Department of Arts and Culture on Committee recommendations made during oversight between 2014-2017; with Minister

Arts and Culture

13 March 2018
Chairperson: Ms X Tom (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Portfolio Committee and the Department of Arts and Culture met to address issues raised at the oversight visits from 2014 to date.

The Committee raised concerns on how the Department of Arts and Culture resolves issues raised by different entities, and if the Minister of the Department plays a role in meeting with entities and Chief Executive Officers to resolve all issues.

The Committee suggested that the Department should always have detailed reports, without asking the Portfolio Committee for recommendations, as all recommendations are sent directly to the Department. Remuneration was one of the issues raised.

Minister Nathi Mthethwa said the Department is responsible for events relating to culture, art and heritage. The Russia and South Africa fashion show was a success, representing different entities of South African cultures, and with 26-year-old fashion designer Rich Mnisi who has three employees and Laduma Ngxolo who has 25 employees. The president of the Russian fashion show was impressed with the designers, with the DG discussing the birth of the BRICS fashion shows. The event was fully supported by the Russian Federation, which the Minister of Arts and Culture believes Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa countries should take part in Seasonal Traditional events.

South Africa made an impact within the film industry with the Solomon Mahlangu film “Kalushi” directed by Mandla Dube being selected as best film, and Lead Actor Thabo Rametsi received An International Award. for Best Actor at the Khouribga Film Festival in Morocco. 

The Department of Arts and Culture presented on the oversight visit and the intervention of the Department on the issues raised, and on progress made in addressing issues raised at the oversight visits by the Portfolio Committee from 2014 to date.

Committee Members expressed the need for the Department to have an overview of what will happen regarding the issues relating to the Samora Machel Museum, which is part of South Africa and Mozambique’s history; issues relating to the National Arts Council and DACOS on over paid salaries that should have immediately been addressed by return to the government, and particular processes need to be embarked on regarding litigation at the Performing Arts Council of the Free State; the case regarding Mr Machola should be addressed by the DAC but the official relating to the issue should bear the costs; remarked that he Enyokeni project is being built on cultural land, belonging to the Ingonyama tribe. Buildings cannot be made on cultural land and who does the precinct belong to; the report is lacking on the forensic investigation on the restoration funding on the Windy Brow theatre.

Meeting report

Opening remarks
The Chairperson said all meetings were important but the Committee had taken a decision that as it was starting to wind off because 2019 is upon us and would like to hand over reports that the people from this Committee will have an insight of what the portfolio Committee had done. The Committee had also started a planning commission, where the Committee would invite the people the Committee took over from in 2014 to give a picture of what it was like, to clarify issues, to ensure that the information that is here is the right information that what people get is what has transpired.
The Chairperson welcomed the Members to the meeting and thanked the Minister for the South African cultural observance to conference. It was really important to attend those conferences; the people appreciate our presence and that we find time to meet with them and to share ideas that we have. It was a good conference and we are hoping to get the presentation the Portfolio Committee presented there so that we get the full picture. The international ballet competition that she attended at Artscape in Cape Town was unbelievable, the last act was an awesome experience. She noticed the people who attended and thought there should be more of that for social cohesion. In terms of racism, if we don’t address these things it will be really regrettable.

After apologies were read, the Chairperson said the Committee was battling without a Content Advisor, she would raise this with the House Chairperson again because the administration has not responded well to this issue and it is an issue that was really retarding the Committee’s business.

The purpose of the meeting was to look at how far the Portfolio Committee and the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) is to look at how far the Committee has gone in terms of addressing the recommendations made by the Committee. The Committee makes findings and recommendations and sometimes the DAC cannot always implement the recommendations because of the prescripts it is using, but it needs to mention that it addressed that recommendation and why the recommendations cannot be addressed.

She brought to the attention of the Department that when recommendations are adopted in the House they should not be sent to the Portfolio Committee as they are sent directly to the Department through the Speaker’s Office and the Committee is aware that the Department has started to work on them.

The Chairperson commended the Minister of Arts and Culture on the sponsorship of the South African Designers sent to Russia to showcase their fashion designs.

It is of high importance that social cohesion is taken into consideration and issues of racism are addressed by the DAC to prevent reoccurrence of the past.

Briefing by Minister
The Minister of Arts and Culture, Mr Nathi Mthethwa, said the Department of Arts and Culture goes into detail in terms of what has been done on different aspects of the recommendations specifically for the entities.

Last year the Minister of Finance raised two issues: 1) GRAP 103 and instructed both the DGs of Finance and of Arts and Culture to work on it. 2) They also wrote on the remuneration of the Council of Entities, which falls under the Department of Arts, and which the Department is responsible for. Officials of the Department of Arts were asked to address the issue of the remuneration. An update had just been finalised and was received by the Minister last week.

On the area of term of office, the Act would have to be amended on the basis of the White Paper process.

Regarding the meeting with the entities, they would be briefed on developments made. The DAC has already spoken to the Chairperson on this, but more time would be needed with different factions of entities. The first of such meetings to be with the performing arts entity on 30 March 2018, Venue Gauteng, further details to be provided.

Whatever we do this year must always be with the understanding that this is the Madiba year, and Ma Sisulu, and also at the back of our minds Human Rights Day, the 40th anniversary of Professor Mangaliso Robert Sobukwe and all the events that are related to the Centenary celebrations are centrally coordinated at the presidency, with the DAC playing a part in the process.

Further follow up to be shared with the Portfolio Committee is the release of the recordings of the Rivonia trial to the public. The Rivonia trial is more than 230hours, which is available online on www.nationalarchives.gov.za It Is important to get feedback from the Members of the Portfolio Committee on this.

The 2014 Season Programme was addressed on the exchange of cultural and artistic heritage programmes, with countries such as France and the United Kingdom, but needs to be extended to involve BRICS member countries and Africa as a whole.

With BRICS member countries there has been an interaction with three partner countries, the only one left is Brazil, perhaps for 1919.

South Africa made an impact recently within the film industry with the Solomon Mahlangu film “Kalushi” directed by Mandla Dube being selected as best film, and Lead Actor Thabo Rametsi received An International Award. for Best Actor at the Khouribga Film Festival in Morocco. 

The South Africa, Russia season will be closed this week. Those who attended the event in Russia were Members of Parliament such as Ms Kahlua (ANC), Ms Nyambi (ANC) and a member of the Democratic Alliance, but they also happened to be there for the Russian elections.

Russia offered to help with the market pricing of the traditional guard, to set up exhibitions, selecting and shipping of materials. More than 200 people are attending the event particularly on the traditional guard.

Museum entities have also been exchanged. Iziko, Freedom Park, Ditsong are examples of entities being presented at the event. Looking at preservations and artefacts, Russian artefacts dating back to the 14th Century were also on display. Textile technology is also being used to help those that are either partially or fully blind which South Africa is trying to bring to its shores.

Russians pay attention to audience development, the love for arts and culture heritage is developed from childhood, with sport becoming a second priority as children get older.

The fashion show stole the show, with 26-year-old fashion designer Rich Mnisi who has three employees and Laduma Ngxolo who has 25 employees. The president of the Russian fashion show was impressed with the designers, with the DG discussing the birth of the BRICS fashion shows.

Committee Members who attended the event were taken to Moses Kotane and JD Marks graves. Russia honoured South Africa, because even though the bodies were exhumed, that space would not be occupied by anybody else.

Minister Mthethwa believes that there is still a lot that needs to be shared and to understand how oversights are done.

In closing Minister Mthethwa said the Matsamo Cultural village is a beautiful sight to watch and the Arts and Culture Promotion and Development (ACPD) branch is looking into what models, assistance or interventions can be done by the Department of Arts and Culture. There is hope for culture in heritage. They preserve Swazi culture so well in the schools that the people are complaining they are stealing the people.

The Chairperson seconded the beauty, culture and music that the Matsamo Cultural Village displays. But on the issues of the entities there needs to be engagement with the contingents that were there in November 2014, because the DAC said they have the means for cross pollination but contingents need to be clustered according to their mandates.

As the Portfolio Committee, administration is cross cutting and there are administrative problems in any entity, which need to brought together under one roof to share experiences and solutions for a particular area.

The Portfolio Committee thought the issues raised in the 2014 meeting would have been resolved, she suggested that everyone who attended the meeting be brought back together, to have a common understanding and find solutions for the administrative issues such as fund raising.

Minister Mthethwa said he meets with the entities every year. He met with the Chairperson of Play House. He believes that the administrative issue on fundraising is not an issue, because entities need to work with the budget they have. The Government cannot give them more than what the entities have.
It is important to understand what the issues are, what can be done with issues of Term of Office or Remuneration. Some of the authorities from the DAC met with the National Treasury on the issues of remuneration. The issue will be dealt with within a month or so.

The Chairperson asked Ms K Sethibelo (DAC) to give a briefing of what transpired at the 2014 meeting.

Briefing by DAC on the 2014 meeting
Ms K Sethibelo, DDG-IG, DAC responded that the DAC went to the meeting to listen and respond to some of the issues. The main issues that were raised, were the limited remuneration amount, three years Term of Office which does not give the entities time to settle and issues around government and budget limitations.

The Chairperson, asked if it were the first time the issues were raised or if the issues were raised and how the DAC responded.

Ms Sethibelo responded that the Chairperson of the meeting said they wanted to raise the issues but were not given the opportunity to do so. Some of the issues articulated were resolved and that besides the sector forum the Minister of DAC meets with entities twice a year.

Mr T Makondo (ANC) said Ms Sethibelo was correct in saying that after the Portfolio Committee being invited to the meeting, those present were happy that meeting was called and a platform was created to raise issues. The Chairperson is correct in saying some issues cannot be resolved by the Committee but rather the DAC, and there is a report outlining some of the issues.

The Chairperson said Mr Makondo was correct in mentioning the report and comparisons should be made between the issues raised in the forum and the DAC. The DAC should indicate if it will be able to call another meeting so that the Committee can include it in their Parliamentary planning because communication is important.

There is an issue with the achievements of targets. Targets are made but are not met, which was one of the findings of the Auditor General (AG). The PACOFS Chairperson tried to dismiss the findings of the Auditor General but was not allowed to do so. Getting the APP is a process and it has to be mentioned, if the process is to be completed before the end of 2018.

Ms Sethibelo responded that the Minister will be meeting with entities and CEO’s in April, a date will be provided. In terms of the planning, all entities were called to attend a workshop to underline ten key priorities of the Departments. Assessments and reports of the APP process were done.

Minister Mthethwa, added, issues of targets and Top Down were responded to on the Presidential day of election.

An instruction was given that views need to be given in the strategic plan. If it is about heritage Branches, Branches need to be one. Issues of fundraising and ACSA, there were complaints, but nothing more can be given.

In 2014 the 25 entities attended and many of them wanted to apply, but compliances have to be made with the process of the White Paper.

The Chairperson said that the Committee would like to conclude the meeting it had with the Chairperson and Deputies to be closed off professionally with a common understanding.


Oversight visit and the intervention of the DAC on the issues raised
Ms Sethibelo presented on the oversight visit and the intervention of the DAC on the issues raised.

The Chairperson asked for comparisons between the old and new document of 6 February 2018 and 13 March 2018 meeting.

Ms Sethibelo responded, the old document had typos and some projects that were visited by the Members of the DAC were not included in the old document and the Enyokeni Cultural Precinct was not included within the report.

There were no substantive changes or duplications.

The purpose of the presentation is to provide an update on the progress made in addressing issues raised at the oversight visits by the Portfolio Committee on Arts and Culture from 2014 to date.


Current Status – financial accountability, National Heritage Project company (NHPC)
 

  • The Department through its appointed independent service provider embarked on a Financial Audit into the accounting records of the NHPC for the two funding agreements (R28 million and R32 million) respectively. 
  • The Audit is in the reporting phase (draft report). 
  • The draft report was discussed with the NHPC on 19 February 2018 for noting, comment and, or submission of any further information/documents leading to the finalization of the report. 
  • The Department has received the final report which is being reviewed and it is envisaged that a final signed-off report on the results of the financial audit will be issued to the Department by the 09 March 2018 to consider the findings and recommendations.
  • The report on the financial audit will then be subjected to a review by Senior Counsel through the Office of the State Attorney in line with the legal opinion which gave rise to the financial audit by end of March 2018, after which the Department will make its decision on its contractual relationship with the NHPC.

 There were a few important notifications regarding the presentation.

1.      Community Libraries on page 11 of the document states:

The National Department has completed a Socio-Economic impact assessment for the South African Public Library and Information service Bill. The Bill will be submitted to Cabinet clusters for consideration in 2018/2019 financial year. The Bill sets norms and standards for libraries. The bill will be able to assist once approved, all the municipalities and provinces.

2.      Makhonjwa Mountains on page 13 of the document states:

Following the challenges on the nomination of process, the Department of Mineral Resources does not support the nomination as there has been a high concentration of a range of minerals discovered within the Barberton Mountain Land. Unfortunately, due to mineral deposits this cannot be declared by the DAC because it is not supported by Department of Mineral Resources.

3.   National Arts Council challenges and interventions

On the recommendation that the entity should appoint a qualified HR Manager with the requisite skills as soon as possible and simultaneously the contract of the pensioner who is employed as an HR Manager should be terminated. A qualified HR Manager has been appointed and started on 24 January 2018. The entity has terminated the contract with the pensioner as mentioned.

 

4.   PACOFS

  • National Treasury conducted a forensic investigation on spending of the capital works budget and the report was submitted to the PACOFS Council to implement the recommendations.

DAC is still waiting for the report from PACOFS on the progress regarding implementation of National Treasury regulations.
he entity should appoint a qualified HR Manager with the requisite skills as soon as

Due to time constraints, from conclusion of the presentation, Members of the Portfolio Committee were allowed to make a few responses.

Discussion
The Chairperson commended the DAC for the detailed presentation as it covered all the issues raised in the oversight meeting. She hoped there was an understanding that when the process engages in response to the recommendations, the DAC does not approach the Committee. All recommendations are sent directly to the DAC immediately the recommendations are adopted. The Chairperson quoted a letter from a lady from Ditsong, who said she was happy that the Committee came to Ditsong and listened to the people, even if nothing may happen, the fact that the Committee listened made a difference and it is important that the DAC responds immediately to issues because it is rare the entities are listened to.

Mr Makondo found the presentation to be fully detailed but was concerned that the report was only full of explanations of what is to be done. He felt issues need to be attended by the DAC before the media gets hold of the information.

A few of the issues outlined were the need for the DAC to have an overview of what will happen regarding the issues relating to the Samora Machel museum, which is part of South Africa and Mozambique’s history; and issues relating to the National Arts Council (NAC) and DACOS on over paid salaries that should have immediately been addressed by return to the government, and particular processes need to be embarked on regarding litigation at PACOFS, and there is not enough information provided on the reconciliation briefs

Mr G Grootboom (DA) outlined that the case regarding Mr Machola should be addressed by the DAC but the official relating to the issue should bear the costs.

The second issue is the issue on the National Arts Council, when the action against the whistle blower starts and if she is still under suspension or not

The Enyokeni project is being built on cultural land, belonging to the Ingonyama tribe. Buildings cannot be made on cultural land and who does the precinct belong to. There is no clarification of what the final costs will be.

What is lacking in the report is the forensic investigation on the restoration funding on the Windy Brow theatre. There is no feedback because impropriety was found but there is no action in regard to that issue.

Mr Makondo showed concern on the issue of Mr Machola. It was reported that Machola won the case. The decision was taken by the individual and PACOFS is providing funds towards the case, but what happens if Mr Machola wins the case again.

If the issue is still at the CCMA, CCMA will hand down an award. The matter cannot be taken to the same institution for every view. A higher structure being the Labour Court is needed on this matter.

Mr Makondo proposed that the matter be withdrawn because if PACOFS loses the case, the one who challenged the issue, needs to pay the costs.

Closing Remarks
The Chairperson advised that there be expectations and clarification on the outcomes of meetings that are held. Assessments need to be cleared on areas that need budgets.

The information provided will be handed to the Portfolio Committee, to respond to findings of the DAC during this term.

The meeting adjourned at 13:20.

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