from the presiding Minister the previous day that reports such as the one that they were about to be briefed on, be debated in the House. He expressed his support for this. He stated that it would also please him if they could debate issues around the Freedom Park agenda at a later stage.

Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology briefing
Mr P Pasum: Accounting Officer, Department of Science and Technology, higlighted areas of specific interest to the Select Committee in the Annual Report. He made an initial comment that the Departments under the banner of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology complemented each other quite well. The topics he covered were those he identified as being meaningful with regards to the provincial mandate. He picked out particular points of interest under each chapter, including: Development of the Music and Craft industries, Heritage Institutions and Policy, the Science Vote,Science and Society,and the Strategic objectives of Communication. He also went through the tables and figures provided in the Corporate Services: Human Resource and Financial Management sections of the report.

Prince B Zulu (ANC, Kwazulu Natal) raised the issue of indigenous music. He stated that most South Africans were now more interested in Western Music. He asserted that indigenous music is, on occasion, not supported as much. Such music is often difficult to write down, yet people know how to sing it. He said that he did not find an area where support for the preservation of such music was reflected in the budget. Yet preserving this music would be important because if anything is not practised, it dissappears.

Secondly, Prince Zulu raised the issue of languages. In plenary meetings in their provinces, they could not speak their home languages unless they had informed the Whip before the pleniary started. Who was monitoring the use of South Africa's languages? With regards to plenary meetings, there were only two languages provided by interpretors: English and Afrikaans. The provision of interpretors to serve all official language groups would also be a way of providing employment for the people of our country. Any language that is not spoken, dissappears.

Mr Kgware also expressed a desire to obtain an answer on the subject of language.

Mr Pasum responded firstly to the issue of indigenous music and languages. The Chairman had covered it in his interjectory comments. He admitted that he was out of his depth in terms of answering some of the questions since the Department of Arts and Culture was not really represented in the meeting. From what he knew, the Department was looking into this issue and their focus was regional.

On the subject of providing interpretors for all languages, Mr Kgware noted that providing such a service would entail a great deal of money. He suggested, however, that Mr Pasum raise it with his Department. He felt that it would be good for job creation

Prince Zulu then asked what the Department provided in their budget for the preservation of oral history. In this field the country was also losing much information.

Mr Pasum stated that the year before they had budgeted about R2 million for projects concerned with the preservation of oral history. The projects were still ongoing, but he did not have the latest figures, although they were available. It was not only history, but also languages and music that they needed to look at in this light. The Department had been working on an Indigenous Music Policy Framework and this was something that they could follow up on.

Prince Zulu referred to Table 4.2.2 in the Annual Report. He noted that the vacancy rate for the Department of Science and Technology was 55%. He asked why this was such a high precentage.

Mr Pasum said that he would reply only on behalf of the Department that he was involved with, which was Science and Technology. The people responsible for this just did not get around to filling these vacancies, mainly because of pressure to perform and to produce outputs. In recent times they had begun to fill these vacancies. The problem was just simply a case of peope not getting around to it. There were also other factors beyond their control which affected the vacancy rate. He gave the example of the position of Deputy Director-General of the Department, which was rejected by the prospective employee two days before she was scheduled to begin because of an offer from the private sector. They were also inhibited by such factors as office space, as the staff had started complaining that the offices they were working in are too small.

Prince Zulu referred to Table 4.4.3 where it stated that 23 members of the personnel had resigned. He requested comment on this.

Mr Pasum stated that as a Department, they could not retain people all the time. People apply for other positions when they see an opportunity for advancement.

Prince Zulu referred to Table 4.7.2, and asked for comment on the fact that the Department had only one dismissal.

Mr Pasum explained that this had occured on a very senior level, with the Deputy Director-General being involved and he was still busy contesting his dismissal.

Referring to the subject of indigenous music, Mr Kgware was of the opinion that the the National Department had allocated what was needed to the provinces for relevant projects. Ilustrating his point, he stated that the Eastern Cape had its own indigenous type of singing, and so did Kwazulu Natal and the North West Province. He suggetsed that the Department look into a music festival showcasing all the country's indigenous music.

Mr Sogoni (UDM, Eastern Cape) expressed concern over the fact that there were only five languages in which the Annual Report was made available. He was trying to understand whether there were any constraints, besides financial, that prevented them from publishing the document in all languages.

Mr Pasum commented that the Department regularly produced documents incorporating all eleven languages. He admitted that the constraints were financial. They tried to accomodate all languages by rotating the languages in which the Annual Report was published from year to year.

Mr Sogoni then posed a question about the Poverty Relief Programme, as mentioned in the Annual Report. He asked Mr Pasum if he could provide them with a list of the areas that were funded so that they could see whether any of the programmes were in any of their constituencies.

Referring to the list of names of the Poverty Alleviation projects, Mr Pasum stated that the list could be made available to the Committee at a later stage.

Mr Sogoni commented on the contributions to South African artists' funerals by the Department. He appreciated the fact that the Department was involved in this and asked what the guiding principles behind this funding were.

Mr Pasum stated that there was no Departmental policy guiding this. However, he hoped that the Department could play a stronger role in this area.

Mr Kgware said that they needed to have a serious look at some provincial programmes around arts and culture. He explained that some arts and culture events could sometimes focus solely on 'trumpets and guitars'. Arts and culture goes beyond this and they also needed to look at other aspects. Lastly, Mr Kgware suggested that the Committee visit Freedom Park to prepare for Freedom Day Celebrations.

The meeting was adjourned.


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