Department of Arts and Culture 2017/18 Annual Report, with Minister

Arts and Culture

11 October 2018
Chairperson: Ms X Tom (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Minister of Arts and Culture, in his overview to the Committee, said he was happy that the project of changing names of the heritage landscape was continuing, but communities also had to be mobilised to understand the importance of this transformation. He referred to the unveiling of a statue of Nelson Mandela at the headquarters of the UN in New York, which was a milestone for a human being to be immortalised at the UN, because it had never happened before. More importantly, that day was characterised by a summit which was named after Madiba -- ‘The Nelson Mandela Peace Summit.’

The Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) presented its 2017/18 annual report, which indicated that  some of the factors contributing to the improvement had been a better understanding and compliance with the frameworks for strategic and annual performance plans, thus resulting in improved planning, budgeting and reporting processes. Over the last three years, the Department had focused on key strategic initiatives, rather than committing to activities that would not be possible to deliver. The AG had disqualified the Department for misstatements in the financial statements which had resulted in material adjustments; findings on non-compliance with regulations; and deficiency in systems of internal control to prevent irregular expenditure. They had also been disqualified on procurement and contract management systems that were inadequate; findings on predetermined objectives which resulted in misstatements in the annual performance report; and implementation of consequence management against officials not complying with regulation.

The Committee asked questions about litigation, under-expenditure, the Performing Arts Centre of the Free State (PACOFS) where Committee Members had been accused of benefiting from resources that were meant for the public, the employment of artists at schools, the breakdown and cost of overseas travel by departmental staff, and the whereabouts of the Department’s calendar of events.

Meeting report

Chairperson’s opening remarks

The Chairperson said that focus on the entities of the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) was non-negotiable because the bulk of the budget, roughly 80%, was transferred to them. Since 2014, the Committee had been watching with interest how these entities were operating. There were entities that were doing their work and performing well. The boards or councils within the entities were people who had full-time jobs, but in some way wanted to give their time, energy and expertise to society. The Portfolio Committee appreciated the work of those people and was grateful that they assisted the Department to achieve its goals.

If the Department achieved its goals, the government would achieve its goal as well. If the Department failed, the government also failed, so it was important that the focus should be on the way the DAC entities operated. The Portfolio Committee was appealing to the Department to strengthen their oversight over entities. It was very important.  The Committee had received a report from the Auditor-General (AG) which showed that there were improvements and regressions. The Department should look at each entity and ensure that the findings of the AG were being addressed in a proper way, because sometimes there were recurring findings. When the Department gets findings from the AG, they must have a plan on how to deal with those findings to avoid having recurring findings. It was important for the Portfolio Committee and the Department to ensure that they did the oversight to the best of their ability.

The Chairperson said that they had asked the National Library how much they had spent on litigation, and they said they had spent about R800 000. The Committee had asked them to bring a breakdown of this amount, because they wanted to understand exactly how they had spent R800 000 on litigation. No decision could be made, nor could a conclusion be reached until they got a report on how they reached that figure. The focus would be on the Annual Report of the Department.

The Committee were first going to look at the matters arising. The Department had been disappointing, because when the Committee asked for something, the Department gave them something else. Some of the documents the Department had sent the Committee were not requested.

The Chairperson said that they would receive the report on the issue of the Performing Arts Centre of the Free State (PACOFS), where Committee Members were accused of interfering or benefiting from PACOFS. The allegations should be substantiated so that the accused Members could be identified. These were serious allegations. Members of a Parliament were accused of using resources that were meant for the public. The Committee had asked the Department to assist in getting the statements on these allegations in writing so that the accused Members could be afforded an opportunity to respond. The National Art Council (NAC) would be discussed as well. The Committee had asked for documents. The minutes provided to them by the DAC were draft minutes. Draft minutes were for the Department and the entities, not for the Portfolio Committee. When they were brought to the Portfolio Committee, they should be the actual minutes, not draft minutes.

The third bullet point under the second item on the agenda did not refer to travelling in the country. It was for overseas travel, together with the cost and breakdown. It was made very clear, but what they had received from the Department was not what they had asked for. The Committee had asked for the names of people that were on the board; the projects that could be approved and where they were; and the budget and expenditure. This was made very clear at the last meeting. The Chairperson said that a lot of entities had been complaining about minimal budgets, but there was the Expanded Public Works Program (EPWP) that could assist the entities to get the work done with money that did not come from them. The Committee wanted a report on that as well. There were documents they had requested from the Department some three weeks ago, and they had not received them.

Minister’s overview

Mr Nathi Mthethwa, Minister of Arts and Culture, said that in going around the country to institutions of higher learning and reporting back to the institutions, he was happy to say that the project of changing names of the heritage landscape was continuing, but communities also had to be mobilised to understand the importance of transforming the heritage landscape. Limpopo had been topping the list in terms of heritage landscape transformation and had gone for bigger things. In other instances, there were smaller sub-roads which had been named after people. Limpopo had led on that, followed by Mpumalanga. Both of these provinces had slowed down now, not because of any reason, but even the ones which had not succeeded for some reason were still on that agenda, like renaming Louis Trichardt, which was to be changed too. That process needed to be embarked upon.

The Minister said that provinces like KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) and the Eastern Cape (EC) had not been vigorous. People did not have information and they thought that changing the heritage landscape depended on the Minister or the Department, yet it depended on the communities. The Minister and the Department would come in to decide whether the change should occur. To that extent, he really wanted to thank the people of the Eastern Cape, especially in Makhanda (formerly known as Grahamstown), for putting this matter on the table. They had proposed this a close to two decades ago, and it was recently finalised. Another matter was the White Paper, which they need to locate somewhere in Parliament -- it would help if it got into the hands of the Committee as soon as possible.

On 24 September 2018, Heritage Day, the President and Secretary General of the United Nations (UN), together with the President of South Africa, were at the unveiling a statue of Nelson Mandela at the headquarters of the UN in New York. He said that it was a milestone for a human being to be immortalised at the UN, because it had never happened before. More importantly, that day was characterised by a summit which was named after Madiba -- ‘The Nelson Mandela Peace Summit’ -- where all the heads of states of 193 countries around the world were debating and discussing issues.

He said that the world today was a difficult place. He had been listening when the Chairperson had talked about people taking each other to court and so on, which was a challenge, and if one looked at the global geopolitical situation, especially for the developed nations of the world, there was a tendency towards narrow nationalism, like what was happening in Brazil. Brazil was undergoing elections, and the person that was leading was very much in that category. There was despair generally in the world -- politics, economics and everything -- but what the world found uniting for them was Nelson Mandela. Everyone agreed that he represented humanity’s best interests.

The Chairperson was correct when she said the entities must always be monitored. There should be new ways of improving the grip on the entities themselves. From the Ministry’s point of view, they met with entities every week because there were instances where there were discussion between management and the staff generally, and PACOFS came into that. He had wanted to engage with them and had specifically convened a meeting with them. In some instances, when one sat with them, one would find that they did not talk to each other – the Chair and the CEO, and sometimes the directors – but when one got all of them under one roof one would find out that there was nothing really, and they only needed to be monitored, as the Chairperson had said. Mr Mthethwa said that once the branch became responsible, it must develop more ways of getting people to talk, because some of them go outside the board and management to the public, because they feel that they have not been given a platform to air their views.

The Chairperson said she thought that the Portfolio Committee could, through their constituencies, bring awareness on the issue of name changes. It did not have to be the DAC that did that, but people could propose that a name be changed in their own area. It was important for the Committee to assist in that area.

Department of Arts and Culture: PACOFS and other issues

Mr Vusi Mkhize, Director-General (DG): DAC, referred to the issue raised by the Chairperson about the Department not providing what the Committee had asked for, and said he needed to address it in his office so that when they responded, they did not run around and end up not giving the Committee what it wanted. He would make sure that the Department always got clarity if they were not sure.

Soon after the issue of PACOFS was raised in August, the DAC had written wrote to the chief executive officer (CEO) requesting that he make the officials aware of the matter, and that the Portfolio Committee might want to question the matter. They had gone back to the minutes of that meeting to confirm the names of the officials, because it had been recorded. He had done a follow up with the Acting CEO at the time, who indicated that he did not have the names of the officials at the time. In his letter, he had not included the names, and therefore he could not follow up on the matter, but he had shared it with the entity’s management and subsequently indicated that he would put in writing the names of those officials, and request a written expansion of the allegations so that they were submitted to the Portfolio Committee for consideration. One of the things that had come out clearly on the issue when they referred to the recording, was that there had been assumptions that Mr Makondo was being implicated, but that was not the case in that recording.

Discussion

Mr T Makondo (ANC) said that this matter had been outstanding for a long time. What he could not understand was that there were people who had come forward with this information, and then suddenly when the clarification was needed, the process had become very slow. He had first been implicated with the MACUFE cultural festival, and now it was no longer MACUFE, but something else.  He wanted to perform his work as a Member of Parliament (MP) without being blackmailed by whoever was doing that. He must be offered that opportunity as an MP so that he could do his work, because he had nothing to hide. As far as he was concerned, he was clean, and he wanted that person to come forward so that he could respond to the accusations. The sooner it was brought forward, the better. He requested that the information be brought forward next week. He added that the CEO and the people who had raised his name worked in the very same building.

Mr M Rabotapi (DA) said that if he had heard the DG properly, he had said it was not Mr Makondo who was involved in this matter, but another Member. He thought it was better if the Committee started dealing with these issues once and for all. They also needed to know who this other Member was, because Mr Makondo and the others were Members of the Committee, and when these issues were dealt with, the names must be revealed and put on the table.

Mr Mkhize said that on the issue of the National Arts Council (NAC), he had the leave register and payment schedule with him, but they would look to Ms Ajabulile Mtiya, the Committee Secretary, because she was not finished with it yet. With regard to the adopted minutes, the Department was still following up where they were, but they had to indicate that those minutes would have been adopted, but would require the Minister’s name and reference. The Minister would then have the opportunity to look at them so that when they handed them over, they had the other content.

The Chairperson said that they had talked about this a long time ago. The problem with the Department was that they took long to resolve matters, and this was a serious problem that they needed to sort out.

Mr Mkhize said that Minister Mthethwa had also indicated that the DAC needed to respond with speed on issues, because sometimes they got more challenges if the Department delays. The entities’ management was following up with these things, and he accepted the criticism.

On the breakdown of travel, they just needed to add the costs and submit it. On the adjudication board, the Department had submitted the names of the members and reported back on how it was planned, and the project approved. Mr Charles Mabaso, Acting Deputy Director General, DAC, would do a presentation on that.

The Chairperson said that when the DAC gave out documents, they must have a heading to show professionalism, because they were a reflection of the Department. Mr Mkhize did not have to be all over the place, but the Deputy Director-General (DDG) had a role to play when there were documents coming out of the DG’s directorate. He needed to ensure that the documents were professional and written in a manner that was not going to raise any questions.

She said the reason she had been invited to the strategic planning session was to tell the Department what the Portfolio Committee expected from them. She had put it clearly that 10 days before the meeting, the Committee needed to have the documents for the meeting because they had a Committee researcher who would to look through the DAC’s documents and verify the information. That was why the documents had to be sent long before the meeting so that they could also do their job as a Committee. If Mr Mabaso made a presentation that the Department had not sent to the Committee, he would just be presenting, because the Committee had not done any research on his presentation.

The Committee decided to postpone Mr Mabaso’s presentation until Tuesday.

Mr Mkhize referred to the issue of the EPWP, and said he had received the information the Department needed on Tuesday. He needed to engage with the Department of Public Works (DPW) as well as the entities to find out who had benefited from this and what had been done, as well as how they could benefit. He would hand that information over on Tuesday.

The Chairperson said Mr Mkhize were confusing her, because the Department had been given figures by the DPW indicating that they could create a certain number of jobs in the Department, and then the Department could employ people that were paid from the money.

Mr Mkhize said that he did not have that information, unless Ms Kelebogile Sethibelo, DDG: Institutional Governance, DAC, could respond to it.

The Chairperson said that the information must be with the DAC, because it was their responsibility to hire people with the EPWP funds, and then report to the Department of Public Works. The report should come from the DAC, not Public Works, because the DAC was the creator of those jobs.

Ms Sethibelo said that they were not reporting on EPWP because they had not benefited from that incentive. They only had a database of young people in the provinces, and they would forward it to the Committee.

The Chairperson said that it was a very serious crime that the money for the EPWP was not being used to create jobs. As a Committee they needed that information so that they could find out what happened.

Mr Makondo said it was disappointing to hear that the Department was not participating in the EPWP, because all departments across government were participating in the programme to assist in creating employment for the unemployed. He knew that at the Robben Island Museum, the EPWP was available. The museum was even using the EPWP workers to assist in cutting the grass and maintenance. Mr Mkhize should grab that opportunity to think around what it was that the Department could do to bring young people into the arts and culture and heritage environment, and then draw that funding from the DPW. Some opportunities the Department could use to create jobs were there in the environment space, like the rehabilitation of rivers. Some opportunities were in municipalities and other departments. The DAC had entities throughout the country, so surely something could happen -- EPWP workers could even assist in packing books at libraries.

The Chairperson asked if the Portfolio Committee would get the report on the EPWP on Tuesday.

Mr Mkhize said that the Department would bring the report on Tuesday. He also said that he would have to grab that opportunity, because any one job made a difference. He would engage with his counterpart and then sketch this information.

The Chairperson said that the Department should include in its reporting system the number of jobs that had been created. It was a very important matter because it had to do with the creation of jobs that were needed so much out there. Many of the Department’s entities were saying that they did not get an adequate budget. The Department needed to speed up in getting this information and acting on it, because jobs were really needed in the country.

She said she had received a presentation on the annual report (AR), and the AG had given the Committee a report on Tuesday. On the AR, there were improvements and regressions -- there were entities that had improved, and some had a problem with Grap 103 (Heritage Assets). The intervention that came had really assisted some of the entities with Grap 103. The Committee applauded those entities that had worked very hard. The financial statement had shown improvement in that area as well. In the previous financial year, the performance had been 62%, but in the financial year under review it had gone up to 72%. In the area of quality performance, there had been a regression from 73% to 69%. On compliance with legislation, it had improved from 15% to 31%. Irregular e had increased from R129 million to R135.5 million.

Minister Mthethwa said that he wanted to personally express appreciation from the point of view of the Portfolio Committee as it related to Grap103, which could have been easily used for political motives, and the insight of the Members in understanding what it was about had been helpful, even in the engagement with National Treasury. In 2019 there would be a review of this.

He said the Chairperson had always raised the issue of consequence management, and the AG had touched on that matter. Something was being done now which had not been done before, but still more could be done. On irregular expenditure and the quality performance area, and over and above that, there must be improvements. A thorough explanation must be forthcoming, as well as what to do going forward. The improvement was there, modest as it was. The major thing that he had discussed with the Department was that there was nothing raised by the AG which could not be dealt with so that they got a clean audit. They should just focus on the matters which had been raised.

DAC’s 2017/2018 Annual Report

Mr Mkhize and Mr Makoto Matlala, Chief Financial Officer (CFO): DAC, presented the 2017/18 annual report, which indicated that the Department had strategic goals for a transformed and productive Arts, Culture and Heritage (ACH) sector, and an integrated and inclusive society. They also had goals for an efficient, effective, professional and capacitated ACH sector.

Mr Mkhize said that over the past financial year, the performance of the Department had improved and some of the contributing factors to the improvement had been improved understanding and compliance with the frameworks for strategic and annual performance plans, thus resulting in improved planning, budgeting and reporting processes. Over the last three years, the Department had focused on the key strategic initiatives, rather than committing to activities that would not be possible to deliver. They had improved synergy and alignment between the quality assurance providers, such as internal audit, monitoring and evaluation, finance and the risk management unit. More internal controls were implemented as per recommendations from the internal audit unit and the AG, thus improving the standard operating procedures and subsequent achievement of the planned targets.

The AG had disqualified the Department on misstatements in the financial statements which had resulted in material adjustments; findings on non-compliance with regulations; and deficiency in systems of internal control to prevent irregular expenditure. They were also disqualified on procurement and contract management systems that were inadequate; findings on predetermined objectives which resulted in misstatements in the annual performance report; and implementation of consequence management against officials not complying with regulation.

Discussion

The Chairperson thanked the Department for a presentation that had been detailed and given the Committee all the information that they needed. Some of the issues raised by the AG, such as the issue of artists at schools, had been raised since 2014. This issue was a focus of the Committee’s first oversight visit, and all the calls were made in Limpopo because they were not accepted within these schools. The teachers wanted to teach, and they saw art as a waste of time. They had come back and told the Department what they had found out there and told them to deal with the matter, but it was 2018 now and the matter had still not been dealt with.

On the issue of under-expenditure, whatever reasons the Department had for under-spending, the people out there and the artists who were the stakeholders, did not know. At the end of the day the Department was the one that was going to be disqualified by the Auditor General.

The Chairperson asked the Department what the relationship between moral regeneration nationally and provincially was, and what had happened to the SA Public Libraries and Information Services bill. Was there any legislation in the pipeline? She referred to an art centre in Queenstown that was doing a lot of work. A child from a school had gone there asking to be helped with playing an instrument and it had been discovered that he or she was an orphan staying with the grandparents, so the person assisting the child had to go to Social Development and visit the grandparents. Arts centres were where one could to allow young people from schools to come in to learn and be assisted with homework, and learn how to play instruments as well, so that at the end of the day the time between the end of school and the return of the parent from work was used fruitfully. This was the contribution of arts and culture in situations that pertained to society’s needs. These arts centres should be where children were taken off the streets during the time between coming from school and parents coming back from work.

Mr Makondo said he was worried about the findings of the AG, but he understood that the findings highlighted the challenges with regards to planning. He did not know if the Department were aware of the “smart” principle of goal setting, but if they were aware, why did they set targets that they couldnot achieve? Before they set a target, they must be able to make an assessment, not wait for the AG to do it for them. He thought the Department needed a workshop on goal setting.

When the CFO had presented on Thursday, he developed an interest with regards to the under-spending in the branch of Institutional Governance (IG). IG had under-spent on the transfers to entities. Entities like Robben Island Museum could not submit the required documentation that was needed by the Department to transfer money, but there had been an explanation that a lot of money that was sitting in the IG branch was not supposed to be in IG, but was supposed to be in Heritage. Mr Makondo said he wanted to understand whether the very same money that was supposed to be transferred to Robben Island was for infrastructure. What was it that Robben Island Museum was supposed to submit so that the money could be transferred to them? He was happy because the Department had achieved 100% on the installation of entities, but on the issue of whether they were going to fall back in the coming days, he asked if the DAC had made an assessment of the councillors whose term of the office were coming to an end, and if they had put plans in place to make sure that they did not fall short with that particular target.

Mr Makondo referred to employment equity, he does not see the DAC getting to 50% unless they explained to him how they quantified not only in terms of numbers, but also in terms of categories in their Senior Management Service (SMS). He asked that when the Department spoke of SMS, did it comprise Chief Directors or Directors. He could be convinced that the DAC could reach 50% if he were given an explanation. He knew of one position that was vacant at the DDG level, and the person who was in that position. He asked if the filling of that position would assist the Department in achieving 50%, or if the figure of 50% equity was in terms of all categories that the Department had put together for SMS. He also asked what the vacancy rate for their SMS was. If the CFO was recruited by another department, before the DAC advertised his post, they should have a person in mind who could stand in while they were filling the position.

Mr G Grootboom (DA) said that at the beginning of a school year, the first thing they were given was a list of things that must happen during the calendar year. The Chairperson had mentioned that since 2014, the Committee had been asking the DAC for a calendar of events for the whole year, and they had received a draft calendar only towards the end of 2017. He said it was important for the Members who wanted to support the Department at some of the events to get the calendar in time, because they needed to do proper planning.

Another issue he wanted to raise, apart from planning, was the moral regeneration movement. Since 2015, the Department had supported one project, or one company – MRM. Moral regeneration was not the DAC’s core function, and hence there was no other MRM. Another issue they had been raising was the artists in schools project. He knew of artists across the country who were without work or who could not perform anymore. The criteria set for the artist-in-schools project were an important aspect when it came to the cultural and skills transfer to young people. Another question was around the cultural observatory. He agreed with the AG’s report because now the Department were using the cultural observatory for something else, and paying them for their work.

There were issues that he wanted to ask about Robben Island, but when the Department reported, there had been an overview that everything was fine at the island. However, the AG’s report showed that everything was not as good as it looked, and he would like the Department to explain this when it came back next week.

He asked if the litigation issue against the previous board, as mentioned by Minister Mthethwa, had been dealt with. Was the Department’s language unit functioning? When last did the Department get a report in terms of implementation of the Official Languages Act of 2012? Where was the language unit currently located?

He added that on Tuesday, the Committee had commended the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) for taking legal action against DAC officials, but now they had found out that for the past three years, the Department and the head of its entities had failed to take disciplinary action against officials who were not compliant. The Committee had to get an explanation for that as well.

Mr Makondo said that the Mzansi Golden Economy (MGE) seemed not to be very successful in creating sustainable jobs, or in creating Jobs. The Department was paying rental on a building that was currently unoccupied. He asked for an explanation.

The Chairperson asked if the Department had ever looked at its vision and evaluated itself on how far they were from the vision that they had set. It was important, even in one’s life, to have a moment where one paused and looked at what one had wanted to achieve and what one had done so far.

She asked if the Department had had artists in schools for five years, and what impact they had had on the communities. She would like to understand the Department’s process of employment, and if there was any employment agency they were working with.

She asked how the issue that had been raised by the CFO about interns and contract workers being phased out would be done, and if their contracts were coming to an end. The Portfolio Committee needed to understand that issue, because they would not like a situation where a person’s contract was terminated because of a fear of over-spending, when they had given that person an opportunity to do the work.

The Chairperson said that there were issues that were recurring when it came to the findings, and they would love to have matters such as the Enyokeni Cultural Precinct and the Winnie Mandela House put to rest before they left office. The Department would never put these matters to rest if they did not know what was going to happen to those who had caused the fruitless expenditure. In the Annual Report, there were things that the Department had not reflected, such as the investigations that were done by the Department. These were matters that were in the public domain, and it was important for them to be reported so that anybody could see that the Department was actually dealing with issues that were seen to be corrupt.

The issue of expenditure management had been raised, and it was a recurring matter. Did the Department have a plan that responded to the issues raised by the AG, so that the Committee could monitor it?  

The Chairperson asked the Department who was being trained when they were talking about records management training -- was it were people within or outside the Department? It was also important for the Committee to know how much money had been spent on litigation. The National Library had spent R800 000 on litigation, and they had not told the Committee, and someone had been dismissed. This person had taken them to court, and the court had ruled in favour of the person. They had had to pay that person for three months, and that money came from taxpayers. It was high time the Department followed what the Constitutional Court had said, that as a board member who had taken the decision, one would have to pay from one’s own pocket if one challenged things that were not challengeable just because one disliked a certain person.

DAC’s response

Mr Mkhize said that the issue raised by the Chairperson regarding under-expenditure was something that the DAC should not have allowed. They would work on those areas. They had indicated the area of infrastructure as one of their biggest problems, and they welcomed the comments and guidance, but most importantly they had to have proper measures in place when they presented under-expenditures. They had indicated on Tuesday that one of the key interventions related to having proper planning of projects and infrastructure, and that was what he could say regarding issues around under-expenditure because government provided money for it to be spent on service delivery.

Regarding the MRM and the provinces, there were two issues that they had agreed on in this financial year. One was the financial issue, where they must increase the budget so that they could do more of the work based on the strategic role they were expected to play. That role was dealing with a society ravished by a lot of violence and moral degeneration, so there was a need for the budget to be revised. The second matter about why only one MRM was supported by the Department involved a challenge about a cultural organisation which required intervention to establish a proper governance structure to deliver its mandate as an MRM.

Mr Grootboom asked if the MRM was under the office of the Deputy President.

Ms Sethibelo said that the Deputy President was the patron of MRM. There had been a Cabinet decision that the Department should submit memos to Cabinet on the MRM programme. The Cabinet had decided that it should be funded by the DAC because of its role. There were other programmes that the Department was supporting, like the social advocacy programme, and they had a budget for that.

Mr Mkhize said one of the things they needed to do as a Department was that they could not have an external department to tell them whether there was progress or not. They needed their own mechanism for the community art centres or libraries, to make sure that there were site visits to check whether the projects were really moving before the DAC could continue to pay. Even when they submitted proposals, the Department would require that they got proof that the projects were on-going, but they would also go and do a sampling.

They would strengthen onsite verification inspections. They had also agreed that each DDG would be allocated a cluster of entities to examine, so it would not only one DDG. They would be able to use that process as a common tool for monitoring and supporting entities.

Regarding Robben Island, there was a segregation of money that was transferred by the unit and there was money that was sitting there for legacy projects.

He said that SMS personnel were from the director (level 13) upwards, and it was very easy to monitor whether they were at risk or not.

Mr Mkhize said that on the issue of succession planning, he fully agreed with the point of training the people below him. The Department needed to grow its own timber, so that when people were ready to compete for a post they could create what human resources (HR) called a pipeline, so that people could compete. Even if those people who were trained would still need to compete -- the problem was whether they were ready to compete effectively.

Mr Makondo said that it was the DG’s duty to to identify the people below him. If he had a team he was working with, he could see those that had aspirations and had the ability, and then he could develop their capacity. The DG needed to develop a deliberate programme as the head of his institution, and by doing that he would be assisting the people below him. The Committee must be able to know in the next five years, that when the DG left, there would be someone among his team who would capable of taking over that responsibility, but that depended on him as the DG, coaching his team on how things were done, and he must also give them responsibilities. As the Chairperson had said, the DG did not have to be all over -- he must delegate, give his people responsibility, and then make his own assessments, and if he finds weaknesses in a person, he should assist that person. By doing that, he would be making that person ready to take responsibility when the time came.

Mr Mkhize said the calendar for the year had been developed, but they needed to refine it, and then they would provide it.

The Chairperson said that the calendar matter was a tale. They would leave office without getting it. The Committee needed the calendar because they do not go to jazz festivals, for instance, just for fun, but with the aim of doing oversight, to oversee what was happening there with the money provided for the event.

Mr Mkhize said that they just needed to refine the calendar and re-submit.

On the issue of artists in Schools, the criteria were very clear because they could not use anyone who could not relate to their pupils, and at the same time did not have experience or knowledge. In terms of monitoring, the Department should be able to account for artists who were going to schools, and where they were, and had to monitor and get reports from the principals as to whether these artists were present, what they did, and what time they arrived. They could not just send artists to schools to talk to the learners -- they also needed evidence of what these artists did.

The Chairperson said that it were important for the Department to evaluate these programmes. The Department must find arts centres where children would go after school, and that way they would not have to negotiate with principals or anyone. Children would go to these centres where they would be provided with a light lunch and assisted with their homework. The Committee did not even know how the Department identified these schools. It was important for the Department to evaluate the work they were doing, and to think clearly about what must be done to ensure that they have an impact where they were.

Mr Mkhize said that they had asked the South African Cultural Observatory (SACO) to do an impact assessment, and they had dealt with one of the areas the AG had identified as a problem.

The Chairperson said that the AG had said the Department had increased the number of scopes. She asked if the Department had any processes when they were adding these responsibilities.

Mr Matlala said the amount in the contract was R25 million over a three-year period, and SACO was doing a lot of research and assignments under the Department of Arts and Culture. When the White Paper was finalised, there was supposed to be a socio-impact analysis. The Department was going to exceed R25 million when it gave them extra research, and the responsibility of the Cultural Observatory was to do the research on behalf of the Department.

The Chairperson said that the DAC had given SACO a lot of work to do and they were doing it. She asked the Department if they were sure their capacity would enable them to deliver on those objectives, because they had a lot of work to do and the Department was piling work on them. How much had they spent on that? Were there any employees of the Department that were doing business with the DAC? Had anyone in the Department disclosed that they owned a company? She had once asked the National Library if there was any member of the Council who was paid a consultation fee. They had said no, and then five minutes later had confirmed that there was. The Committee wanted to be told about what were happening. Sometimes they asked questions like teachers. They ask something that they knew the answer to, so it was good for the Department to just tell it as it is.

Ms Matilda Magozi, DDG: Corporate Services (CS), DAC, said that there were still some vacancies like DDG: Arts and Culture Promotion and Development (ACPD), Chief Director: Human Resources (CD:HR), Chief Director: Heritage Promotion and Presentation (HPP), and Director: Performing Arts. The Department had vacancies at the SMS level where they were targeting more females so that they did not sit in the same position at the end of current financial year. They used employment agencies, but their first point of departure was advertising in the media. When they had vacancies, they advertised on the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) website, but if they failed to get candidates, they ask permission to advertise with agencies.

Regarding litigation, Ms Magozi said that she would like to get information first.

In terms of the people doing business with the state, one person had been identified, and that person was on contract with the Department. When they were doing their disclosures, 100% of the Department’s senior managers had disclosed. There was a policy that if one had a company, whether one was doing business with the state or not, one must get permission. Departmental employees were not allowed to do business with the state, but if one had remunerative work outside of the Department, then they could be given approval.

Mr Mabaso referred to the Mzansi Golden Economy, and said the overall objective of MGE was to contribute to job creation. Sometime in 2016, a commission had looked at the jobs created and the impact of the entity. They had sampled six organisations – events companies that together had got about R129 million over a three-year period. They had looked at what interest had been created, and the types of jobs created over the three years, and had found that collectively there had been about 26 000 jobs.

The Chairperson asked Mr Mkhize if he had received the letter from someone called ‘Mongezi’, and if he had responded to him.

Mr Mkhize said that he had received a letter and had engaged with him. He had tried to chat with him and Dr Jokweni. Dr Jokweni advised him, and he had considered the advice, but had felt that it was more important that they meet because they had indicated that going back was not going to help.

The Chairperson said that the way the DG responded to people who came knocking at his door was very important, and she commended him.

She said that when responding to some of the questions, Mr Matlala should tell the Committee how much the forensic investigation had cost the Department, and also comment on the issue of the South African Heritage Resource Agency’s (SAHRA’s) expenditure.

The Chairperson asked if the Department had spent any money on consultants, and what those consultants were doing.

Mr Matlala said that when one ran a report on a company, it already told one whether those directors or shareholders were working for the state. He was currently only appointing service providers who were on the Central Supplier Database (CSD). It was a requirement, because once one used someone who was not on the CSD, it would result in an audit finding.

In the other review, the people identified were actually the beneficiaries of MGE because the system was not channelled to ensure that the names of beneficiaries who applied would get to the directors of the region. They had already identified, when they adjudicated, how they were going to make sure that these people who were applying for funding were not working for the state.

All the Department’s variations had to be taken to Treasury before implementation so that they got a second opinion in advance, in order to get support from Treasury. There were officials in the Department who reached agreement through consultation with Treasury, and these officials were monitoring the implementation of the conditional grant. When there was no limitation on increasing the compensation budget, initially the agreement was that they could increase it so that they could employ officials to do the work of monitoring the conditional grant. However, because of the restrictions, they could not agree because currently they could not appoint a consultant without Treasury asking them to have a business case to say what it was that this person was going to do which they could not do internally.

Mr Matlala said that Mr Grootboom had asked about expenditure on an unoccupied building. It was currently an unoccupied building, but before they moved to the new building, the Department had signed an agreement that they would investigate it in August 2015. They had not moved to this building due to risks that had been identified. There had been a request that it was critical that the Department rent buildings that were big. It was looking at putting that building up for auction. The building they were occupying now covered 17 000 m2, but they needed only about 11 000 m2, so instead of paying a huge monthly rental, they would get a building that was suitable because these rentals had financial implications. This had delayed their move into the building. There was a contract signed by the accounting officer of the DPW and the landlord, in which there was a settlement arrangement that they needed to pay tenant installation before they moved to the building. There was a negotiation between Treasury and DPW that out of R58 million, the Department would take R8 million for rental. They were paying for rental for the time they did not occupy the building, and they have not occupied the 17 000 m2 that they had communicated with DPW. They were not paying for the whole building, only for the portion that they were occupying.

Mr Grootboom said that he failed to understand why the Department had signed the contract for the building when they knew what their needs were. Their needs had not been met, but still they had signed the contract. The building was not occupied but they were paying for it. This was a waste of government’s money.

The Chairperson said that it did not sound good, but as Mr Grootboom had said, it had to do with planning. The Department had signed on the  dotted line while they knew they would not be needing the whole place, and now they were caught in that trap, and the AG had disqualifies them for that.

Mr Vusi Ndima, DDG, DAC said that there were two questions that he needs to respond to. The first one was about the Bill. The Bill had been presented to the Social Protection, Community and Human Development Cluster on 15 August 2018, and the next step would be presented to the Government and Administration Cluster working group on 18 October 2018. It would then go to the cluster, because the technical working group was a lower body, and only after that would it go to Cabinet. That was where the Public Library and Information Services Bill was.

There had also been a question with regard to record management. The training was for records officials, registry clerks, records managers of government bodies such as government departments, the Ministry, and public enterprises that were on a national level. They were trained because they were national. All the information with government departments had to go to the archives.

The Chairperson asked how far this training went per annum.

Mr Ndima said that they trained people who were going to do the job, but only at national level. This was a concurrent function, and the archives at the provincial level were supposed to do their own training.

The Chairperson said that she were looking at a national department, and wondering if they could train everybody.

Mr Ndima said that every year there was training -- it was an ongoing process.

The Chairperson said that the Committee did not deal with “ongoing processes,” but wanted specifics that by a certain year they would have trained a specified number of people in every department, so that at the end of the day they could time themselves, because if it were an ongoing process, it would take forever. Planning was very important, and it gave one an idea that one was going towards something. She also asked about what was happening with projects referred to in the annual report that would take more than five years.

Mr Ndima said that they were at various stages. For example, the OR Tambo and JN Dube projects fell within the category of those that had been dealt with by the Independent Development Trust (IDT),  but they had come up with a recovery plan. On the wetland church, the province had done the renovation of that church.

The Chairperson said that they had been discussing the libraries of provinces. Provinces were the Department’s mandate, but in their budgets, they budgeted very little for libraries. Libraries depended only on grants. The Department needed to ensure that they started small and grew, because it was their mandate. What would happen if the grants were no longer issued? When the Department said moral regeneration was a national structure, what was national, because all these things happened in municipalities?

The Chairperson encouraged the Department to have a dialogue, especially with their entities. They needed to communicate with each other. The Department’s business were not to litigate, but to deliver. This was the mandate of the Department.

The meeting was adjourned.

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