NEMISA impact on broadcasting industry; 2017/18 Annual Performance Plan

NCOP Public Enterprises and Communication

18 October 2017
Chairperson: Ms E Prins (ANC-North West)
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Meeting Summary

Nemisa gave a briefing on its contribution to the broadcasting industry, a brief look at its Annual Performance Plan (APP) and what its role would be as it changed to a new body called Inesi Ikamva National E-Skills Institute.

Nemisa was situated at the crossroads for all skills development and training in the field of communication in all its forms and its role was to train people in the skills required for the new digital age. In 2014, a decision was taken to bring together three entities, including Nemisa, to be a more effective organisation to meet the needs of the new digital age. Hence, Nemisa was an organisation in transition and while fulfilling its current commitments, was working towards becoming Inesi Ikamva National E-Skills Institute within the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services (DTPS). Nemisa’s vision was e-skilling South Africa by providing a national integrated e-skills development framework towards sustainable socio-economic development of South Africa at the provincial and local level.

Nemisa spoke to its contribution to the broadcasting industry since its inception in 1998 as a Section 21 company and as a broadcast school up to 2016 when it received accreditation for nine courses from the Media, Information and Communications Technologies Sector Education and Training Authority (MICT SETA). It listed the number of students that were trained in broadcasting and the national impact of the partnerships and training as well as the various learning pathways available to students. Nemisa then spoke to the APP which contained the following programmes; Administration; Multi-stakeholder Collaboration; e-Astuteness Development; Knowledge for Innovation; and Aggregation. The Inesi Bill was in the process of being finalised. The budget of Nemisa was R92.9 million, of which R42 million was for e-skills roll-out across the country.

Members said that the spending trends of Nemisa’s programmes were not clear enough in the APP.

Members said the budget aspect of the presentation was too condensed. Members wanted to know about the 2016/17 audit report issue on wasteful and fruitless expenditure. Did Nemisa have programmes running in the provinces? Members wanted to know whether the reference to Walter Sisulu University (WSU) was of WSU in Umtata or WSU in East London. Apart from the partnership with a university in Canada, were there partnerships with any other countries?

Members asked if there were engagements with the Department of Science and Technology. Members asked what progress was made on the curriculum of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) college courses, as some of their courses were not market related. What could the Committee do to help Nemisa assist TVET colleges in terms of higher education? Members said rural people did not automatically have access to information on a website. Did Nemisa have money to do road shows? Did Nemisa follow up on students they trained? What were the opportunities open to those trained by Nemisa? When would the market be saturated in terms of skilling students in the media industry?

Members asked whether there were working relationships between Nemisa and municipalities as well as the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), as there was a need to get information to the rural areas. Members also asked for comment on the challenges to the set-up of Ikamva. Members asked how children, especially in rural areas could get to know about opportunities offered by Nemisa. Members said the travel budget of Nemisa was very high. What impact would Nemisa make if its campus could only hold 35 learners? Members asked for a report on Nemisa‘s budget and how it planned to spend it. Members were concerned about the response of the DTPS on Ikamva as it appeared that there was no communication between the DTPS and the DHET initially. Members said there was no discussion on the absence of the political heads of the DTPS. Members said that no impact analysis was done and the Committee needed to see this report. Members asked if Nemisa was generating its own income or was it operating only from the state grant. Members asked if Nemisa received payment for the training of the Ghanaian students. Members said there was a need to go and see, in person, what Nemisa was doing.

Meeting report

Prof Walter Claassen, Board Chairperson, Nemisa, said that it was situated at the crossroads for all skills development and training in the field of communication in all its forms. Nemisa’s role was to train people in the skills required for the new digital age. In 2014, a decision was taken to bring together three entities, including Nemisa, to be a more effective organisation to meet the needs of the new digital age. Hence, Nemisa was an organisation in transition and while fulfilling its current commitments, was working towards becoming Inesi Ikamva National E-Skills Institute within the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services (DTPS).

Mr Doc Fick, Head of Broadcasting Department, Nemisa, spoke to Nemisa’s contribution to the broadcasting industry since its inception in 1998 as a Section 21 company. He spoke to its strategic positioning as a broadcast school to deliver requisite skills in radio and television and its courses were elevated to become a post graduate programme. In 2001, its name changed into the National Electronic Media Institute. In 2006, Nemisa was re-launched and its courses expanded to include graphics design, animation and broadcast engineering. In 2016 it received accreditation until the year 2021 for nine courses from the MICT SETA.

Ms Mymoena Ismail, CEO, Nemisa, said that given global technology changes, Nemisa’s vision was e-skilling South Africa by providing a national integrated e-skills development framework towards sustainable socio-economic development of South Africa at the provincial and local level.

Mr Fick then spoke to how Nemisa fostered relationships with other organisations such as the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), KwaZulu Natal Film Commission, the National Community Radio Forum, MICT SETA and the National Association of Broadcasters. He then listed the number of students that were trained in broadcasting and the national impact of the partnerships and training. He spoke to the various learning pathways available to students, for example the Further Education and Training Certificate in Film and Television Production Operations, the National Certificates in Broadcast Engineering; in Radio Engineering; in Film and Television Production; in 2D Animation; and in 3D Animation and Visual Effects.

Ms Ismail then spoke to how the new Nemisa model operated. Nemisa would not just focus on broadcasting, but would look at developing e-skills to make better use of technology to build the digital economy that South Africa was working towards. She then spoke to the APP. The APP contained the following programmes; Administration; Multi-stakeholder Collaboration; e-Astuteness Development; Knowledge for Innovation; and Aggregation. She said the Inesi Bill was in the process of being finalised. The budget of Nemisa was R92.9 million, of which R42 million was for e-skills roll-out across the country.

Discussion
The Chairperson said that the spending trends of Nemisa’s programs were not clear enough in the APP.

Ms Z Ncitha (ANC, Eastern Cape) said the budget aspect of the presentation was too condensed. She wanted to know about the 2016/17 audit report issue on wasteful and fruitless expenditure. Did Nemisa have programmes running in the provinces? She wanted to know whether the reference to Walter Sisulu University (WSU) was of WSU in Umtata or WSU in East London. Apart from the partnership with a university in Canada, was there partnerships with any other countries? She wanted the provincial breakdown of the number of the youth getting skills development through Nemisa to be forwarded to the Committee so that the Committee could see what impact the allocated budget was having.

Mr L Gaehler (UDM, Eastern Cape) asked if the high vacancy rate of the previous year was resolved and if not, when would it be resolved? Was any disciplinary action taken regarding the assets that were lost?

Mr E Mlambo (ANC, Gauteng) said there were engagements with other departments, but was there engagements with the Department of Science and Technology, which in his view was critical?

Mr J Julius (DA, Gauteng) asked what progress was made on the curriculum of TVET college courses, as some of their courses were not market related. What could the Committee do to help Nemisa assist TVET colleges in terms of higher education? He said rural people did not automatically have access to information on a website. Did Nemisa have money to do road shows? Did Nemisa follow up on students trained? What were the opportunities open to those trained by Nemisa? When would the market be saturated in terms of skilling students in the media industry?

Ms Ncitha asked whether there were working relationships between Nemisa and municipalities as well as the NYDA, as there was a need to get information to the rural areas. She asked for comment on the challenges to the set-up of Ikamva.

The Chairperson asked how children, especially in rural areas, could get to know about opportunities offered by Nemisa. Would there be an opportunity for 33 people, who would be in Johannesburg, to be allowed to visit the Nemisa campus? She said the travel budget of Nemisa was very high. What impact would Nemisa make if its campus could only hold 35 learners?

Ms Ismail said that the budget was not according to programme area because that was how the Chart of Accounts was set up, namely as a training institution. The change to Nemisa’s APP program structure was currently being done by the CFO.

On fruitless and wasteful expenditure, she said it was because of non-compliance to the PFMA. A board sub-committee, called Fincom, was put in place to look at finances, so the budget would be broken down in future and would show the impact of every rand that was spent.

On what was being done in the provinces and the issue of WSU, she said that all interactions with universities were via the Vice Chancellors’ offices. In terms of the model, there was a shift to a pro-poor policy. A lot of ICT opportunities resided in Gauteng and the Western Cape, so the question was how to move them to the other provinces. Nemisa reviewed the Memorandum of Agreement with the universities and what targets Nemisa wanted to achieve.

She said Nemisa’s environment scans would give an indication of who was doing what, with which partnership and how to mobilise them.

Ms Ismail said that the Colab allocation per province was now factored into the unemployment rate of a province and Nemisa would be happy to show the provincial breakdown figures in the future.

On vacancy rates, she said that the posts could not be filled because it was not necessarily what the organisation needed going forward. For example, one did not need a head of training when training was now going to be done in the provinces. Nemisa was in the process of completing its new organisational structure.

The issue of the loss of assets was serious and Nemisa was introducing a zero-tolerance approach and there were several disciplinary cases which increased and she saw this as a positive. She said performance management was very weak and Nemisa was moving forward in the implementation of a performance management framework and a consultant was appointed to assist.

On assets, she said that there were asset management difficulties regarding the disposal of assets and what the economic life of an asset was and its associated value. This work would be concluded by the end of October.

She said there were engagements with other state departments. Nemisa worked with the Department of Science and Technology indirectly through the DTPS and through the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). She said while there was talk of technical innovation, there was also social innovation and the appropriation of technology and this was being driven by the Director General of DTPS.

She said TVET was an important aspect of their work. The ICT for rural development in the Eastern Cape, together with DHET, relooked at the National Certificate Vocational (NCV) qualification with a view to capacitating the TVET colleges. Nemisa was currently revisiting Nemisa’s relationship with DHET and TVET colleges and she would be meeting with the heads of TVET colleges on 30 October to discuss courses that were not market related and how Nemisa could capacitate TVET colleges. Initiatives to capacitating TVET colleges were also being influenced by partnerships such as with Cisco and Intel for example. Cisco was re-starting its accreditation centres across the country. There was very little at happening at WSU for example and Nemisa was championing activity here together with Cisco. Cisco pledged to be part of the DTPS’ internet for all programme. TVET was also linked to the Department of Labour and Nemisa was looking at tapping the Unemployment Insurance Fund.

Nemisa was very weak on the issues of advocacy and awareness. The issue was around how to build an ecosystem. Nemisa was looking at a TV channel that could promote the work they were doing and were looking at partnering with community radio stations.

The International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) and Digital Opportunities Trust (DOT) pledged to support the internet for all programme. The DOT implemented its digital ambassadors programme across Africa. Nemisa was doing planning to spread this programme across South Africa. Localising this intervention would present opportunities and the aim was to transform South Africa into a digital society. Nemisa had a catalytic role in relation to partnerships. Local municipalities were one area it identified.   

She said that the Department was driving the transformation of Inesi. Nemisa, while it understood that the intent was the establishment of Inesi, was focused on getting its house in order regarding its existing APP, so that it did not get a qualified audit while it was moving towards becoming Inesi.

On the increase in the travel budget, she said that previously board members were all from Gauteng, but now the board contained members from other provinces and consequently travel costs increased. It was looking at using technology in the future.

Prof Claassen said it was interesting that the Colabs interacted with the institutions of higher education because the network of the universities was needed. Teachers in the Eastern Cape were brought in from all over the province for training and so the Colabs were becoming the driving force of collaborative work in the province.

On when the market would be saturated, he said the media market would not be saturated at all. New opportunities were continually being opened.

Mr Omega Shelembe, DDG, DTPS, said the work on Ikamva/ Inesi began only after its launch in 2014. In the beginning, the idea was to establish Inesi as something akin to a university. However, during consultation with DHET, it became clear that the mandate to establish universities lied with DHET and therefore DTPS could not establish Inesi as envisaged. The model was consequently changed so that the organisation would become a catalytic change agent via existing intermediaries such as universities and TVET colleges. There was agreement between the Ministers of DTPS, DHET, Finance and DPSA who all supported the business case. The legislation supporting the establishment of Inesi would be presented to Cabinet the following week, following which draft legislation would go out for public comment.

Mr Fick said that there was a partnership with the Algonquin University of Canada and a university in Malaysia between 2007 and 2009. He did not know the reasons why these partnerships closed. He said that Nemisa trained 60 people in Nigeria. Students from Ghana and Central African Republic (CAR) came to South Africa for practical experience.

He said the number of students on campus was over 100. There was place for only 35 students for TV and 25 for radio so Nemisa moved to the regions. He said there was no formal research on what happened to ex-students, but there was one informal study. He said there were 200 community radio stations waiting for Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) to kick in.

Ms Ncitha asked for a report on Nemisa‘s budget and how it planned to spend it. She was concerned about the response of the DTPS on Ikamva as it appeared that there was no communication between the DTPS and the DHET initially. She said there was no discussion on the absence of the political heads of the DTPS. She said that no impact analysis was done and the Committee needed to see this report.

The Chairperson asked if Nemisa was generating its own income or was it operating only from the state grant.

Ms Ismail said Nemisa did not generate own income, but solicited partnerships with organisations and institutions that were doing similar work. Nemisa had a relationship with IBM where IBM helped in developing capacity. Nemisa incurred no cost but assisted in driving the direction of the capacity development. With the Intel program, Intel provided the course material while Nemisa provided the venue. Broadcasting proposals were presented to partners such as the SABC and was driven within the current learnership model.

The Chairperson asked if Nemisa received payment for the training of the Ghanaian students.

Mr Fick said that Nemisa paid for the accommodation costs of the Ghanaian students, but he could not remember if a fee was charged.

Ms Ismail said that relationships were being reviewed. Management identified the need to bring on board a legal risks practitioner to mitigate Nemisa’s risks. She said she would check up on whether a fee was paid to Nemisa for hosting the Ghanaian students.

The Chairperson said there was a need to go and see, in person, what Nemisa was doing.

The meeting was adjourned.

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