Department of Arts and Culture & Pan South African Language Board on their Annual Performance Plans, with Minister

NCOP Education and Technology, Sports, Arts and Culture

07 June 2017
Chairperson: Ms L Zwane (ANC, Kwazulu-Natal)
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Meeting Summary

The Select Committee on Education and Recreation was briefed by both the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) and the Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB) on their annual performance plans (APPs) and budgets.

After the Minister of Arts and Culture had introduced the DAC’s presentation by highlighting the National Development Plan 2030 vision and trajectory, the Director-General of explained the Department’s mandate, the Minister’s priorities, its new vision and mission, strategic goals and objectives, and its 2017 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) allocation.

Priorities included nation building and social cohesion and dealing with the challenges of racism, the promotion of all languages and improving the functioning of the Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB), and ensuring that the Mzansi Golden Economy (MGE) benefited previously disadvantaged artists. The Department would also focus on the Community Arts Development programme, the DAC Schools Programme, and the Resistance and Liberation Heritage Route infrastructure, including the National Heroes' Acre project.

The PanSALB report noted Section 6(5)(a) of the Constitution and the objects of the PanSALB Act, which required the promotion and creation of conditions for the development and equitable use of all official languages. It reported that its budget allocation for the 2017/18 financial year was R108 million. This would be spent on three main programmes

  • Service delivery programme – language development, use and equitability;
  • Service delivery enabling programme – public engagement and stakeholder relations; and
  • Support programme – administration/support services.

Members asked for clarity with regard to the issue of the appointment of a Director General for the Department, raised concerns regarding implementation that was not taking place in the Department, sought information on the role of the DAC in the Kruger National Park, warned about the danger of bias in the celebration of liberation heroes, and asked how the impact of heritage sites could be improved.

Meeting report

Minister’s opening remarks

Mr Nathi Mtethwa, Minister of Arts and Culture, thanked the Chairperson and Members of the Committee for the invitation to come and present the 2017/18 Annual Performance Plan of the Department of Arts and Culture.

The Minister said that looking at the National Development Plan 2030’s vision and trajectory, South Africans would be more conscious of the things they had in common than their differences. Their lived experiences would progressively undermine and cut across the divisions of race, gender, disability, space and class. The nation would be more accepting of peoples’ multiple identities. This would be expanded to Outcome 14, which referred to “broad-based knowledge about and support for a set of values shared by all South Africans, including the values contained in the Constitution -- an inclusive society and economy.”

This meant tackling the factors that sustained inequality of opportunity and outcomes by building capabilities, removing participation barriers and redressing the imbalances of the past, increased interaction between South Africans from different social and racial groups, strong leadership across society, and a mobilised, active and responsible citizenry.

The Minister said the NDP sets out five long-term nation building goals for South Africa. These goals and indicators were:

  • Knowledge of the Constitution and fostering Constitutional values;
  • The number of schools saying the Preamble to the Constitution at school assemblies;
  • Schools flying the national flag;
  • Schools that had booklets and posters of national symbols and orders;
  • The number of national days hosted and celebrated.

The Chairperson said the issues raised by the Minister were important. There were lot of issues they needed to engage on, but because of time constraints they would not do justice to the agenda of the meeting. The Minister was raising issues of social cohesion and nation building, and they needed to ask themselves where they were as a nation with regard to those important issues. The issue of cultural background was very important in terms of raising and educating the nation’s children. There was a need for a dialogue between the older people and their children, because most young people felt ashamed of their culture and background. Most young people did not understand that older people were a resource to them in terms of experience and knowledge. 

Ms L Dlamini (ANC, Mpumalanga) said the remarks by the Minister were long overdue, because when a father left home to go to work in the mines, children would want special things when he came back for holidays at the end of the year. The Minister was very clear about what needed to be done in the Department, but the question was why they were not doing these things. What was it that the Department was not doing right, which made its efforts not to be felt? She agreed with the Minister about the budget and the perception of the Department, but the understanding and the importance of the Department was something which needed to be dealt with at this level.

Ms Dlamini asked why there was no Director General (DG) in the Department, because the issues raised by the Minister had not yet come to the implementation level, as there was no DG. What were the issues and how could the Committee assist?

She referred to the issue of Freedom Park, where there were many Dlaminis, and described how she could trace her roots there, and how she related to that. The apartheid museum was more transformed now, but the Department was not communicating enough about what it was doing there. It needed to go and develop the San Monument, because the San people were currently not benefiting from that monument. Other outside people were benefiting, and as a Committee they had been raising this issue with the Department.

The Committee had been to the Samora Machel Monument, which was a beautiful and touching monument. There were issues there, and one of them was that the structure was very small for such a great leader. The project was growing in popularity, and the Department needed to support it through education. However, the investigation there had not yet been finalised. There had been investigation after investigation, and it was not clear which Department was responsible – the DAC or the police? They needed to finalise that investigation so that everybody knew what happened, and why did Samora Machel had died. 

Ms Dlamini asked what was happening at Kruger National Park. What was the role of the Department there, because they had been under the impression that it fell under the DAC, but had learnt while they were there that it was not? What heritage sites was the Department responsible for at the Kruger National Park?

She asked what was happening with the Gert Sibande project in Mpumalanga. What was the relationship between the DAC and traditional leaders, because traditional leaders at provincial level belonged to the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA)? Her view was that traditional leaders had more of a role on issues of culture, and yet their cultural imbizos were very minimal because they got support from Government. How could they collaborate with traditional leaders, even if it meant different departments?

The Committee needed a session on the issue of nation building and social cohesion so that they would know what each role player was doing, and could answer on behalf of different departments. It was very important to educate children about South Africa, because education was also a part of this Committee. They should also have a session with both departments on this issue, and see what they could get out of that meeting 

Ms P Samka-Mququ (ANC, Eastern Cape) spoke in isiXhosa, thanking the Minister for his political background remarks which helped them with regard to the issue of language. She was concerned that the Department had neglected African indigenous languages and African cultural norms, and had moved towards the Western cultural norms. In Tanzania, for example, Members of Parliament spoke in their own mother languages when they addressed Parliament, but in this meeting they used only English without considerfing which language most people present spoke. Even the Minister conducted most of his addresses in English, forgetting that the Department he led was Arts and Culture. In terms of languages, they were still neglected. The issues of indigenous languages were only talked about, but the implementation was not forthcoming. There was a need to go back to their roots and try to find a solution to this issue of languages and culture.

Mr M Khawula (IFP, Kwazulu Natal) agreed with his colleagues that the issue of implementation in the Department was a challenge. Indeed, they only talked about these issues but did not take them forward for operation and implementation. It was not helping them that much, which was a key question to the whole discussion. He asked the Minister why implementation was not happening.

Mr Khawula asked why there was so much bias when heroes of the nation were celebrated, because it seemed that heroes belonged only to the ruling party what about other parties?  Why were there no programmes on the radio stations that were dedicated to culture?

Ms T Mpambo-Sibhukwana (DA, Western Cape) also spoke in isiXhosa, noting that sign language was neglected in South Africa and PanSALB should take note of that. South Africa was a signatory to the UN Sign Language Board, which meant that sign language should be taken seriously by the government. There were few language interpreters in government and more sign language interpreters should be employed in government departments. She added it was important for PanSALB to monitor the radio stations, because the language that was used in some radio stations left much to be desired in terms of African languages.

The Chairperson said that due to time constraints -- because they still had to be briefed by the Department and PanSALB -- the Minister could respond to some of the questions in writing, but just give concluding remarks with regard to some of the issues raised.

The Minister said this one of the most profound conversations they had ever had in these corridors of Parliament. He agreed that the issue running through as a thread was about why action was not seen. One could go to the presentations of both the Department and PanSALB, but if they were not together on the basis of everything, they would miss the point. From his side, his doors were open and they could have discussions on these issues, and schedule a meeting so that they could do justice to these fundamental issues. One major thing was communication, because sometimes they sat with what had been happening in the Department for years, but many people, including Members of Parliament, did not know.

The Minister said the Department could have had a Director General long time ago, but they would want to come before the Committee and say they had employed a DG with whom they would be happy. Arts and Culture needed a particular type of person who would understand that over and above being an administrator, there was an extra mile of culture which that person had to go through. The DAC had interviewed people and appointed a DG, but when the he was supposed to have started, he had resigned. It had taken time for the DG to be confirmed, because there were documents which he had not forwarded which were needed by some departments, and when those documents had finally come, he had resigned.

Therefore, early last year they had started a new process of interviews, and had got the most qualified people to those interviews. One could not fault them on their education, but the Department was looking for the DG of Arts and Culture. They had to go back and start a new process, and had advertised three times in the media. Right now the Department was at the point where they would be sitting down next week interviewing people, and hopefully coming up with the right DG of Arts and Culture. The DAC had not been sitting still, but trying to find the right DG for the Department.

On the issue of cultural roots, the Department had started a process of people telling their own story, especially Members of Parliament, to know who they are, because if they know who they are they would not have the problems of xenophobia or Afrophobia, and all of that. Last year, when he was having a conversation with King Goodwill Zwelithini, the King had shown him a space where he would build the traditional house of KwaZulu, which would be called Ejuba. Now Juba was in Sudan, which meant that the King had traced his footprint back to Sudan. He knows who he is. Therefore, it was very important for all of them to know who they are.

The Chairperson thanked the Minister for those wise words of historical lineage, but because of time pressure they needed to hear a briefing from the Department. In future they needed to schedule time to discuss all the issues raised.

Briefing by Department of Arts and Culture (DAC)

Mr Vusithemba Ndima, Acting Director General: Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) said it was important to note that the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, had a direct bearing on the Department’s mandate. Section 16(1) provided for the freedom of expression (freedom of artistic creativity; freedom to receive or impart information or ideas, and academic freedom and freedom of scientific research). Section 30 clarified the issue of language and culture. Section 32(1) Access to information; Section 9(3) looked at the issue of equality, and Section 10 talked about human dignity. All these pieces of legislation carried the mandate of the DAC.

The building of capacity in the arts, culture and heritage sector entailed appropriate governance systems, proper investment/funding, collaborations/partnerships, human capital (including skills development) and appropriate infrastructure provision.

Mr Ndima said that the old vision statement of the Department had been: “A dynamic, vibrant and transformed arts, culture and heritage (ACH) sector, leading to nation building through social cohesion and socio-economic inclusion”. This had been changed to a new vision statement, which was: “A creative and inclusive nation”.

It had also changed the old mission statement, which used to be: “To create an enabling environment in which the ACH sector could flourish and play a significant role in nation building and socio-economic development by: preserving, protecting and promoting cultural heritage and linguistic diversity of South Africa; leading nation building and societal transformation through social cohesion; enhancing records management structures and systems and promoting access to information; and providing leadership to the ACH sector so as to accelerate its transformation”. The new mission statement was simply: “To develop, preserve, protect and promote arts, culture and heritage”.

The Department’s strategic outcome goals included a transformed and productive ACH sector, an integrated and inclusive society, and an effective and impactful nation building and social cohesion programme.

Briefing by Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB)

Dr Mpho Monareng, CEO: PanSALB, said that its legislative mandate was derived from Section 6 (5) of the constitution, which enjoined the state to establish a Pan South African Language Board by national legislation to promote and create conditions for the development and use of all official languages, the Khoi, Nama and San languages, sign language, and to promote and ensure respect for all South African official languages, thus ensuring that they enjoyed parity of esteem. This also included all languages commonly used by communities in South Africa, such as German, Greek, Gujarati, Hindi, Portuguese, Tamil, Telegu and Urdi, Arabic, Hebrew, Sanskrit, and others used for religious purposes in the country.

In line with Section 6(5)(a) of the Constitution and the objects of the PanSALB Act, which require promotion and the creation of conditions for the development and equitable use of all official languages, the following strategic objectives had been identified as critical:

  • Creation of the conditions for the development and use of the South African languages;
  • Equitable use of all South African languages;
  • Establishment of a linguistic human rights ethos;
  • Establishment of research capacity;
  • Promotion of PanSALB’s mandate deliverables; and
  • Creation of the organisation's suitable institutional ability to deliver on the core business and comply with legislation, regulations and prescripts.

Mr Monareng said PanSALB conducted its activities through three broad programmes.

Programme 1: Administration. The focus was on providing administrative support for optimal functioning of the PanSALB’s core business (Programme 2). It consisted of various sub-programmes, such as finance, supply chain, information technology (IT) and institutional planning and governance.

Programme 2: Language Development, Use and Equitability. The basis of this programme was the Constitution and the PanSALB Act, which was mainly about the promotion and creation of the conditions for the development of all official languages, including Khoi, Nama, San and sign languages. This was divided into a number of sub-programmes, which varied from dictionary development to linguistic human rights.

Programme 3: Public Engagement and Stakeholder Relations. In executing its mandate, PanSALB used the public engagement and stakeholder relations sub-programme for advocacy.

Mr Talifhani Khubana, Chief Financial Officer (CFO): PanSALB said the total budget allocation for PanSALB in the 2017/18 financial year was R108 million. This would be spent on programmes covering service delivery, language development, use and equitability, public engagement and stakeholder relations, and administration and support services. A zero-based budgeting approach had been utilised to ensure that the budget was distributed according to the priorities as much as possible.  Due to the smaller allocation, it was impossible to have a position-based strategy for the PanSALB. The mandates of the PanSALB remained largely underfunded, and this had a negative effect on the impact PanSALB should have on language development, use and equitability. Therefore, consideration for additional funding must be made, while management would continue in their efforts to attract secondary revenue.

The PanSALB mandate – its service delivery programme -- was funded by 65% of the R108 million appropriated budget. The support programme took up 35% of the appropriation. The capital budget was limited to R1.5 million for computer equipment budgeted for under the support programme.

Mr Khubana said PanSALB had received a qualified audit opinion due to material adjustment to the financial statements. There had been deviation, irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure, misstatement of leave provision, and general misstatements of the financial statements and non-compliance with legislation. Since February 2017, the human resources (HR) and finance policies had been revised and updated to ensure alignment with the reforms in legislation, particularly in supply chain management (SCM) and finance. 

Since the office of the CFO was also focused on ensuring that PanSALB achieved clean administration, systems of internal controls had been enhanced to detect and prevent incidences of irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure. To this effect the following strides have been made:

Development of a demand management and procurement plan;

A compliance checklist for all procurement-related submissions;

A review of the contracts/commitments register;

Comprehensive financial reporting;

On-the-job training for staff on a regular basis;

A standardized quarterly performance reporting template across the organisation to improve performance reporting;

Long outstanding labour disputes were being prioritised for settlement; and

The PanSALB structure –Provincial Language Committees (PLCs), National Language Bodies (NLBs), and National Lexicography Units (NLUs) -- was being focused on governance.


Ms T Mampuru (ANC, Limpopo) said the report was not talking to them as representatives of provinces. She asked the Department about the Tshate Heritage Site, which was in Sekhukhune, at Motubatsi, where she comes from. She was a little bit worried about that site because there was no progress in that area and the statue was situated next to two mining houses. She hoped that the Department would have serious consideration for that area, because they could not have a heritage site which did not generate income for them. Also, the statue was not protected, and as the Minister had said, the people must know who they are and where they came from. 

Ms Mampuru said R2m had been allocated towards activities in Maphungutswe and Marula. She asked whether there was value for money in those activities, because people did not attend them. Was it possible for cooperatives to be invited, because there was a Bawbaw tree, which produced yoghurt and other juices?

Ms D Ngwenya (EFF, Gauteng) said she had noted that the Department was going to make movies about the lives of other liberation heroes. She asked for an indication as to who those other liberation heroes were, because Members might have a different view of who those liberation heroes were. Mr Khawula had already alluded to the fact that the issue of heroes was very biased, and there needed to be a balance to cover all liberation heroes, even the unsung ones.

The Department had said it would be dealing with challenges of racism, because children in schools had been told that they were dirty since they had dreadlocks. How was it going to educate children to know that that was who they were, and that they should not be ashamed of themselves, and were acceptable the way they were? What was the exact vision statement of the Department, as she thought the previous one was better than the new one?

Ms Ngwenya said she was concerned about the issue of national days that were hosted and celebrated, because young people were being transported to venues where there would be music and alcohol. They would get drunk and hurt each other without learning anything about those events. For example, June 16 was coming up, and the same thing would happen. What it was that young people learnt from these events?

In terms of social cohesion, how was it planned to involve special schools and make them feel included as well?

Department’s response

Mr Mduwa said the Tshate Heritage Site had been identified by the Limpopo province as one of the liberation routes or sites. The DAC was taking it very seriously, and together with the intergovernmental committees it would be looking at the progress made regarding implementation of that particular site.

On the issue of liberation heroes, the Department had a Resistance and Liberation Heritage Route Project, which was designed to pay homage to those who had laid down their lives for freedom. Of course, it was looking at a variety of people, including sung and unsung heroes. It would not memorialise the heroes only by statues and museums, but in order to have access to the youth, it needed to begin creating an audio visual material experience, which was where documentaries, dramas and movies came into play. There was a wide range of people it would like to remember in a much more phased-in approach over time.

When it looked at the Resistance and Liberation Heritage Route Project, the DAC had tried its best to ensure that it gave a holistic story. It was not a story about just one political party, but actually gave recognition to all those who had participated in the liberation struggle. However, the Department could not right now offer a list of those heroes. The only thing it could say for now was that the principles it had adopted were the ones that said it must be inclusive, and should ensure that the story of South Africa was told in totality.

The Acting DG said that when it came to matters of racism and social cohesion that happened in schools,  the DAC always accepted the fact that that was not their space. That was the space for the Department of Education.  However, as a department coordinating outcome 14, it was working with all those departments that have begun reporting on what they were doing to fight against racism. Over and above that, it had deployed social cohesion advocates wherever there were outbreaks, to go and support programmes in schools and other areas in order to ensure a non-racial and non-sexist South Africa was achieved.

He understood why Ms Ngwenya preferred the old vision to the new one, but it depended on how one looked at things. The Department’s major concern was that if the vision became too long, it would lose focus, while if they shortened it, it was punchy. It could expand the vision in any other way, but it simply said this was the way the DAC wanted to be.

The DG said on the issue of libraries, one of the things that the Department was trying to do was to ensure that libraries began to deal with matters of disability in their different forms. It was therefore moving into that space and making it compulsory. It would only approve business plans that addressed these matters.

He agreed that there was still lot of work to be done regarding national days and how they were celebrated, and not just on the specific day. In the build-up, educational programmes needed to accompany the preparations towards an ultimate day so that people understood exactly why they should, for instance, have a Youth Day in the calendar of this country. These would depict the sacrifices that had been made by the youth in the past, and how they could be emulated by the youth of today.

Ms Monica Newton, DDG: DAC, said the Department supported 18 regional festivals around the country, and the Select Committee may remember that it had an uneven base for doing so, because the budgets were not the same. In 2015, it had harmonised the budgets and each province had received R4m for a minimum of two events. In Gauteng, this had been broken up into three events, and there were two events in Limpopo.

The cultural observatory was slowly but surely helping it to get a sense of the impact of those festivals. Since the establishment of the observatory, it had been working on the development of a monitoring and evaluation framework, which included training workshops across the country. There had been specific reports, for example, from Mahikeng in North West Province, and the Macufe National Arts Festival, which were available on the South African Arts website, where Members could sense what the potential was. However, the Department had not got to Mapungubwe yet. Through the observatory, the DAC had developed an online economic impact tool which could be used to try and create a standardised framework for how it understood the economic impact of the major events.

Ms Newton said the value for money question for an event like Mapungubwe was quite a difficult one because at the end of the day, the DAC looked at issues of social cohesion and artistic excellence, not just whether it got value for money. It was working with the Department of Sport and Recreation for both the Mapungubwe and Marula festivals throughout the year, to make sure they had the best festivals. Every year there were improvements and they got better, but unfortunately attendance in some years was not so good. A calendar of events would be sent to the Select Committee. The “Joy of Jazz” was coming up and tickets were very limited, but it would make sure Members got tickets through the various provinces.

The Chairperson said the Select Committee would in the near future invite the Minister and the Department to engage on some of the issues raised by Members. The Committee was happy with the manner in which it had engaged with the Department and PanSALB, and was looking forward to their next engagement.

The meeting was adjourned.

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