The Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) briefed the Committee on the Robben Island Museum infrastructure plan, and acknowledged that the infrastructure and facilities were dilapidated and in a state of disrepair due to the lack of maintenance and slow progress of the capital works programme. The process that had been put in place through a tripartite agreement between the DAC, the Department of Public Works (DPW) and the museum, had not been able to adequately address and support the museum’s visitor management plan, and as a result visitors’ experiences had been negatively affected.
Some of the challenges faced in the implementation of the programme had been the non-functioning of the steering committee, delays in the signing of service level agreements and the transfer of funds between the museum and the Coega Development Corporation (CDC), which had set back the process by six months, and the establishment of structures outside the tripartite arrangement. The parties involved had agreed that Robben Island’s infrastructure had to undergo comprehensive rehabilitation, and a detailed implementation plan would be finalised after the completion of an assessment of the infrastructure’s condition. The steering committee would be resuscitated in September, and would meet on a monthly basis, while the two departments’ directors general would meet quarterly to strengthen oversight and monitoring.
Robben Island management made a presentation on their organisational review and structure, and on the restoration of the blue stone quarry. They said that after a scientific review they had found that most of the staff did not possess the skill set required for their responsibilities. Management had suggested that nobody be retrenched, but had instead introduced a lot of other measures such as performance agreements that would help in enhancing the careers of individuals. They were working on rebuilding the blue stone quarry without affecting its historical heritage, and were already holding preliminary discussions with former prisoners and other stakeholders on how to achieve this.
The Committee questioned some of the restructuring plans, the possible effect of contracts that were due to end next year before the completion of the intended work, and the capacity of the departments to execute the project in terms of skills and financial capacity. Members said that they wanted to see the work done speedily, before the end of their tenure in the Committee.
The Nelson Mandela Museum, based in Mthatha, said that after a review they had decided to change the organogram, since it was not well structured. Details were given of the restructuring, which had involved reducing management positions and changing the status of temporary employees to permanent employees. The Committee rejected the new organogram, saying it had been rearranged to suit the criteria of the current employees, and asked the museum to go back and develop an ideal structure for the entity.
Chairperson’s opening remarks
The Chairperson apologised for starting the meeting late, but said it was because she was not feeling well and that she would be leaving the meeting before it conclude. Mr T Makondo (ANC) would become the acting Chairperson when that happened.
Ad Hoc Committee Nominations
The Chairperson said the Committee had received five names from the Commission which needed the approval of the Committee, and asked If Members agreed that they send those names to the Minister. She thanked the Members for submitting their suggested names of the ad hoc Committee without delay, even thought it had been at short notice and they were on their Parliamentary break. There had been a request for five names, and that was exactly what they had received. She had personally looked through the curricula vitae (CVs) and thought that the people were qualified to do the work that was set out for them. She asked what the Committee thought about the names presented.
Ms N Bilankulu (ANC) said that since the Committee did not have time to really deliberate on the names, they should be adopted.
The Chairperson said that if no one was against the names, then they would submit the names to the Minister that same day.
Robben Island infrastructure plan
The Chairperson welcomed the officials from Arts and Culture, Robben Island and the Nelson Mandela Museum, and said the Committee was a mirror to the Department, and when they raised issues then they did not need to personalise the issues. The manner in which the officials listened to the comments of the Committee was very important. The issues they raised were not about them, but about the people that they were serving. It was really disheartening when the Committee raised issues with the Department and they listened with the aim of responding without trying to understand what the aim of the comment really was, because when someone listened with the aim of responding, they missed the point. The Committee had gone the extra mile because they were serving the people, and when one looked in the mirror one did not destroy it, but instead one used it to correct what was wrong. They should not personalise when the Committee tells them what they think, and if they do not respond to the things the Committee tells them, then there is a serious problem.
When the Committee was in Robben Island, it had been a shock to see that there was a misunderstanding between the Robben Island Museum and the Department of Public Works (DPW). The Committee wondered how long it would take to have the structure in place. She understood from experience that integration was something that officials did not like. The issue of the organisational structure was something that affected people directly and should be treated with the sensitivity required, because whatever the Department did came back to the Committee, to the extent that she had been called by the public and the press, even over the weekend, to explain the various issues raised.
Mr Vusi Mkhize, Director General: Department of Arts and Culture (DAC), said that the delegates to the meeting were comprised of colleagues from the DPW and Robben Island, which demonstrated the effort being put in place to ensure that cooperation and integration took place. They had responded to the call, as the Chairperson had indicated that the state of affairs at Robben Island was not pleasing. They had also visited the island on 16 to ensure that the response was in line, but had found a clear indication that the upkeep of the island was not good. An example had been the stone area, and it was evident that these areas were of grave concern.
The purpose of the presentation was to:
- Provide feedback and progress on the Robben Island Museum (RIM) facilities management (FM) and capital expenditure (Capex) programmes to date;
- Report on Milestones achieved;
- Report on challenges encountered and;
- indicate interventions and to present solutions under consideration.
The DPW was the custodian of immovable assets on behalf of the State, and therefore was responsible for infrastructure operations and maintenance. Robben Island Museum was an entity of the DAC, and therefore the DAC was responsible for the funding of Capex projects. The RIM was a World Heritage Site and a National Heritage Site, and given its significance and World Heritage status, the DAC and DPW Ministers and Directors General (DGs) had established an infrastructure governance structure, headed by a steering committee. The committee was mandated to speedily address the tripartite agreement mandates, taking account of:
- The definition of the roles and responsibilities of the tripartite parties – the DPW, DAC and RIM;
- Ensuring that all qualified and appropriate resources required to carry out the necessary work were provided;
- Developing a programme and implementation plan for infrastructure and asset management;
- Developing a facilities management strategy specific to the island;
- Establishing a task prioritisation model and a priority list for minor works and projects;
- Ensuring logistic support for the smooth running of the programme, such as accommodation, cargo and personnel transportation; and
- Ensuring compliance with all relevant regulations.
Mr Mkize said maintenance on the Island had been carried out by DPW personnel stationed at the Island between 1996 and 2011. Between 1996 and 2002, many qualified artisans, horticulturists and gardeners had left the DPW and could not be replaced, and this had resulted in a deterioration in the Island’s infrastructure, RIM had taken over the maintenance from DPW in 2012 after the continued deterioration and lack of maintenance. In 2015, the DPW, DAC and RIM had signed the tripartite Service Delivery Agreement (SDA) to collaborate on FM and Capex programmes for the operations and maintenance of the Island’s infrastructure and facilities.
In May 2015, the DPW had concluded a four-year Service Level Agreement (SLA) with the Coega Development Cooperation (CDC) as the implementing agent for the facilities management and Capex services required at Robben Island. Priority projects had been identified and approved, following a condition assessment of active facilities. In 2016, a decision had been passed by the Steercom that the DAC transfer Capex funds to RIM, and in June 2016, RIM had entered into an SLA with the CDC for Capex projects on the basis of the tripartite agreement and facilities management SLA.
The Robben Island Museum infrastructure and facilities were dilapidated and in a state of disrepair due to the lack of maintenance and slow progress of the capital works programme. The process that had been put in place through the tripartite agreement had not been able to address and support RIM’s visitor management plan adequately, and as a result visitors’ experience had been negatively impacted. The Portfolio Committee had visited the RIM and raised concerns about the deteriorating conditions. A follow-up visit by a team led by the DG of the DAC, comprised of the DPW, the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) and the RIM was carried out. Failure to maintain and repair infrastructure on the Island threatened the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) status of this iconic site if not urgently addressed.
The DPW was in charge of funding any maintenance and breakdowns, the DAC was in charge of funding the upgrading, replacements, restorations and extensions (CAPEX projects), and the RIM was in charge of funding the costs of doing business.
Facilities Management Contract
The objectives of the Coega Development Corporation SLA were that the CDC was to serve as the implementing agent for the DPW, to do maintenance, capital projects and to put together an FM strategy for Robben Island; to serve as a catalyst to implement resources and systems in order to ensure that all assets (covered in the scope) on Robben Island were properly maintained; to address immediate threats by reducing the potential risk to assets and losing its OUV status with the World Heritage Committee; to cover a wide range of assets, including buildings, infrastructure, cemeteries, gardens, quarries, recreational facilities, and maritime safety, as well as the natural environment; to conserve and maintain according to international best practice and South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA) and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) principles
The FM contract addresses assessments, repairs, maintenance, project management, expert advice, compliance to statutory and legislated regulations. It includes all maintenance work related to the active buildings, as well as natural fabric and covers, soft services such as waste and environmental management and pest control, technical services such as roads and sidewalks and storm water reticulation, general services such as cleaning external buildings, the helipad and event support, plant operations -- the desalination plant, power plant, diesel storage – and asset management in the health and safety environment. The FM programme was geared towards the RIM retaining its OUV status in the execution of the conservation and maintenance of the facilities
Facilities Management Progress
Power supply stabilisation –
An operations contract was in place, and all original generators had been upgraded. The power supply network had beenrepaired.
Water supply stabilisation –
The desalination plant operations contract was in place. The pumps and the filtration system had been repaired and upgraded;
Sewer system maintenance –
The pumps had been upgraded;
Diesel reticulation and storage –
The filtration system had been upgraded, the tanks cleaned, and reticulation upgraded.
General maintenance –
Attention had been given to projects on the original priority projects list at the beginning of the programme. A planned maintenance schedule was in place for the above projects; a call centre had been established. For soft services, waste collection was in place.
Repairs and maintenance –
Implementation was based on the plan that had been approved by Steercom, but progress was not satisfactory, hence the proposal for the RIM to take over the implementation of the infrastructure programme.
Horticultural service –
This service falls under ‘Soft Services’, but Steercom had approved the proposal for the RIM to provide the service and invoice DPW; the approval had covered three years through a team of 13 employees contracted to the RIM. Their contract had ended on 31 March 2018, and following the expiry, the RIM had appointed a team of five contract workers as an interim solution. The current team of five had not been able to push back the horticulture backlog, resulting in long grass and overgrown trees. An agreement had been reached that the DPW would allocate funding for the RIM to increase the team for the duration of CDC/FM contract ending March 2018. The agreement includes the use of the DPW tractor to urgently reduce overgrown grass.
The RIM’s SLA with the CDC required it to provide design for the construction and contract administration of the following identified and funded capital projects: the Bluestone quarry wall; waste water treatment plant; desalination plant; power generation; diesel plant and reticulation; electrical reticulation; and the harbour precinct. The CDC was to address the work in line with the objectives in the FM contract, taking into account the protection of the RIM’s OUV, and compliance with all applicable regulations.
Progress on the project was that:
- the blue stone quarry wall was at stage four (documentation and procurement), and was complete;
- the desalination plant was at stage 4 (documentation and procurement), but not completed;
- the new floating jetty was at stage 5 (construction) and was complete;
- the waste water treatment plant was at stage 4 (documentation and procurement) and was complete; and
- the harbour safety was at stage 5, where the service provider had been appointed and was currently manufacturing.
The total budgetary allocation amounted to R49 318 723.
Challenges experienced with FM and Capex programme
Mr Mkize referred to some of the challenges faced in the implementation of the programme. The Steercom was not functioning, but the executives had committed to attending the Steercom meetings and that would start immediately. There had been delays in the signing of the SLA and the transfer of funds between the RIM and the CDC which had resulted in a six months’ delay in starting capex projects, but this had been resolved. Structures had been established outside of the tripartite arrangement --for example, RIM and CDC meetings without the involvement of the DPW and DAC – and it had been agreed that capex progress and decisions had to be discussed at Steercom. There had been price variances between estimates and the market. There had also been the non-availability of the boat for trips to and from the Island, and it had been agreed that service providers would be accommodated in the commercial boat in order to contain costs. Finally, the project manager had refused to take the needs of the client over the architect’s inputs, especially on blue stone quarry project, and had been replaced in February 2017.
Referring to the financial implications, Mr Mkize said the facilities management project was funded by DPW, and the first allocation before the appointment of the CDC and condition assessment had been R52m. The estimated value at end of the four-year contract after the condition assessment was at R112m. The capex projects were funded by the DAC, and the allocations before the tripartite agreement had been R16m. Allocations during the tripartite agreement had been R49m, so the total allocations as at the end of 2017/18 financial year had been R65m. All these capex allocations had been transferred to the RIM.
RIM state of readiness
The RIM had proposed to the DAC that the DPW be the implementing agent facility management services. The DAC had already indicated its willingness to allow the RIM to implement the capex projects as the funds had already been transferred to the RIM, and it had demonstrated its capacity to manage the projects. It had already tested the structure in facilitating third party funded projects such as the Photovoltaic (PV) and battery power plant design installation and the Lotto funded memorialisation projects that had resulted in the restoration of the harbour wall and buildings, amongst others.
The DPW had received the RIM’s proposal to assume the role of implementing agent for FM services, and was processing the proposal with a view to giving its outcome by the end of September 2018. The CDC agreement would run its full course until 31 March 2019. With regard to horticulture services, the number of horticulture contract workers would be increased from five to 13 with immediate effect. Funds for the 13 contract workers would be catered for under the FM budget until the end of the CDC contract
Regarding the capex measures and interventions, condition assessments would be conducted for all the active and non-active buildings on the island. A comprehensive rehabilitation plan would be developed and implemented for all the buildings, guided by the condition assessment results. Rehabilitation implementation would be guided by the RIM, noting compliance, health and safety and the interpretation plan, and may necessitate temporary route closures for the implementation plan. The DPW remained the custodian of the RIM infrastructure programme
The tripartite parties were in agreement that Robben Island’s infrastructure must undergo comprehensive rehabilitation. A detailed implementation plan would be finalised after the completion of the condition assessments. The Steercom would be resuscitated, starting in September 2018, and would meet on a monthly basis, and DG to DG meetings would be held once a quarter to strengthen oversight and monitoring.
RIM organisational review and structure
Mr Mava Dada, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), said RIM’s management had conducted a scientific review into the organisational structure, and had found gaps indicating that the majority of the staff did not possess the skill set required for the responsibilities they had to do. The management had suggested that nobody be retrenched, but had instead introduced a lot of other measures such as performance agreements that would help in enhancing the careers of individuals. As it stood now, the structure had a head council, and the CEO and the internal auditors were outsourced. A chief operating officer would be appointed and frame out the current executive manager infrastructure and facilities to be solely responsible for infrastructure. The RIM would appoint two operating managers -- one to deal with facility management, and the other to deal with projects.
Mr Dada then handed over to Mr Gershon Manana, Facilities Executive Manager, to explain about the bluestone quarry wall.
Restoration of blue stone quarry wall
Mr Manana said the blue stone quarry embankment wall had been built by political prisoners at Robben Island in the period from 1964 to 1977 to prevent the ingress of seawater, driven by waves at high tide, into the working area. What was significant about this wall was that the engineering design had been left to the ingenuity of the prisoners. If the prison authorities had had serious intentions to waterproofing the area, they would have made resources available for the construction of a much stronger barrier -- even a concrete embankment -- but the idea was not to afford the prisoners such a luxury. This was the reason why the wall was significant. It was a form of punishment, and probably the only structure which the prisoners had to build with their own improvised design.
In order to reduce the risk of making mistakes and not perform a “live” experiment on what remained of this wall -- which was quite a sensitive structure -- it was advisable to build an experimental wall which could be evaluated by both local and international experts. This was the way to build confidence and a firm foundation for informed intervention on the actual wall.
There had already being preliminary discussions with the stakeholders. An inaugural preliminary workshop had introduced concept to ex-political prisoners (EPPs). There had been a preliminary identification of artisans (stonemasons) in SA and in the region to identify potential interns and university students who might be interested in participation. An assessment of material needs was required to be done in early September, with the submission of budgetary proposals at the end of September. The shipment of materials to the site and the setting up of the camp on week would take place in the second half of October. Construction and evaluation of the restored wall would take place in November.
Robben Island Memorialisation Project
The Memorialization Project had commenced in November 2016, initiated with resources raised by Makana Trust. The objective of the project was to preserve the social memory of the ex-political prisoners through a series of exhibitions, and an effective visitor experience. The memorialization project had now been integrated into the RIM’s strategic plan. The goal is to transform the Nelson Mandela Gateway (NMG) into a multi-media orientation space that would tell the story of the Island. New exhibitions were being installed about the history of the Island from pre-historic times to the present, and would allow the Island and the prison building to tell the story of the space as it was remembered by xx-political prisoners. All spaces would be restored and repaired to develop and deliver an exhibition master-plan that would give visitors a deeper sense of Robben Island. Phase one of the exhibition master-plan included Jetty One, Murray’s Harbour, the Visitor Centre, Die Ou Tronk, the Maximum Security Prison, and the Leper Graveyard.
Ms Tsoleli said that Robben Island had demonstrated that they were ready to take over matters and be the implementing agents, rather than third parties. She was not happy that the steering committee had not met -- they should meet and realise the matters that were actually being raised. If they were not meeting, they would not be able to implement the issues they were planning. They needed to meet and update each other on the progress. She was happy with the presentation of the Robben island infrastructure plan, and desired Parliament to fund and support the presentation so that Robben Island could be restored to its glory days. She asked why it was difficult to take out the water in the blue stones quarry, because she thought normal generators could do the job.
The Chairperson asked that since there was a contract that was to end the next year, what the implications were when it ended and there was still work to be done in the island, given there had been a lot of time-wasting among the parties involved. He was happy that Robben Island would be taking over, but were there any assurances that the work was going to be done as a matter of agency? Robben Island was a heritage site, so could the Committee get an assurance that the work would be completed? The Committee had been speaking about Robben Island since 2015, and they had wasted almost three years. During this time, prices had been going up, and he was sure that there was still going to be an escalation of prices.
Mr G Grootboom (DA) asked if the RIM had the capacity in their staff, with the right skills, to implement the programme. The budgetary allocation showed an R8.69 million allocation to a jetty, and the following year there was another R2 million for another jetty -- were these two different jetties, or an upgrade of the same jetty?.
Ms V Mogotsi (ANC) referred to the challenges regarding the pricing, as reference had been made to the use of market pricing, and she knew that in terms of tenders one was not supposed to adjust the prices. What were the market related prices to be used, and what were the benchmarks? Since the Robben Island involved a unique process that had not been done before, how would this be taken into account?
Mr Mkhize answered about the functionality, saying there would be a monitoring role to ensure that the decisions were implemented. He agreed that this was a real handicap and they accepted the responsibility to make sure it worked.
On the contract running till next year, they believed the RIM should be able to deliver. Between now and March 2019 when the contract ended, every other mechanisms of the transition arrangement should be put in place.
On the issues raised on the current projects, he agreed that it was a blame game, and that was why projects could not be implemented for three years, but they had now said that all stakeholders should go back and prioritise lists to be signed on what everyone was responsible for, and therefore they would not be able to walk away when the contract was over and say that their hands were off. He believed that the contractors were men of integrity and would stick to their word and implement what they had agreed.
On the market prices, he said there were areas that did not need generalists, and would therefore need very experienced expertise. A proactive plan would be developed for this project, and market prices were expected to be very brutal, and therefore would require a lot of scrutiny. When the markets know the customers are desperate, prices would escalate so they would have to assess the prices with a lot of expertise.
Ms Mogotsi said she was not satisfied with the answer concerning market prices. She wanted to be educated more on what happened, because she believed that they should have something to benchmark their prices on.
One of the delegates answered that as far as the pricing was concerned, the projects of such a nature had last been done in 1986 and 1990, so in terms of pricing things had drastically moved on and there was therefore nothing to benchmark on. The prices had been done on the basis of work that had been done, and one would have to double the market prices because the projects were tricky because of the transportation costs of the required materials, which were hard to estimate.
Ms Mogotsi said she was still not convinced. They needed to assist the Committee with bench marking. She believed that in the tender specifications, things really needed to be clear.
Mr Dada answered that on the issue of capacity, they were beefing up the structure unit and were comfortable that they would have the necessary capacity.
Ms Mogotsi said that they still needed to go back to the drawing board about the market prices.
Ms Tsoleli said that what was needed was action, not a statement of the problem, She did not want to hear that “we are going to do this,” since the Committee’s term was almost ending they needed action so that by the end of the term they would be able to present what had been achieved. She wanted to hear, “we are doing this.”
The Chairperson said what the Committee needed was specifics. They needed them to say, “this is what we are going to do, when and how”. They should not listen with the aim of responding, but to understand what was being said.
The Chairperson said that the last time they had visited the place they had requested a roadmap for the project and that’s what they want and they demanded that that roadmap be submitted before the end of business.
The Chairperson thanked the Robben Island delegation for the presentation, and said she hoped they would realise the plan as presented and that there would be no delays, because they would like to see the project come to completion pretty fast.
Nelson Mandela Museum Organogram
Mr Bonke Tyhulu, CEO: Nelson Mandela Museum (NMM), said that he would be doing the presentation, although he had also come with his colleagues who would assist in answering any arising questions.
The Portfolio Committee had visited the museum and met with the management, staff and council, where concerns had been raised about the organogram. As requested by the Committee, this presentation provided an update on the NMM organogram.
The main areas of concern had included the organisation being heavy in its top structure, with limited personnel at the bottom, the so-called middle managers were on fixed term contracts, and some employees were employed on temporary basis.
At the time of the visit, there were 30 approved posts, among them two critical posts were not funded. Ten of the 30 posts were management positions, the finance section alone had four managers, and in some cases the managers had no staff to manage or reporting to them.
Since then, management had reviewed the organogram, and the managers had been reduced from 10 to eight. The managers in the finance department had been reduced from four to two. The supply chain manager’s position had been changed to supply chain specialist, reporting directly to finance manager. The financial controller position was no longer pitched at the management level.
Working with the union, an agreement had been reached to change contract appointments of middle management to permanent appointments. The union had proposed that upon expiry of the contract, positions be advertised. The museum had advertised the jobs and was in the process of making appointments on a permanent basis. All temporary employees had been absorbed on a permanent basis. All junior positions were first advertised internally, and where there were no applications, positions were advertised externally. Only management positions were advertised externally, and the incumbents went through a screening process.
The revised organogram had since been presented to the council. Currently there were 29 filled posts, of which there were four executive managers, four managers and 21 full time employees. All these positions were proposed and effected at the end of the contract terms of the employees concerned in order to avoid litigation.
Ms Mogotsi said she was very worried with the organisational structure, since it did not look like an improvement on the last one. Further, it had been hard to follow since it was like the CEO was only talking alone, given that hard copies of the presentation had not been made available.
The Chairperson also complained that as to why they did not have hard copies of the presentation, which had made it difficult for the Members to follow.
Mr Mkhize apologised to the Committee for them not having the hard copies. He explained that the museum had sent them the presentation and the DG and his team had integrated the contents of the presentation into their own presentation, and that was why they did not have that exact copy.
The Chairperson said she had a problem with the DG, who was supposed to provide oversight. It showed that there had not been a discussion between the DG and the museum, because they had submitted their document to him and he had not communicated his opinion and views before they made their presentation to the Committee -- and he should have given them.
Ms Mogotsi said that she was really disappointed with the office of the DG. He should take the Committee seriously because the lack of an organised presentation was disappointing. Had the Department assisted in the coming up with the structure?
The DAC answered that it had assisted in the development of the structure, and the process had earlier been reported to the Committee in 2016.
The Chairperson said that the delegation had not understood the brief and had been confused. They were supposed to show the Committee the first structure with 45 employees, and should have recorded the new structure and stop confusing the Committee with rosy pictures, trying to paint their progress.
Mr Grootboom asked what the salary implications of the new structure were.
Ms Magotsi asked where the human resources (HR) manager was, because a good HR manager should have known better and presented a side by side view of the old and new structure so that the Committee could see the changes that had been made, and whether there was an improvement. What about the termination of contracts -- were there any financial implications?
The Chairperson suggested that the Committee needed the old organogram and the new, and the costing. The museum should go back, do that, and then come and present. Let them put side by side the old and the new so that the Department could see it with clarity. Was this the ideal organogram? There needed to be an ideal organogram that could make things work, not an organogram that fitted the criteria of the people who were currently present in the offices.
Mr Bonke apologised to the Committee, and said they would come up with a clear presentation.
The Chairperson told them to come up with an ideal structure without people, and then fill up the positions, instead of structures that fitted the current people. This would help the structure work even beyond the longevity of the DG, instead of a structure that benefited individuals.
The meeting was adjourned.
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