Forensic investigations at PACOFS, NAC, SAHRA, National Library, NFVF, SA Roadies Association, Robben Island; with Deputy Minister

Arts and Culture

19 February 2019
Chairperson: Ms X Tom (ANC) and Acting Chairperson: Mr T Makondo (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) briefed the Portfolio Committee on the current status of its entities, focusing on how they were responding to challenges involving poor governance and leadership. It also gave details of how it was assisting the entities to deal with load shedding.

At the National Arts Council (NAC), the disciplinary cases concerning the progress with the implementation of the forensic investigation into the excess bonus payments made to senior management were of concern. The chief executive officer (CEO) had been placed on special leave and the matter postponed, but the investigations into the chief financial officer (CFO) and  the Art Development Manager (ADM) had been completed and recommendations were being implemented. Charge sheets had been served on the CFO and ADM, and the CFO was currently serving notice after resigning. Disciplinary processes were to continue as planned.

At the National Library of South Africa (NLSA) followed. The Director of the Centre for the Book had been charged with seven counts of misconduct and had been found guilty of four. The entity had then received new allegations of sexual harassment and victimisation, after which he had been suspended, and an investigation concluded. A Corporate Services executive was under precautionary suspension due to a pending investigation into the role he allegedly played in shielding the director. Lastly, an executive in Bibliographic Services and Collection Management had been dismissed, as he had been charged with incompatibility. The matter was currently at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA). In addition, various other concerns had been raised by NLSA staff, including a lack of staff meetings, theft of a projector, and victimisation of staff.

The issues raised at the Performing Arts Centre of the Free State (PACOFS) concerned collusion between the CFO and supply chain management (SCM) manager, irregular expenditure, and a report on the procurement of Council members for a gospel show. The investigation had been finalised with detailed recommendations. In addition, allegations had been levelled against Portfolio Committee Members who had been seen using PACOFS’s vehicle. The PC requested the claimed CCTV footage, but PACOFS had responded that it had been deleted. Lastly, the recruitment and selection process to appoint the CEO had commenced but had been found to be flawed. In the interim, the Council had appointed an acting CEO.

On the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF), the South African Screen Federation (SASFED) and the Independent Producers Organisation (IPO) had requested details of the expenditure at the NFVF, and indicated concern about the annual financial statements and the release of the Comperio forensic report into allegations of mismanagement. The DAC had responded to the media enquiries on the appointment of the CEO, and other staff issues. A response from the NFVF had revealed that there were conflicts among the Council members. A Council member had since been removed by the Minister and the human resources (HR) committee of the Council was finalising the process.

The issue at Market Theatre Foundation (MTF) concerned allegations levelled against the chairperson, the CEO and the CFO. The DAC had appointed a company to investigate the veracity of the allegations. The investigation had been finalised and the report had been presented to the Council to implement the recommendations. Additional issues were the disciplinary action to be taken, the reconstruction of the audit and risk committee, a performance appraisal to be conducted with the CEO, and a review of employees’ salary grading.

Of concern to the South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA) was the status of the investigation report into the allegations levelled against the chairperson, the CEO’s irregular expenditure, non-compliance with SCM policies by management, and a breach of oversight responsibility by the chairperson of Council. The investigation was complete, and a final report had been handed over to the Minister. Criminal charges had also been laid against those implicated in the report. The CFO had resigned and the CEO had been dismissed. However, the CEO had successfully challenged his suspension in court as being unlawful and unconstitutional, and would therefore be returning to work.

The only issue at the Robben Island Museum (RIM) was a complaint by the Ex-Political Prisoners Association (EPPA). The DAC had responded to a media report on allegations of maladministration at the Museum, and had appointed a company to investigate the allegations, which was under way.

Lastly, the update on the South African Roadies Association (SARA) concerned the remedial actions outlined in the report of the Public Protector. Subsequent to this report, a settlement agreement had been reached. The Department had conducted a site inspection, together with the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA). A full assessment of the SARA House building had concluded that the building required urgent work.

Members welcomed the Department’s presentation but felt that the concept of legacy, social cohesion and the lack of national pride in South Africa needed to be addressed. It was mandated by the Committee to conduct a series of investigations into various pressing concerns. In addition, Members expressed concern at the lack of will that went into addressing matters where executive officials were acting out of order, and strongly criticised the unexplained delays in resolving long-standing challenges facing the Department.

Meeting report

The Chairperson said it was very important that as much information and detail as possible was given in meetings so that a legacy report could be left behind for the new Members. The legacy report was about the work that the Portfolio Committee on Arts and Culture and Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) had been doing. The legacy report was important for the DAC, the Committee and the incoming Committee, which should not have to reinvent the wheel, but had to take things from where their predecessors had left them.

Deputy Minister on critical DAC issues

Ms Maggie Sotyu, Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture, agreed with the Chairperson and said that the same applied to executives, who were also expected to write hand-over reports for the incoming executive. The executives depended on the DAC and the Portfolio Committee to get all the reports in order for them to prepare for the new Minister and Deputy Minister, and take forward what was recommended.

She had gone through the agenda of the meeting, and through the discussions that had been sent to the Chairperson by the DAC, she had found three critical issues that were interwoven and could never be alluded to independently. The critical issues were listed as:

  • Leadership programme  
  • Good governance
  • Succession planning

These three issues stood out as integral to government priority areas of economic growth, job creation and social stability and sustainability. She observed that 90% of reported cases in the presentation on the current status of entities had to do with the chief executive officers (CEOs), chief financial officers (CFOs) and senior managers, concerning whether they had been dismissed, suspended, investigated or accused of maladministration. This was educating the Department that moving forward, there must be CEOs and CFOs who would lead and contribute to the broader regime and priority of government, rather than consuming the entity’s time, money and energy. She agreed that leadership was not easy, but said that there were basic standards or competency that were required from everyone who wanted to lead. She quoted Peter Drucker, a management guru: “Leadership was not magnetic personality -- that can just as well be a glib tongue.” It was not "making friends and influencing people" -- that was flattery. Leadership was “lifting a person's vision to higher sights, the raising of a person's performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.” This meant that CEOs, CFOs and managers had to manage by principle and not by procedure.

When it came to good governance, as had been seen or would be seen in the reports, most of the cases levelled against the CEOs, CFOs and senior managers were corruption-related or involved monetary embezzlement. Good governance was more of a principle and less of a conduct. If CEOs, CFOs and senior managers could start to believe in the principle of good governance, then it would be easier for them to implement quality service delivery within their immediate responsibility. If the Committee wanted the entities to be transformed for the better, they had to make sure that they placed the Batho Pele principle as part of CEO’s, CFO’s and manager’s key responsibility areas (KRAs) against which they would be measured. Commitment and principle-driven service delivery must be driven from the top and not from the HR unit. Batho Pele could no longer be delegated -- the managers must ensure that this was on their desks at all times. It had to be remembered that people who were beneficiaries of either good or bad governance did not need to be specialists to know what good or bad governance was. They simply needed to be recipients of its impact.

On succession, planning and promotion and whether it was right or wrong, she indicated her observation upon going through the reports. She quoted a saying, that “attention to employees, not work conditions per se, had a dominant impact on productivity.” A lot of whistle-blowing had been seen within the entities, but blowing the whistle against wrongdoing was essential to ensure that the administration and operations of entities were carried out with an eye for the common good and for the enhancement of Batho Pele service delivery. Some whistle-blowers make unfounded allegations due to resentment for not being promoted or for being overlooked for a post that they had been acting in for quite some time. Entities should start planning forward for both continuity and stability, as there was nothing more demoralising than to overlook an existing capable employee for a new external recruit who would still need to be trained by the same person who was acting in a certain position. Such tendencies demoralised the workforce. If an employee knew that it was possible for him or her to be promoted, then this high morale could also boost loyalty to the vision and mission of an entity. Besides this, it was always costly for an entity to recruit, interview and train a new employee, as it was said that succession planning was not an event, but a process. The Deputy Minister said that from day one, when she had started at the DAC, she had been saying that before the Department looked outside to fill positions, why not start by looking within the Department in order to create a growth path. However, when it came to the time for the DAC to fill such positions, they looked outside.

Deputy Minister Sotyu concluded her remarks by saying that the Cabinet Committee on Social Protection, Community and Human Development (SPCHD) had recommended that Cabinet approve a perspective on social cohesion and nation building which would enable the Department of Arts and Culture to plan and implement related programmes. Social cohesion and nation building was, first and foremost, about inclusivity and mainstreaming all issues of social economic development of the country. Therefore, there must be a decisive and unapologetic redress of cultural, spatial and economic inequalities. The reduction of inequality of opportunities and the building of an inclusive society and economy would take centre stage for 2019/2024, as this had been adopted by the Cabinet.

The Chairperson responded that the observations and some of the issues raised by the Deputy Minister were things that the Portfolio Committee had alluded to for a long time. Another thing that the DAC was lacking was the ability to think outside of the box, as they had boxed themselves in and could not think beyond that box. She asked that some of the things that were being discussed in other forums be considered. For instance, on the issue of social cohesion and national days, people were asking for another way to be found, as the same thing could not be done the same way and in the same manner every time, even though it was seen to be failing. She asked why the DAC and Culture and the Portfolio Committee could not be creative in thinking about how to deliver the national days. She hoped the Department was looking into this, and said that there were suggestions that the activities that were already there should be looked at, such as expanding activities organised by people in that particular area. A case in point concerned the ballet. She went on to describe what one would find at a ballet programme, and said that one would find all demographics represented in the theatre, as well as people who would not care for a pantsula – an energetic dance from the townships -- but who got excited by a pantsula that had been brought within the ballet sphere. The Chairperson said that it was important to look at these initiatives, as this was social cohesion at its best. Arts and culture could actually assist South Africa in social cohesion -- it was not difficult, as it was something that could be done. It could be achieved by going to areas, finding what people were doing already, enhancing and supporting what was already there, rather than having big events -- and sometimes not so big events as well -- that purported to be for black people. She concluded that it was important for the Department of Arts and Culture to be creative.

Current Status at DAC entities

Mr Vusi Mkhize, Director General: DAC, confirmed that the Department was on point about how to deal with some issues. Destroying the “box,” rather than getting out of it, was exactly what the Chairperson had alerted him to -- changing in a true and meaningful way so that participation in social cohesion and national days was not something that was for a particular racial group, but was owned by all South Africans. The only challenge that the Department needed to deal with was that sometimes people would not go to these national events because some people in leadership positions would project them as either African, or for another race.  The Department would do a root-cause analysis on what made people not want to come, because it could not be that they did not want to be there. He used the example of Human Rights Day in Gauteng, which he said was one critical example of where the rainbow nation came in numbers, but it was based on the amount of work done before. People were saying polarisation was the reason why they were not attending national days. Lack of national pride was thus one of the things that needed to be addressed.

He referred to the tasks that the Chairperson had given them to report on and said that they would try to not rehash things, because most of the reports had been presented before for parties who had needed updates and current status. The concept of legacy was emphasised as important, as well as the DAC’s commitment to address issues that the Committee had raised around corruption, poor governance and leadership.

National Arts Council (NAC)

Update on staff issues

The first update was on the status of the appointment of the interim CEO, who was appointed on 25 September 2018 on a month-to-month basis by the Council of the NAC. His salary was the same as the current CEO who was on special leave. Both the Minister and Portfolio Committee had objected to the appointment of a Council member to act as CEO. The progress to address these issues included a decision taken to appoint the CEO of the State Theatre, Dr Mkhize, as the interim CEO of the NAC. Mr Mkiva had been relieved of the interim CEO duties and would be reinstated as a Council member. The Minister had written to both the Chairpersons of the State Theatre and the NAC requesting them to finalise the appointment of Dr Mkhize as the interim CEO, including a letter re-instating Mr Mkiva as a Council member. A meeting to handover the report to Dr Mkhize took place in the first week of January 2019. Dr Mkhize had met with the Chairperson of the NAC for a briefing and had been introduced to the staff members of the NAC on 22 January 2019.

The disciplinary case concerning progress with the implementation of the forensic investigation of the Lalela Project and the CEO’s excess bonus payment was discussed next. The progress made by the DAC had included placing the CEO on special leave. The initial dates set for the CEO’s disciplinary hearing were 2, 5 and 8 November 2018.  Subsequent to the meeting held on 17 September 2018 with the initiator, it had been decided that due to the volume of the documentation received by the legal team representing the CEO, more time would be needed for preparation.  It was then resolved that the dates would change to 8 November and the other two dates would be decided then. It was anticipated that the case would be concluded in 2019. After the last scheduled hearing in December 2018, the last day of the hearing was scheduled for 5 February 2019 for the employee’s witness to provide testimony. During this hearing it had been mentioned that the CEO had two other witnesses and to accommodate those it was concluded that the matter be heard on 25 -27 February 2019.

The next disciplinary case concerned the excess payment of bonuses for the CFO and the Art Development Manager (ADM), as well as the Gobodo Forensic Services appointed to investigate the Lalela Project and the excess bonus payment of the CEO, CFO and the ADM. The investigation had been completed and the recommendations were being implemented. The progress made by the DAC included a meeting between the NAC, DAC officials and the initiator that was held on 10 October 2018. After lengthy deliberations regarding whether the DAC had jurisdiction or not, it was resolved that all the charges drafted against the CFO pertaining to allegations that happened at the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) be dropped, and that new charges against the CFO -- which among others included non-disclosure -- would be drafted, which was the only charge the NAC could possibly pursue against the CFO. Following that meeting, the had initiator requested documents in pursuance of the charges which were relevant to the NAC. On 25 October, the initiator had held a meeting with all the interview panel members who had conducted the CFO’s interview at the NAC. The CFO was served with the charge sheet and notice of the hearing in December 2018. She had tendered her resignation on 21 January 2019. The date for the hearing was scheduled for 14-15 March 2019. She was currently serving notice.  The disciplinary process would continue as planned. A charge sheet had been issued to the ADM on 28 November, and the hearing was scheduled for 4 to 15 March 2019.         

The Director General said the Portfolio Committee had given the Department a very clear directive to deal with the CEO leadership issue. The reason for Dr Mkhize’s appointment was that the DAC had looked around at where they could minimise costs, taking into account that appointing someone who would be coming from another province and would have to stay in a hotel and then be paid, would just increase expenses. He added that when the Department had looked around Gauteng, there was only one option, as they were aware that the other entities had brought serious challenges on the very leadership matter as expressed by the Deputy Minister. It had then become clear that the only option at this stage was Dr Mkhize, who had assumed responsibility as interim CEO. The Director General added that there had been a second issue around Dr Mkhize, and referred to the summary of the processes that had occurred until he assumed duties on 22 January.

The Chairperson said that the Members had an idea of what was happening, but asked the Director General if he could summarise it and advise them of the status.

The Director General said that the CEO, as had been indicated, had remained on suspension and that her case had been set for 2, 5 and 8 November. However, when there were consolidative processes with her lawyers, they had requested more data or information for them to prepare, and therefore the dates were subsequently changed to 8 November. After this, her lawyers scheduled a meeting for 10 to 13 December, and the last day of the hearing was scheduled for 5 February for the employee’s witnesses to provide their own testimony. During this process there was a request that the two other witnesses needed to come on behalf of the CEO, leaving a need to follow due process. To accommodate the two witnesses on dates where they could also be there, February 25 to 27 had been set aside. He said the Minister had written to the Chairperson to say that the matter was to be resolved as quickly as possible, and deadlines were given. However, because this was a legal process, one could not try to short-circuit it, as it might then be a case closed on technicalities rather than on merit.

The Director General then moved on to the issue of the CFO, and said that the matter concerned non-disclosure, as she had moved from the NFVF to the NAC. A forensic investigation had found that she had a case to answer, as the NAC had been informed by the NFVF, by one Chairperson to the other, that the person who had been hired as CFO was in fact leaving their institution based on the fact that she was implicated in the forensic report. She had then been told of the intention for her to be disciplined and charged. Subsequently, she decided to tender her resignation with immediate effect on 21 January 2019. However, the the Board had decided that she could not be released like that and that she needed to go through the traditional process and serve her notice according to the clause in her contractual obligations, where one was required to stay for a total of three months if one was to resign. They had decided to take it through the disciplinary process instead of accepting the immediate 24-hour notice for resignation. The disciplinary process was under way, and the date for the hearing was currently set for 14 and 15 March.

The Director General continued on to the case of the Art Development Manager, which was set for 15 March, when the disciplinary process would take place. This was the current state of affairs in dealing with the outcome, implementation and recommendations of the forensic report into the National Arts Council.

The Deputy Minister interrupted to disclose information that had been received early that morning about the Company Secretary of the National Arts Council, who had been arrested by the Hawks the previous day. It was alleged that she had hired a hitman to kill the Chairperson of the Board.

Discussion

The Chairperson said that what had been disheartening in the last four years was that the Committee kept harping on the same thing for a long time -- they said the same thing over and over again. This may have been because, as the Director General had said, it was a legal process that needed to be followed to the T. However, there was the issue over where the power lay. She would never forget the meeting that she had with the chairpersons and deputy chairpersons of the DAC’s entities. It was a pity that the Department had not seen fit to constitute that meeting in the manner which the Portfolio Committee had organised it, because those questions still lingered in their minds and were as fresh as they were when they had had the meeting.

Mr G Grootboom (DA) referred to one of the issues that was talked about in the last meeting around the appointment of the person who was now the CFO with a case pending. The Council had felt that a person could not be put through a disciplinary process where that person was no longer in the employ of the entity. He felt that there was “doublespeak” here, and that if this had not been picked up or whistle-blown to the powers that be, it would have been allowed to slide. One of the things that they, as government, were being found guilty of time and time again was that when such cases were brought before them, they just brushed them aside. He said that if the process did not go through the person being charged would just, in the next two to three months, apply for another CFO job because they had not been found guilty. This was the reason why the government was currently fraught with gangsters who were busy racketeering. He thought that this was where the Department of Arts and Culture erred grossly.

The Chairperson said that the question that she initially had was, what had the Department done to the people who had employed this person who had transgressed in their own entity? This was because this person had not transgressed elsewhere within the Department. She asked how this had been handled with the Council.

Mr T Makondo (ANC) said that he felt demoralised when he received a notice for this meeting and found that the National Arts Council was on the agenda. This was because he knew that they were going to sit and discuss the same thing that had been raised, and they were still talking about the very same thing. He felt that he could not talk about the same thing time and time again as it was not right and made the Department and Portfolio Committee look stupid, and as if they did not know what they were doing. He asked whether there was a will from both the National Arts Council and the Department to deal with the matters at the NAC, because if there was no will, they were just wasting time.

The Chairperson added that without a will, there was no way.

Mr Makondo continued, asking how it could take almost two years to discipline an official. The CEO matter had been brought forward last year March and they were still discussing the same matter in 2019, postponing the dates for disciplinary hearings. He asked if the Department remembered last year in August, when they had been told that there was going to be a hearing in December for the NAC’s CEO. He pointed out that it was 2019 and they were still at the same place. He proceeded to ask what power these officials had, and what hold they had over government. This was embarrassing, as they could dismiss the Commissioner of the South African Revenue Services (SARS) within two weeks. When the SARS Commissioner went to court, they went to court, but they failed to discipline someone who was just the CEO of an entity, so what was the problem within the National Arts Council? This needed to be responded to, as he had an issue with the manner that the CEO of the National Arts Council was being dealt with. It looked like as if they did not know what they were doing. He could tell Members that the matter would be postponed again, and expressed frustration as the CEO was still being paid.

He went on to ask what rights this person had that other people did not have? The CEO had the right to a speedy trial and that justice delayed was justice denied. This particular rule was to be applied and that where government was ready and she was not, it did not become government’s problem, so why was she being handled with kid gloves? The law was very clear – a person must be given notice within 14 days to prepare, and that person must appeal and defend him or herself. Why then had this case taken almost five months to prepare? He reiterated that there was no will, and said that the Members would be leaving the following month, by which time the Department would not have disciplined this person. This was not an ordinary situation concerning a government official, and there was something that they were not being told. The matter was going to drag on for a very long time, and the Department knew that the reappointment was out of order, but that they continued to treat this person with kid gloves. The image that the DAC was sending out there of themselves was very bad, as it was taking almost five years to discipline an official. He wanted to know whether there was a will to resolve the NAC matter or not, so that he would know that for the last five years he had been dealing with a matter which he unfortunately could not win.

The Deputy Minister requested that Ms Kelebogile Sethubelo, Deputy Director General (DDG), Department of Arts and Culture, respond to the concerns of Members concerning entities because one of the things that she had noticed upon becoming part of the DAC was that when appointing board members, they focused only on appointing people with a background in the environment, but did not look at people with other skills, like a legal background. If they had someone who legally understood how boards were to be run and their responsibility, they would not be where they were today. She had chosen the DDG because she was working with the entities and this was part of the challenges being raised by Members of Parliament.

When it came to the issue of whether there was a will to deal with the National Arts Council, she said that she was expecting the Director General to indicate this to the Members, because one of the things that she had emphasised that morning had been the issue of the Department waiting for things to happen, and then dealing with them. The Department should see these things coming and monitor the boards so that when whistle-blowers pointed out what they had seen, they were not ignored. The DAC had to make sure that even if they did not believe whistle-blowers, they followed up in order to make sure that it had not happened.

The Chairperson said that what the Deputy Minister was saying was very important, because a whistle-blower must see that the Department had investigated what he or she reported. She referred to an issue that was part of the National Arts Council case, which was the issue of the whistle-blower writing to the CEO to tell the CEO that someone was giving out information. This was being investigated. As the Portfolio Committee on Arts and Culture, it was fair for them to hear what had actually happened.  

The Director General assured the Committee that there was a will and determination to deal with the matter, which could be demonstrated by the number of follow ups from the Department in particular. He started with the Department challenging the decision to reappoint a person, where they had reappointed her as the CEO for an even longer period. The Department had realised that there was a delay in the matter, and the Minister had written directly to the entity’s chairperson saying that they were having this period in which to finalise the matter and that after that, they would have to give a report on the outcome. What had to be separated was the role of the Department against the role of the board, because there was an existing board in the entity, and involving the Department could be seen as undermining the board’s authority to discipline its employees. The question that needed to be addressed was, what made the chairperson and the board take so long to delay the processes because he personally was aware of these matters and had asked if they could be addressed urgently. Continuous postponement could not be allowed. They had taken the route of legality issues, where a person had the right to a fair trial, saying that they should allow the CEO to have witnesses, bringing forth the issue of witnesses when at first it was the issue of lawyers wanting more information. He said that they should look at dealing with the matter, and tell the CEO that with or without her, the case would proceed. However, they were saying that her lawyers were making representations, making it clear that she was not coming but that she was sending her lawyers. With this process, for the Department to say ignore it, would be seen as instructing the chairperson of the board, when the chairperson was not the one who had to ensure that the process moved with speed.

He could assure Members that it had been a strain for him to say that one could not discipline someone who was not one’s employee. The person should just be let go, as they had resigned and given 24 hours’ notice. However, the DAC had resisted this and given three different reasons. First it was that she had a contract in which there was an undertaking that she would serve three months. He said that this would be under normal circumstances, but this person was facing discipline, therefore on could not use or apply that clause. Secondly, the Department had said that this person also had an issue regarding the financial statements. The last thing was that this person needed to be disciplined for was that if she moved from one entity to another, there would be a record and they would then be able to say that she could not be employed. The notice period, because the resignation date was 21 January, would be until April when she was supposed to leave. If she decided not to show up, could one discipline someone who decided not to come and was no longer an employee? This was the discussion that the Department was having with the board chairperson, to deal with this matter.

Mr GGrootboom said that the question remained that if one wanted to discipline a person who was not in the employ, and that person was free to go to any other Department that they applied to because he or she had not been found guilty of a crime, why did no-one within the Department of Arts and Culture lay a civil charge against that person, as they had the information. What would happen if they continued to act in this way, because they were no longer in your employ, was that they could steal millions and just move and resign because they would know that they could not discipline them. However, if they made a civil case against them, then one could recoup the government’s money, which was why government was bleeding. It was the money for the poor that could help uplift artists. Yet the Department and the Portfolio Committee felt that they were gagged and tied and could not act against the official. He added that he could not understand the lawyers that the government had appointed, as they did not know the law.

Ms S Tsoleli (ANC) said that she was a bit worried about the chairperson of the board, as she thought that at some stage the DAC had identified that the chairperson did not assist the Board. Her point was that they had precedents, where a chairperson was not assisting and would either be suspended or something else, and the next person would be appointed, and they would continue. This was because it had been a problem from day one. She referred to a time when the Portfolio Committee had had a meeting where it could see that all of the things that the chairperson of the board sought to implement or was already implementing were not correct. Other departments were quick to remove chairpersons in entities when they had a problem. Where the chairperson had previously removed, she asked why it was now a problem that this chairperson could not be removed, as he had not been assisting the institution since day one. She wanted to understand this because Members were left with less than 20 days before they left, and they would be leaving the NAC in the situation that they had found it two years back. This meant that their own legacy would also have to be questioned.

She asked what the Committee should do, as a team, in making sure that they exercised oversight over these institutions. This was because only a few institutions were not moving, and some were regressing. However, the National Arts Council was still in the same position regarding the issue of the CEO, which she could not understand, as in some institutions he should not even be receiving pay by now. The CEO had been suspended with pay for almost a year now, and was still receiving a salary. Had this been an ordinary employee in the institution, that employee would have been suspended without a salary, but as she was a CEO, she had been suspended with a salary. They were saying that they were implementing the recommendation, but from where she was sitting, she could not even see the recommendations because they were not listed. The report from the Department did not say which recommendations had been implemented – recommendations that she could not even recall. Even the report on the CEO was not clear. There was a serious complaint about the DAC and its institutions, because other institutions were quick to act, but no action was being taken where the issues were clear, as money was clearly taken. Thus, something needed to be done.

Mr Makondo said he wanted to demonstrate to the Director General and the Department that there was no will. If he could produce a video of the DG presenting in Parliament last year, it would be seen that he had asked the very same question and he had said the very same thing. When he came to Parliament, he was told by those who were there that there was something called ‘hurry-up slowly’ and this, they said, was the strategy of the former Speaker. Seeing the eyes of the public, one would see that there was an urgency, and particular matters that had to be resolved, but that the process was very slow. This was what he saw in the DAC, and the Director General could not convince him that there was a will, as there was no will.

He requested that the Department investigate who had said what in the panel that appointed the CFO, representing the Department. If anyone had this information, he asked that it be given to him and said that if they were to investigate, that they would have a lot to ask next week. He asked why that particular person should not be disciplined, as it could not be true that the CFO had misrepresented facts by not disclosing the issues she had in the other entity, when the DAC had been represented on the particular panel that had shortlisted the applicants for the appointment. He thus wanted this information next week.

He told the Director General that if he wanted to bring a new culture into the organisation, it started with him. Only the top management could change the culture of an organisation, not the ordinary officials on the ground. If the Director General did not act differently, then these people were going to graduate him into their way of doing things, he was not going to graduate them. He had once told a Minister in 2015, ‘You would see, if you arrive in an institution, you would find officials rolling out a red carpet and you would walk on that red carpet. If you could look back, you would see that there were those rolling it up as you walked, and when you finished walking and looked back, there was no red carpet and you were gone.’

DAC’s response

The Director General responded to the issue raised by Mr Grootboom on the civil matter and said that this was something that the Department might have to look at, as it was something that they would want to have considered, because at this stage the matter was being handled by the competent authority.

The Chairperson asked whether the chairperson of the NAC was not a lawyer by profession?

The Director General responded saying that the chairperson of the Council was indeed a lawyer. As he had indicated earlier, the matter was being looked at at that level, because of the authority.

In response to the question about what was happening with the chairperson, he said that as long as there was a board there, the board was supposed to do its work without favour or prejudice.

The Chairperson asked, what if the board did not do its work? She commented that the board did their own thing and had their own agenda, which was different from the agenda of the Department of Arts and Culture. 

The Director General did not want to engage on the issue of whether there was a will or whether there was not. From where he sat, there was a will, but the examples given by Mr Makondo were acceptable observations that needed to be dealt with. It did not go to the issue of service delivery in this case. It was just a question of jurisdiction, with the absence of the Board, asking whether the Minister could directly discipline the CEO. He said that it was not dealing with the merits of what the forensic investigation found, and based on that it was hoped that once the whole matter of the jurisdiction and the status on the role of the court was very clear, that the Committee would appeal matters.

The Chairperson said that what was of concern was what the legal unit of the Department was advising the Minister. This was a case facing the Department, and they should have known about this if they were legal people. They should have told the Minister that he could not do certain things and given him the reasons why, as the Director General was doing with the National Arts Council.

The Director General said that one of the key things that the Deputy Minister had emphasised that morning was the early warning system of the entity unit in the Department. This was one thing where they were committed, and when they did these visits and analysed the reports, finding things that were not right, they should be able to think of an action plan to replace those problems, other than saying that they were referring them back to the board because they had seen that something was not going right there. Therefore, there was a report around early warnings and action, not just compiling it and sending it back to the board for implementation and then hoping and waiting for it to be implemented.

The Chairperson asked if the board had provided the minutes and register of the meeting dealing with the CFO’s appointment, to indicate who was present from the DAC.

The Deputy Minister replied that she was going to ask the Deputy Director General to get that information.

The Chairperson said that in the case that there was no one, the Department knew that the person who had applied for that post was the CFO of another entity, as the name would ring a bell.

The Deputy Minister agreed that the Chairperson was correct, as the Deputy Director General responsible for entities was supposed to know each and every CFO and CEO of an entity. The Department needed to find out what had happened there. If they knew that this person had left this position because of certain reasons, how could they then again, in the same Department, take on this person? This information needed to be given to the Chairperson.

The Chairperson said that she knew that officials were going to say that according to the Act, it was the board that employed people in an entity. However, this went back to the question, where did the power lie? Did one employ a person who had transgressed within the Department? Could the Department of Arts and Culture really say that they had employed a person who they knew had transgressed in their own entity and let the National Arts Council employ them because it was their duty to do this as the Council?

Ms Tsoleli said that the Department was supposed to assist its entities. She then spoke of a CFO who already had serious cases in a municipality and the district, but had been employed at the Performing Arts Council of the Free State (PACOFS). This had been raised by the Portfolio Committee, so there was already a case like that. In other words, the Department was supposed to investigate, especially for executive positions. The DAC should know what was happening, because some people were coming from different departments with “baggage” and to institutions already having problems. The Department was supposed to provide resources to the entities, whether it was their team or not, on who was supposed to be included there.

The Deputy Minister said that she did not want to ask for more clarity to be given, as it was obvious that when that kind of person was being appointed by the board, it would account the Department. She therefore thought that the Deputy Director General responsible for entities at that time, should have noticed that this person was a member of a certain board. She asked the Chairperson for the opportunity to get into this so that the Department could give her a report about why this person was appointed by the National Arts Council, and whether this charge was correct.

One of the things which had been raised and which needed to be discussed, was the issue of the postponement of the hearings. They would look at this, as they could also not agree on everything being done by the lawyers of these people. They should also put conditions – where the dates 25 to 27 February were given, the Department should say that this was to be the end, and that they were not going beyond this. It was very important that the Deputy Director General dealt with this, as people under suspension were still getting paid.

The Director General said that when the matter had come to their attention, they had to instruct the Chairperson to write a letter to the National Arts Council’s chairperson. Only then had they also started to take up the matter. He did, however, accept the processes before that.

The Chairperson interrupted, saying that if someone had applied for a position and one was employing this person, one would phone the people where this person last worked to ask them about this person. She asked the Director General how one could employ a person without doing this, as it was so basic.

The Director General said that the Department had instructed him so that action could be taken against this person.

Ms Sethubelo said that what the Department also did was that they also asked questions. In developing the government’s tools, what they would also be doing was looking at the appointment of executives, because where they got involved was at the CEO level, where they would insist that they needed to be sitting to ensure that these were people who were credible. At the level of CFOs and other executives, she thought that they had not been involved, but that it was time they were. It was the DAC that had alerted the National Arts Council that they were getting a CFO that came from the National Film and Video Foundation, and which was also questioning one of the entities now.

Referring to the issue of the extension of the CEO’s tenure, she said that the Department had questioned the extension and the Minister had even had a meeting with the Board to say that they could not extend the contract, and reasons were given by a 20-member vote that endorsed the appointment. The CEO had then come back saying she was willing to go but that in her going she wanted a two-year settlement. They could not give her two years without working for the two years, but this was the demand. She said that they should charge the CEO, finalise the matter and let her go, but she could not be given two years of her contract without working for those two years, as was the demand from her lawyers.

Mr Grootboom followed up, saying that on the basis of no non-disclosure concerning the CFO, she should not have been appointed in any case. This left her with no leg to stand on, and the lawyers could not be sneaky.

Mr Makondo asked whether it was true that she was negotiating.

The Deputy Director General confirmed that it was true.

Mr Makondo reiterated his point that there was no will in this matter, as there was a reason why the hearing could not go on. This was similar to a case recently in the Department of Water and Sanitation concerning a water board in Limpopo. The chairperson had wanted to dismiss the CEO and the Minister had given an instruction to the chairperson to dismiss the CEO for various reasons. The chairperson had then called the CEO, saying that he had been given an instruction to dismiss him and that he should resign. The CEO had said that he was not going to resign and that the chairperson knew that he could not dismiss him. The chairperson had met Mr Makondo one day and said that he wanted him to urge the CEO to resign, to which he replied that he could not talk to the CEO about resigning – the chairperson had been given an instruction to dismiss the CEO, so he should do so himself. Two days later, Mr Makondo was told that the chairperson had been dismissed by the CEO. He pointed out that this was how the chairpersons of entities got captured by administrators.

The Deputy Minister asked Mr Makondo how the chairperson was going to dismiss the CEO without the backing of the board. Was this not the responsibility of the entire board?

Mr Makondo agreed that it was the responsibility of the entire board, but that the Chairperson had to take decisions. It was unlikely in entities that the chairperson had authority. At the time, the Department was in Durban. The CEO had convened a board meeting and the chairperson was in Durban and had received an SMS saying that there was a board meeting. The board had appointed an acting chairperson and suspended the chairperson in his absence. He thus asked what was wrong with this situation, as there was something that they were being told. He said that he had told Ms Sethubelo about the chairperson of the National Arts Council, and had told him in a meeting as well that he was the problem, despite him getting angry. The chairperson thus knew, and that this was why he could not even come to the Portfolio Committee on Arts and Culture. In addition, he was going to compromise everyone, as this was the power which CEOs had.

Ms N November (ANC) said that her concern was whether there was no way that the Portfolio Committee could meet this body -- whether it was the chairperson of the body or the body itself. She knew it was time constrained, but asked if they could meet with them to iron things out?

The Deputy Minister said that they would meet the board before they left, and that she was sure that Ms November’s request would not be a problem if the Portfolio Committee so wished. The Department would make sure that they came and would emphasise that the chairperson must lead the board in coming so that they did not see themselves reaching agreement with ordinary members of the board without the chairperson.

She had taken note of all the things that had been said, and some of the things were new to her. She agreed with Members that it was frustrating to be on one case for such a long time. When it came to the Nation Arts Council, she thought that the Minister should try to act, otherwise the incoming Minister after May would also be faced with these challenges forever, because he or she would have to start afresh, understanding the board and what was going on.

National Library of South Africa (NLSA)

Update on staff issues

Mr M Matyumza, Director: Centre for Book, had been charged on seven counts of misconduct, and a disciplinary hearing had commenced on 20 June 2018 and was finalised on 7 August 2018. The ruling by the chairperson, Advocate Adams, dated 24 August 2018, found Mr Matyumza guilty on four of the seven charges, and recommended a sanction of dismissal. The response by the DAC included the recommendation from the advocate that the dismissal was to be effected on 7 September 2018. On 11/12 October 2018, the CEO of the NLSA learnt that an appeal process had been held, with an appeal ruling recommending a sanction of a final warning instead of a dismissal.  The entity further discovered that the appeal had been chaired by a human resources (HR) consultant and not an attorney or an advocate, and therefore his ruling lacked legal merit and reasoning. The advice from the legal firm appointed by the entity was that the appeal process was therefore irregular and subject to an investigation. According to the report from the CEO, the entity considered affording Mr Matyumza another appeal hearing in compliance with the Act and Regulations, which he had rejected. Despite being told not to appear at work, he nevertheless came to the office on 22 October 2018. The CEO had sought legal advice, which recommended dismissal. Mr Matyumza was thus dismissed on 22 October 2018. On 23 October, Mr Matyumza instructed his lawyers to demand that he be reinstated with immediate effect. On 25 October, the lawyers representing the NLSA responded to Mr Matyumza’s lawyers withdrawing the letter of dismissal and stated that the NLSA would convene an appeal in compliance with the NLSA Act and Regulations, and that Mr Matyumza would be informed of the date and time of the appeal. He refused to participate in the new appeal process, however, and took the matter to the Labour Court.  On the basis of the legal advice given to the NLSA, it was decided to let him come back to work rather than spend more money on litigation. However, in December, the entity received new allegations of sexual harassment and victimisation, which were not part of the initial case.  On the basis of these allegations and advice from the DAC, HR and legal professionals, a decision was taken to serve Mr Matyumza with a notice of intention to suspend him. Subsequently, he was suspended and an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment had been concluded. The employee had on two occasions not responded to an opportunity to give his version, as required by law. The NLSA lawyers were nonetheless proceeding with a disciplinary hearing on a date to be determined during the course of February.

The next matter concerned Mr Mashudu Mavhungu, Executive Director: Corporate Services, who had been under precautionary suspension since 19 October 2018. Mr Mavhungu’s suspension was due to a pending investigation into the role he allegedly played in shielding Mr Matyumza from a reported case of sexual harassment and his involvement in the appeal process. He had also failed to involve the NLSA’s legal representative in the appeal process as required.  This behaviour had prejudiced the NLSA. Investigations into allegations of neglect of duties had been finalised and a disciplinary hearing had been set down for 21 February 2019.

Lastly, Dr Marumo, Bibliographic Services and Collection Management, had been dismissed as he had been charged with incompatibility (workplace bullying and harassment). His disciplinary hearing had commenced on 5 June 2017 and was concluded on 3 April 2018.  The recommendation was a sanction of dismissal. He was found guilty on both charges. The matter was finalised, but the matter was at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) and was set down for 25 February 2019 for arbitration.

In addition, the following were issues raised by the NLSA staff through anonymous correspondence sent to the DAC:

  • No staff meetings were being held – only five in five years.
  • The CEO was using the company car to be picked up and dropped off at home; the car was not used for the operations of the company and was always on standby for the sole use of the CEO.
  • Theft of the projector; investigation was hampered by the Executive Director of Corporate Services.
  • Executive Director: Corporate Services had companies linked to him that had been awarded tenders by the NLSA, with the security tender being just one example.
  • Victimisation of staff – the board secretary accused by the CEO of leaking information.
  • Interference by the board chairperson, who had been going daily to the office.

The DAC had received anonymous correspondence from employees of the NLSA regarding the misuse of resources and funds as well as the dismissal and suspension of directors at the NLSA.  From the correspondences received, it had become evident that there were challenges at the entity and as a matter of intervention, the DG had directed that DAC officials visit the entity and get clarity on the issues and concerns raised. A meeting was held on 18 October 2018 at the NLSA in Pretoria.  A detailed report generated from the meeting with the staff of the NLSA was presented to the executive management and union members on 28 November. The DAC had met with the NLSA employees on 12 February to address all the concerns that they had raised. The meeting had provided a platform for the NLSA staff to address all the concerns raised, and both management and staff committed to work on improving communication. In addition, the board had appointed an independent investigator, and a report had been shared with the Minister for noting.

Deputy Director General Sethubelo said the report was available and had been submitted to the chairperson of the board and to the Director General, but they were saying that they did not agree to the recommendations that were in the report. The DAC needed to go and make sure that they implemented the recommendations that were in the forensic report. One could not say that one had commissioned a report, but that where the report was a bit negative, say that one did not agree with the recommendations, as this was the same report and investigation that they had commissioned. She said that after the meeting on 12 February, they had received a letter the following day that still raised the very same issues around the contract of the CEO. Subsequent to that, the Minister had written to the chairperson of the board to say that they should not extend the contract, and then test the market and advertise externally for the post of CEO at the NLSA because the contract was coming to an end in April 2019.

Discussion

Mr Makondo said that he wanted to understand the case of Mr Matyumza, who had been charged on seven counts of misconduct, attended a disciplinary hearing and had been dismissed. He had then appealed, after which he was reinstated and there was no hearing. When Mr Matyumza came back after reinstatement, he faced charges different from when he was dismissed. But what was this? He wanted to understand how one could be charged with theft, attend a disciplinary hearing, get dismissed and appeal, but before the hearing sat, get reinstated? Then, upon arriving at office for the first day, he would be charged with different charges not related to those that he had appealed.

Ms Tsoleli referred to the last paragraph on page 9 concerning Mr Matyumza, which said that an investigation into the allegation of sexual harassment had been concluded. Again, below this, a bullet said that the employee had not, on two occasions, responded to an opportunity to give his version by law. The NLSA lawyers were nonetheless proceeding with the disciplinary hearing on a date to be determined during the course of February. She thus asked for clarification, as the first bullet said that it had been concluded, but the next one said the date was still to be determined in February. This was a contradiction which needed to be explained.

As a Department standing back and looking at this matter, the Chairperson asked what everyone saw, as she just wanted to understand.

The Deputy Minister said that she would allow the Deputy Director General to respond, but that she just wanted to make the Committee aware that in the case concerning the suspension on a new basis -- which she assumed was sexual harassment -- the investigation into these allegations had been concluded. When an investigation was concluded, it was obvious that one had to call the accused and say that this was the outcome of the investigation. This had not been done after the investigation had been concluded in respect of this case.

Ms Sethubelo said that what they had found was that there were capacity issues at the National Library of South Africa when dealing with disciplinary cases, as the Department had realised that most of their cases were outsourced. So what they had done was to ask their labour relations unit to assist so that the correct process was followed, because a person facing charges should not feel that they were being victimised without a proper process. It could be said that there was already a sexual harassment case that had been reported. She did not know why this was not in the initial charges, and asked whether this should have been part of the initial charges? In terms of the process, the Department needed to make sure that they cautioned them, because Mr Matyumza was suspended on the new charge of sexual harassment.

Mr Makondo asked what had happened through the appeal process.

The Deputy Minister said that he had been given an opportunity to appeal, but had refused to participate in the appeal process.

Ms T Malao, Director: Entities Management, Department of Arts and Culture, said that the situation with Mr Matyumza was that he had been charged on seven counts, which had been dropped to four, and the NLSA had an Act which said that if an official or employee were to go through a disciplinary process, there was an appeal which needed to be  done as per the legislation. What had then happened in this case was that it had been found that HR had not informed the entity about Mr Matyumza’s case. In addition, Mr Matyumza’s case had been conducted without the CEO of the NLSA knowing. What should have happened was that the CEO was supposed to follow the process as per the Act and appoint an initiator, who would then lead the process, but this had not been done. Because it was not done, the legal advice was that the entity should restart the process of appeal. Mr Matyumza had refused to be a part of the appeal process and he was then acquitted of those charges. His legal advice was then that he should come back.

The Chairperson commented that he had been acquitted only because he had refused to see the DAC. He had refused to follow the appeal process as per the NLSA Act because he had already been acquitted through his own processes, which the NLSA then found had been advised by his own HR director. This was contrary to the legislation that governed the NLSA.

The Director General said that the issue in the first case of Mr Matyumza, was the manner in which it had been handled by the HR person. According to the report, the HR person had acted, which was why they had also moved to charge her. In addition, they had undermined her. According to the process of the NLSA, the manner in which the first case was handled was not according to the prescripts.

The Chairperson interrupted to ask, if she was an HR person and wanted to involve a consultant from outside the entity, whether she could just do so without the executive knowing.

The Director General said that that would result in contention. This was what the CEO had alleged was a collusion between Mr Matyumza and the HR person.

The Chairperson interrupted again to ask where and why Mr Matyumza came in, if it was the HR person who had done it? The NLSA needed to say if it was the HR person who had done this, not say that there had been collusion, because this complicated the matter now. Evidence needed to be brought that there had been collusion.

The Director General returned to what had happened to the process. When the NLSA wanted to appeal the matter, they had then been advised that one could not appeal against one’s own process. What the process had initially done was that it cleared him, and had brought forward the two complaints alluding to him. He wanted to separate the two processes because this was where the confusion lay.

Mr Makondo commented that it had been said that there were capacity challenges within the NLSA, and that they were using external people.

The Deputy Director General said that the NLSA used an external law firm, as they did not have any legal persons.

Mr Makondo asked whether they used lawyers, as there was internal capacity problems.

Ms Sethubelo confirmed that they had used lawyers.

Mr Makondo said that if they had used lawyers, he wanted to know who had approved the appointment of the lawyers who were handling this? He said that in no way could the CEO have approved this, but the problem was the outcome that came, as she had not expected it. This was because if it was indeed found that she had approved the appointment of the lawyers who dealt with the case, whether they followed the correct processes or not, Mr Mashudu would indeed win that case. This issue needed to be investigated. Mr Makondo said that if he was the CEO and the HR person submitted a submission to him to hire a lawyer for the chairperson if he approved the appointment of the chairperson, and he then later realised that the lawyer that had been appointed did not follow the process but was approved because he was the appointing authority, then he would not be able to charge him. This was because Mr Makondo would then become accountable at the end of the day.

The Deputy Director General said she got the sense of what Mr Makondo was saying, and continued the presentation. At this point in time, she said that the director was suspended on the two new charges of sexual harassment.

The Chairperson asked where they stood now and where the process was now? Was it at the CCMA?

The Deputy Director General said that it was still an internal disciplinary process.

The Chairperson then returned to her question, and asked whether it had been answered. She repeated the question, asking what the DAC saw from the outside, besides the capacity challenge.

Ms Sethubelo said that she thought that she had alluded to the fact that Mr Matyumza might have been facing the seven charges, with them being reduced. It needed to be cautioned that there should be real cases that were presented. On the issue of victimisation and so forth, the Department needed to sit with the CEO and say these matters should be treated as they had been presented. This was to make him not feel like he was being victimised, but also to allow for the sexual harassment matters to be dealt with, as this was a serious case if presented to her as the CEO.

The Chairperson asked if there was not something that said the sexual harassment was there, because at the level that Mr Matyumza approached the Department, he was saying that it was there and was not a new thing -- this thing had happened before and had been dealt with, but was raising its head again after he had been acquitted.

The Director General commented that when this matter was being dealt with, he had been acquitted of the four charges after it had been processed.  The new cases being talked about were cases that came in December, and were not part of the original charges.

Ms Tsoleli said that this was not a new thing that had popped up after he had won the case. The sexual harassment had already happened, but was not part of the original charges.

The Director General said that he could follow up only on what he had in the report. This was that there were new allegations against Mr Mayumza and that as a Department and entity, he thought that sexual harassment was coming forward in all of the latest issues which could not be ignored. The only way to deal with this issue was to put it to the test, which was to take any of the staff members who had complained about sexual harassment and say that this had been ignored. The Department would then be in the same position as if they were defending Mr Matyumza’s side without the process. They had to check whether these were a reinstatement of these incidents at that entity after they had relayed and included the initial complaints.

The Chairperson bemoaned the cost of litigation raised from time immemorial, as this was money that could be used for the artists who were in dire need out there. Instead, it was used to pay for litigation, which she said was out of order and totally unacceptable. She added that it was important for them to ensure that where they dealt with these matters, they dealt with them in such a manner that taxpayers’ money was not wasted. After an investigation was concluded, the person had to be called for a disciplinary process.

The Deputy Minister said that where the chairperson investigated a case and concluded it, that they listen to the complainant and all the issues surrounding that case.

Mr Makondo asked who was not coming to give their version, and whether it was Mr Matyumza?

The Chairperson confirmed that it was Mr Matyumza, the accused. She reiterated that it was important for the Portfolio Committee and the Department to ensure that whatever they did, they did not waste taxpayers’ money, because the money allocated to the Department was for the work that was needed to be done. She had asked the Deputy Director General for Cooperative Governance to look at the process, because Mr Matyumza had actually stipulated in his letter to the Portfolio Committee that there had been irregularities done in suspending him, as one had to be given so many days, which he had stated. Mr Matyumza had stipulated in his letter, which was chronological in stating what had happened on every date, that they were violating his rights. It was thus important to ensure that the entities implemented the law that was there.

Ms Tsoleli referred to page 11, and said that there were also allegations against the CEO. She asked whether the allegations were direct, and whether the NLSA process had been followed.

The Chairperson added that they also had to see whether the recommendations were being implemented.

Performing Arts Centre of the Free State (PACOFS)

Update on staff issues

The issues raised concerned collusion by the CFO and supply change management (SCM) manager on scandalous operational matters, irregular expenditure, and the report on the procurement of Council members for a gospel show.

The DAC had received correspondence from a member of the staff at PACOFS making serious allegations against the CFO and the SCM manager relating to collusion in procuring tenders. A Ministerial letter had been sent informing the chairperson of PACOFS of the correspondence and requesting the chairperson to respond to the whistle blower. The Council had assigned Morar to investigate the allegations. The investigation had addressed the CFO and SCM manager’s collusion and the procurement of Council members for the gospel show. The investigation had been finalised. The investigators had provided detailed recommendations and Council was scheduled to thoroughly engage with the report and implement the recommendations. The report would be presented to Council at the next Council meeting that would be held on 23 February 2019.

In addition, allegations had been levelled against Portfolio Committee Members who were seen using PACOFS’s car during the MACUFE Festival. An allegation was made by one of the PACOFS employees that there were some Portfolio Committee (PC) Members who used the kombi that belonged to PACOFS during the festival and that the entity had CCTV footage to confirm this allegation. The PC had demanded that the footage be brought to the PC. The DAC had followed up with PACOFS on the matter. The response from PACOFS was that it was not possible for the entity to provide recordings that were older than three months, as the system erased the old footage automatically to make space for new recordings.

On the recording of the PC oversight meeting at PACOFS, the Department did not have a recording of the said meeting, as it only had recordings of its meetings and not of the oversight visits to entities by the PC.

Lastly, on the appointment of the CEO, the recruitment and selection process to appoint the CEO had commenced, but it had been found to be flawed. Council had taken a decision to suspend the process until the investigation was concluded and in the interim, it had appointed Mr Xaba as the Acting CEO. At a meeting held with the entities in Cape Town on 29 November 2018, the Minister had issued a directive for the process to be restarted. The advert had been completed and was published on Sunday 20 January 2019. The closing date was 1 February 2019. On 9 February, the remuneration committee (REMCO) met to do the shortlisting. Council was currently planning the interviews for 23 February, but this date still needed to be confirmed. Subsequently, the confirmed date for interviews was 3 March.

Discussion

Ms Tsoleli said that it was a pity that the footage was not there, as one would have loved to have the footage so that the matter could be laid to rest. What was important here was peoples’ reputation. She thought that Ms Mogotsi and other members of the DAC could attest to the fact that Mr Makonde and Ms Mtiya had never been to MACUFE in the Free State. She had been to every concert of MACUFE In the Free State, and in the two years that the Deputy Minister had attended, they had not seen them there. This issue was very important, and if they had to give a sworn affidavit and get the people confirm this, they had to do that. She was prepared to do so herself because she had been to every concert since being a Member here. Besides being a chairperson of the same portfolio in the province, she had always regularly attended MACUFE for the past 15 years– especially the last function. Ms Mtiya had always liaised and organised tickets, but had not attended herself. Ms Tsoleli said that she felt that the matter could not just be left like this because her worry was how many Members were going to go through this process, where their names were put into disrepute for something that they had not done. It was surprising that the footage had just deleted itself after three months, as this should happen. In an institution as big as PACOFS, the footage should be stored in an archive in case one wanted to investigate something that had happened two years ago. One would wonder now, in referring to a theft that had happened at PACOFS, what would happen to the case if every few months the footage deleted itself? She asked if PACOFS remembered when they were making the presentation that the person who was responsible for all security measures was an SCM manager who, from time to time, should always be part of every case that went through in PACOFS. The SCM manager had even said that Mr Makondo swore, so that she feared for her life, and if this was true then she would have had everything needed. Thus she did not buy the story of the footage that deleted itself after three months.

On the collusion between the CFO and the SCM manager, she wished that she could also get the forensic report that had been done so that Members could understand it very well. History had taught them that all the CEOs, CFOs and whoever had a case in PACOFS, involved a senior manager. She added that when the gentleman was making the presentation about changing everything, they were impressed that at least they had someone with qualifications, as he had so many of them. Therefore, a background check was very important, because when she had done a background check on the SCM manager, she had found that this person was always implicated in a lot of things. As the SCM manager came from Social Development, a committee of which she was also a Member, she had had to go back to the Department of Social Development to try and find out who this person was and what they had been doing so far. She said that she had been part of the political interference in the institution, and she wished that they could have the report.

She wondered about the appointment of CEO, as she understood that the post had been advertised and re-advertised. The Department of Arts and Culture should be part of this because, although she was not working in PACOFS, from the start she could feel that a lot of members could see themselves being the CEO. This appeared problematic to her, because she could not see why everyone on the board wanted to be the CEO of the institution, and she hoped that recruitment was going to come out with someone who was well experienced. PACOFS needed someone who could use their experience and understand the legislation, because people in this institution could be manipulative whether there was a union or not. She wanted to see PACOFS moving on to where it was in its glorious years and would watch this space on 3 March to see whether they would employ the right person. She did not know the flawed part, as the DAC had not said why the first process had been postponed or cancelled. She wished that they could look past the recruitment agency or change it, because once the recruitment agency was also implicated, one did not know whether they were going to do the right thing. A problem that she had -- and she was not sure if it was just rumours -- was that there was no smoke without fire, and PACOFS needed stability as there was a lot of instability there.

On the artistic side, one could see that there was a movement that was happening because the acting CEO and other people who had been suspended were back within the artistic department. There was a movement within this department because the people who were there were willing, and the CEO was doing great work in acting within his own department. However, if one’s SCM managers, security head and others were not willing to assist, then a problem arose.

She then moved on to the issue of skills required by the PACOFS chairperson. The issue of qualifications was a problem, because the people who had prior experience were from when PACOFS started in 1986, when it was a white institution. After 1994, those two or three Africans who were there had been taken up to positions of being directors and so on, but when one looked at the qualifications, even with prior work experience, managerial qualifications were needed, as things were changing over time. She did not know how the Department would deal with this matter, as qualifications were needed by PACOFS.

Mr Makondo asked whether the process of appointing the CEO had been flawed, and what had actually happened.

The Deputy Minister responded that it was a pity that the Deputy Director General had not been in the morning meeting because, when she had read the report the previous night, she felt that some of the things that were included were managerial things, where the executive gives the report to the Portfolio Committee. For instance, she referred to the collusion between the CFO and SCM and said that they did not need it as they were saying that on 3 February, the Council would be sitting and dealing with the recommendations from whoever was doing the investigation. She said that the DAC wanted the Portfolio Committee to run the board for them, because where the Board had identified thiscollusdions and found that there was a whistle-blower, and were waiting to come up with recommendations, only then could they give the report to the Portfolio Committee. This was not the type of report that they would give to the Portfolio Committee, but because the report was there now, she had felt that the Deputy Director General needed to summarise this to the Committee, and asked why until this day they were still busy advertising when the position had been vacant for almost a year.

Ms Sethubelo said that they were on the brink of appointing the CEO, but then information had come that the recruitment agency, contracted by PACOFS to run the process, had leaked information about the interviews and apparently there were questions that were also crafted. Hence, they had to restart and prepare new questions on the day of the interviews. There were a lot of issues, especially with the recruitment agency, that their services were being terminated, so they had to restart the process from scratch. They had then appointed a new recruitment agency.

Mr Makondo commented that the problem remained unsolved.

The Deputy Director General responded saying that matter of recruitment had also been given to the HR committee to assist the unit with the process so that it was credible in terms of appointing the new CEO. She requested that if she was a Council Member and wanted to be appointed as CEO, that they let her be recused. She thought that they should allow the process to unfold.

She replied to Ms Tsoleli by saying that there was a new member of HR.

Ms Tsoleli interrupted to say that the chairperson who had applied to be CEO had an advantage over everyone else at the time.

Ms Sethubelo said that he had since been removed as a Council member and that after the interview he said that there had been confusion, and that he had never said he wanted to apply, so the Minister had relieved him of his duties as a Council member.

The Chairperson said that the Department needed to look at the people who were on their boards, because one often found people who were board members who wanted to be CEOs. This was what was happening in some of the entities, and they needed to look into this, because sometimes they thought that the Department promoted this by taking a board member and making them act as a CEO. The DAC needed to look at how they dealt with these issues because they came up every day in the entities. There was no time to sleep -- they had to think 24 hours a day on how they could circumvent some of the issues that popped up, and some that were recurrent.

The Chairperson requested that wherever there was mention of an investigation and a report, that the report be shared with the Members so that in their legacy report they could ensure that the incoming Committee would follow up on the matters which the DAC was addressing.

National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF)

The Department said it had received letters on 7 November 2018 forwarded by the PC from the South African Screen Federation (SASFED) and the Independent Producers Organisation (IPO) on the following matters:

  • Breakdown of expenditure at the NFVF;
  • Concerns about the IPO annual financial statements (AFS) for the financial year ended on 31 March 2016; and
  • The release of the Comperio forensic report into allegations of mismanagement at the NFVF.

The Comperio forensic report was released at a press conference on 21 November 2018 in which concerned stakeholders were invited. A breakdown of expenditure at the NFVF as well as the AFS were also provided at the press conference.

The DAC then responded to the issues on the appointment of the NFVF CEO and other staff issues. Interviews for the appointment of the CEO had since been concluded. A response from the NFVF had revealed that there were conflicts among the Council members. As a result, the chairperson had sought Ministerial concurrence to remove a Council member who was found to have breached a Council resolution during the CEO interview process by insisting on retaining confidential documents that were supposed to be returned to the entity. The Council member had since been removed by the Minister. The HR committee of the Council was finalising the process.

The Chairperson moved on to the National Film and Video Foundation, saying that the same thing had happened, where a board member had applied to be CEO. The staff of the Nation Film and Video Foundation had said that the board member was colluding with the chairperson of the NFVF.

The Director General said that the post of the CEO was still vacant, but that the process was complete, and the interviews had been conducted. There had been a delay around the challenge of this matter involving the board and the Council when they were about to consider the appointment of the CEO based on the names that had been presented. When they were considering them, two things had happened. Firstly, the board process was in the media, and secondly, the Council member, instead of leaving the file that was given to each Council member about the recruitment process, had decided to leave with the file. The Council member had been instructed not to do so, and this was a clear breach, meaning that she had to be fired and relieved of her duties. At this stage, the Council was busy finalising the committee and the appointment of the CEO, but they were following up on the matter.

Mr Grootboom said that while everyone was focusing on the members who wanted to be CEOs, the biggest problem was around the forensic report into financial mismanagement and irregularities, and asked for this to be addressed.

Mr Makondo added that there was an investigation about the chairperson, and they wanted to know what had happened.

The Deputy Director General said that it was not the Chairperson, it was two Council members. The CFO, who was now at the National Arts Council, had paid back the money because the National Film and Video Foundation had paid for her family. She had paid the money back. Regarding the CEO, because she had resigned, they were now recouping the money through the legal process. The person who was on the Council with the former deputy chairperson had gone to the film festival in Italy, was booked into two hotels and had done a stopover in London. The former deputy chairperson thus spent four days in London so that by the time he went to India, he was booked by the CEO. This was because there was a directive from the Minister of Arts and Culture to say that if any Council member travelled, the Minister had to give permission. In this case, the Minister had not granted permission, but the chairperson then indicated that he had been informed by the CEO that he could travel, hence he had travelled.

The Chairperson asked what the process was. Did the CEO just say that the deputy chairperson could go to India?

The Deputy Director General said that the Minister had to sign the letter written by the chairperson of the entity if a member needed to travel. Therefore, the chairperson would write to the Department, and they would the inform the Minister and prepare the letter if the Minister agreed that the Council member could travel. Once the Minister had approved, the DAC would then send the letter back to the entity.

The Chairperson asked whether this had happened, and if the entity had written to the DAC.

Ms Sethubelo confirmed that it did not happen, and that a letter was received by the Minister, in which he did not approve the travel.

The Chairperson then asked whether, in the event of the Minister not approving or signing the letter, the Minister wrote back saying that the Minister had not approved this?

Ms Sethubelo said that when the Department learnt that the chairperson was going to India, before he left, they should call to ask for the letter that was sent to the Department. However, they had indicated that the Minister had not yet approved.

The Chairperson asked if they had told the CEO.

Ms Sethubelo said that they had told the CEO of the time, who had not told the chairperson, and had booked the chairperson to go to India, who had said that he had been advised by the CEO that he could travel.

Mr Makondo repeated the question as to whether the chairperson had written to the Minister.

She confirmed again that they had.

Mr Makondo asked who the individual was?

She responded that the person was the chairperson.

Mr Makondo asked rephrased the question, asking whether the chairperson had written this letter.

Ms Sethubelo confirmed that the Chairperson had written to the Minister requesting approval, but that the Minister did not approve the travel.

The Chairperson said that the problem was who the accounting authority was here. It was the chairperson who should have asked for something from the Minister to approve that he went to India. As the accounting authority, one could not do that and risk your reputation.

The Deputy Minister said that she thought that the Chairperson had correctly put it -- who writes the letter? Was it the chairperson on behalf of the board?

Ms Malao said that the NFVF had a global mandate, so every year they planned and act on a dual-activation plan. When submissions were made, the Minister was worried about the budget and requested them to rework the budget and allocate per Council member how much the entity was willing to spend. When the request was sent, it was said not to pay for any Council members to leave yet, which had been done in time. In terms of the response to the activation plan, it had gone back and forth so that by the time it reached the Department of Arts and Culture, the Chairperson had already left.

The Director General said that there had been a delay in giving feedback and the date of the event had been approaching. However, instead of the former chairperson saying that it was the CEO who had told him, he could have found out himself whether it had been approved. This was the responsibility, as the accounting officer, that one would never just go abroad not knowing whether it had been approved or not. This was the route that should be followed, and not just say that one had heard something and accept it.

The Deputy Minister said that it was a pity that the former chairperson had left without the consent of the Minister, because at an event that she had attended she could see that he was working very competently on behalf of South Africa.

The Chairperson said that she thought that the issue here was the principle that the board was the accounting officer and authority in an entity. She thought that they had raised some time ago the issue of communication, where sometimes members communicated directly with the CEO, but the CEO did not communicate with the board timeously. The response was thus to be sent to the chairperson, and the CEO was to be copied, as the chairperson was the accounting authority. This was something that they had said needed to be worked on so that communication was smooth.

Market Theatre Foundation (MTF)

Update on staff issues

The issues involved the allegations levelled against the MTF chairperson, the CEO and the CFO. In response, the DAC had appointed a company to investigate the veracity of the allegations. The investigation had been finalised and the report had been presented to the Council in December 2018 for it to implement the recommendations. Council had submitted the implementation plan to the DAC for noting that the Minister had relieved the chairperson, Mr Kwanele Gumbi, from the Council as chairperson and Council member, after which Mr Dumas had been appointed as the new chairperson of the Council.

Additional issues were:

  • Disciplinary action was to be taken against the CEO, CFO and the SCM manager and HR manager;
  • The Audit and Risk Committee was to be reconstituted;
  • The DAC was to take disciplinary measures against Council members;
  • Council was to conduct a performance appraisal of the CEO; and
  • Council was to review employees’ salary grading.

In response, a prosecutor and presiding officer had been appointed. Files and charge sheets had been submitted to the Prosecutor who was to draw up precautionary suspension notices. A new committee was appointed on 1 February. The chairperson of the Council was relieved of his duties in December, and two Council members had received warning letters from the Minister.

Director General Mkhize said that the report had been presented to all structures – the Council, the staff and all parties that were affected. The following decisions had been made: the report was implicating the chairperson, the CEO and CFO, as well as HR manager. Based on this, the chairperson had been relieved of his duties as chairperson and a new chairperson had been appointed. On the issue of the CEO, CFO and HR manager, there was a process that Council had initiated. They had appointed the prosecutor and presiding officers and their cases were being initiated. He anticipated that the process would move with speed because the Council had already taken steps to implement the recommendations. In addition, on 1 February a new committee had to be appointed, because there were some vacancies.

Discussion

The Chairperson said that -- as she always said -- work-in-progress was not something that one wanted to hear as a Portfolio Committee. She said that they should be specific so that they could do their work of oversight.

The Director General said that the report was saying that the Council needed to recover the money that was specifically related to the travel, and had asked if the Department could be given an update.

The Chairperson said that the issues that were raised now had been raised in 2014/15 by Ms A Lebethe, CEO of New Market Theatre. Further, as the Portfolio Committee on Arts and Culture, they were saying that it should go through the DAC first as they did not want to be seen as taking work from the Department. She did not know whether Ms Lebethe had referred it to the Department, and what had happened then. This was a pity because the issues that were being raised now had been issues that were raised at the time.

The Director General said that in terms of the Market Theatre Foundation, this was where the process was for the chairperson, CEO, SCM and HR manager.

The Chairperson asked if the Council had not been aware of everything that was occurring?

The Director General said that these things had been triggered for them to be able to attend to them, and that there had then been a dispute about money. The other party had then written to the DAC’s CFO, wanting to know about the bonuses that were being requested. The Department had declined, saying that bonuses could not be paid. This was followed by several negative media reports but, as was necessary then, they also made a note of the allegations they needed to investigate. Thus, whether the Council was aware or not, it was very difficult to take back. Some of the matters that related to the CEO and CFO had been carried out without the Council acting. This was why they had thought the issues would not be addressed and had ended up giving the whole list of matters to the Department. Before this, they had only received complaints about the issues at Market Theatre Foundation. It was thus urgent that they got the forensic investigation done.

The Chairperson said that it was such a pity that the matter had not reached the Director General’s desk before it was in a public space. As she understood it, these issues were raised long ago by the then CEO. If this had been taken care of then, it would not have reached the stage it was in when it was blown up in the media. They did not need a “wheelchair” approach, but she thought that they needed a process that was going to ensure that they had a handle on the entities. They were working within a bigger framework, and it could not be said that they could not work within the legal framework. Thus it was important for the Director General to find the legal framework to ensure that they had a handle on the entities.

South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA)

Of concern was the status of the investigation report into the allegations levelled against the chairperson, the CEO’s irregular expenditure, non-compliance with Supply Chain Management policies by the SAHRA management, and a breach of oversight responsibility by the chairperson of Council. The investigation was complete, and a final report had been handed over to the Minister in January 2019. The SAHRA Council had handed over criminal charges to the law enforcement agencies to implement the findings of the report. With regards to the other three officials, two had been charged and their disciplinary process was almost complete. The CFO had since resigned and, as the charges against the third official were more serious, a full disciplinary inquiry would take place. It was for this reason that he had not been charged/served notice in December 2018, but rather in the new year. Criminal charges had also been laid against those implicated in the report, and the CEO was dismissed on 14 January 2019.

Mr Mkhize said that this issue was straight-forward. An investigation had been completed and finalised, and in January a report had been provided. The CEO was then fired because it was clear that the matter was serious. The dismissal was on 14 January, as the board had acted quickly. There was then the issue of the CEO who had resigned, but the process was being followed in terms of criminal procedures that needed to be pursued against the former chairperson and CFO so that they did not get away with their transgressions. They would be following up on the cases that they had opened with the law enforcement agency.

The Acting Chairperson, Mr Makondo, asked who had dismissed the CEO.

The Director General replied that the board had dismissed him.

Pan South African Language Board (PANSALB)

The appointment of the Board had been addressed through interviews having been conducted by the Portfolio Committee in November 2018. It was noted that the CEO had been suspended in June 2018. He had challenged his suspension in court and won the case. The court had ruled that his suspension was unlawful and unconstitutional, since the Minister did not have direct jurisdiction over the CEO of PanSALB, but could act as an appeal authority. Therefore, the CEO would be returning to work on 18 February 2019. In addition, disciplinary proceedings were ongoing concerning the suspension of the CFO, and the Acting CEO reported that PanSALB was in discussion with the DAC officials and the legal team to consider options of paying a settlement to the CFO. This had not been finalised, as the meeting did not take place due to a postponement by the legal team.

The Director Generalsaid that the Portfolio Committee was conducting the process of the appointment of the Board, and asked for assistance with the number of challenges in the institution by making sure that there was stability in the institution. The CEO who had been suspended, as was indicated earlier, was back at work and the process of the disciplinary hearing had been put on hold because the court had been very clear that the Minister did not have direct jurisdiction over the CEO of PanSALB. The Deputy Director General had gone there without legal services, just to inform the staff of the outcome. Then there was the issue of the Acting CEO suspending the CFO. The Director General said that the disciplinary proceedings were ongoing and that they hoped that the matter would be resolved, as the request for a settlement by the CFO may be the best way to deal with the matter. A meeting to look at the proposal by their legal team had not yet been considered, but this was the state of the CFO who was on suspension.

The Acting Chairperson asked if it was the CFO who had been suspended.

Mr Mkhize said it was the CFO.

The Acting Chairperson asked why the CFO had been suspended.

Ms Sethubelo responded that the CFO had been suspended because he was also implicated in the forensic report, and had then been suspended by the acting CEO of the entity. This was because the allegations from the forensic investigation had found him wanting.

The Acting Chairperson asked whether this was one report.

The Deputy Minister replied that this was one report.

The Acting Chairperson asked what the Department was going to do with this.

The Deputy Minister said that the CEO was already back at work on the Monday that had just passed. The CEO was working but once the Board was appointed, it would only be then that they would hand over the report to the Board. This was because the work had been done and the report was available, but it was just that the Minister did not have jurisdiction, as it was the Board who had to handle it.

The Acting Chairperson asked the Deputy Minister whether she expected the new Board to deal with the matter.

The Deputy Minister said that the Department was just going to hand the report over to them, as they needed to deal with the matters in the forensic report.

The Acting Chairperson asked what would happen if they did not deal with it because they were not in place.

The Director General responded that it was too early to speculate.

The Acting Chairperson simply explained that a new Board was going to come.

The Deputy Minister replied that she did not think that there would be any reason why they would not be able to deal with it, but agreed that it was like themselves when taking over from one Minister to another. There would be a lot of issues handed over that were dependent on whether one wanted to pursue them, but that was not to say that they were not going to do it.

The Acting Chairperson said that the reason why he was asking these questions was because the acting CFO was negotiating a settlement with the Department to end the contract of the CEO. Now the CEO was back, and a settlement needed to be negotiated with him.

The Deputy Minister said she wanted to know who the CFO was negotiating with, and asked if it was the Board.

The Acting Chairperson said that there was no Board, and although he did not know the process of appointing the Board, it might not happen tomorrow. Meanwhile, negotiations were ongoing and as of now, the CEO was the accounting majority. If they agreed on a settlement, then the matter would be settled when the CFO left. He asked how the Deputy Minister would expect the new Board to deal with such matters. The reason was because the CEO was the accounting authority now, and the decisions taken by him had the very same weight that the decisions by the new Board would have. There was a problem here, as the decisions he takes as CEO were taken as the CEO and the Board at the very same time, and had equal powers with the new Board that was going to come. He asked how the Department was going to deal with this matter. Were they saying that the new Board must deal with the previous Board?

The Deputy Minister said that unfortunately there had to be a handover report. In listening to what the Acting Chairperson was saying, she was reading again that it was the Acting CEO who had suspended the CFO, according to the report. There was now the original CEO who had committed the same offence and was supposed to deal with the matter, but it was obvious that he might not deal evenly with the matter. Where they were now, was a postponement of the meeting by PanSALB’s legal team that was supposed to deal with the settlement.

The Acting Chairperson said that the issue was very big and, from where they were sitting and discussing, it was difficult. He could tell the Minister that she was presenting the incoming Board with a serious problem, because the Board that was going to come in could not even try to review a decision. He urged the Minister to think about it.

The Deputy Minister responded that unfortunately the report had to go. The Department of Arts and Culture would hand the report over to the new Board regardless of what was done with it, but they had to get the handover report.

The Acting Chairperson agreed, and added that they could tell the Board what they had dealt with. He advised the Department to give the Board an instruction to deal with the matter, but said that whether the new Board failed or dealt with it was fine.

The Director General mentioned that this was what always baffled him about the matter, and said that that law should be removed. There should be an interim Board that dealt with this issue, because there were serious challenges in appointing a Board.

Ms Tsoleli commented that it must be remembered that a two-thirds majority was needed to deal with PanSALB.

The Director General said that these were the things that needed to be resolved.

Robben Island Museum (RIM)

The only issue requiring an update was the complaint by the Ex-Political Prisoners Association (EPPA). The DAC had responded to a media report on allegations of maladministration at the RIM. In response to the report, it had appointed the Morar Incorporated investigation company to investigate the allegations, and the investigation was under way.

The Acting Chairperson said that the CEO was negotiating with the CFO of PanSALB to settle the matter.

On Robben Island, the Director General said that there were serious allegations that were spread out over the media which concerned governance or corruption. It was getting out of hand and threatened the functioning of the institution. The Minister had then decided to do an investigation, but before this had tried to have a meeting with all the parties concerned to address these issues. This meeting never materialised, as one party could not come. This had resulted in one decision only -- to put all the allegations to rest and deal with them by having the forensic investigation. The forensic company had done the investigation and two meetings had already taken place with the institution investigating all of the allegations.

Ms Tsoleli asked if the Department was aware that when one moved from one entity to another, that there was another problem? This was seen in that Robben Island had issues now as well. When one cleaned up one entity or moved to another, another issue always came up. The Department needed to improve something within the DAC, as maybe they were monitoring and overreaching their oversight into these entities, and this needed to be strengthened.

Ms Sethubelo said that they had also done an assessment on the very same aspect, because they had met with the ex-political prisoners. They had then advised the Council to have a stakeholder committee, so there had also been a dispute within the EPPA itself to say, who was EPPA? However, they were not dealing with this, they were looking at the allegations that were coming from outside so that they could deal with them. The EPPA were saying that it was because they could see that there was visibility in the DAC, and that they now had a platform to raise the issues that they had raised before. The Department had done this assessment before because they did site visits regularly and interacted with staff and everybody on a regular basis. Maybe this was a good thing, because there may have been things that were happening that the Department had never got to know. It may have looked like a bad thing, but this was about cleaning up the entities because a lot was happening that was not being said. She acknowledged the challenges and that things were coming to the fore. This was maybe because they were extending themselves, and people could see and appreciate the role of the Department and feel more comfortable about raising their concerns.

South African Roadies Association (SARA)

The update concerned the remedial actions outlined in the report of the Public Protector (No. 6/2017) titled: “Allegations of Failure or Undue Delay by the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) to implement the Settlement Agreement signed in terms of section 6(4)(a) and (b) of the Public Protector Act, between South African Roadies Association (SARA) and Department of Arts and Culture (DAC)”. Subsequent to this report, a settlement agreement was reached between the Public Protector, SARA and the DAC. On 22 August 2018, the High Court in Pretoria had made the settlement agreement an order of the court. Following from the Public Protector report, the Department had conducted a site inspection, together with the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) to SARA House on 6 September 2018.

The DBSA had followed up with a full assessment of the building, which included a scan on the condition of the building, and modelling of the building in 3D format and an elementary bill of quantities. The assessment was also premised on the reports of the initial studies that were commissioned by the Department to Trinity in 2009, and later to the Independent Development Trust (IDT) in 2014. The assessment had concluded that the building required urgent work and intervention, as the infrastructure was found to be derelict and not user friendly, with high health and safety hazards for its occupants.

The DBSA had committed to provide implementing agent services on the project, where they would have full control over the delivery of the project in terms of time, costs and quality. The project would be rolled out over a period of 14 months, with a budget of R23 million. The budget required would be sourced from the Department, and this had been communicated to the DBSA. Over and above the infrastructure renovations, the remedial action also took into cognisance the Public Protector outcomes around the issues of funding the operational costs and the White Paper inclusion of the live events and technical services sector. With regard to funding, the Department had committed to fund SARA for a period of three years (2019/20-21). In the review of the White Paper 1996, the live services and technical sector had been consulted and factored into the revised White Paper as tabled.

Mr V Mabaso, Acting Deputy Director General: Department of Arts and Culture, briefly addressed the South African Roadies Association matter. He said that there had been issues with SARA that had not been resolved and that there was a court order to reach a settlement agreement. The DAC had also brought in the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) and gone to see the SARA House, where they had led their own investigation with regard to the renovation, as per the settlement agreement. This matter would be dealt with over a period of 14 months, with a budget of R23 million in terms of the agreement initially agreed with SARA to assist them with renovating the SARA House. The assessment would be done by the IDT, who would report to DPSA every quarter, and within 14 months he hoped that the assessment would be completed. R23 million had been identified from the Department’s side, and they were currently looking at the infrastructure budget so that there was no issue with payment going forward, and the matter could be settled for once and for all.

Discussion

The Acting Chairperson asked Mr Mabaso how fast he was going to deal with the process that he was talking about, because he had gone through the report, which was busy. He said that if they were slow, there was a possibility that the cost could increase, because the R23 million had not been tested – it was just an estimate. The sooner that the Department of Arts and Culture had the R23 million to transfer, the problem no longer lay with them but would move to the DPSA.

Mr M Matlala, Chief Financial Officer: DAC, said that what the Department had done in dealing with the court settlement had been to apply for a shifting of funds, which could only be done through National Treasury. It had been three weeks since they had sent the application for the shifting of funds. The CFO said that they normally took about three to four weeks to get a response, so if they received a response immediately, they would do the transfer because all the information had been verified. 

The Acting Chairperson thanked the CFO and said that he was worried about the process, because government always paid more due to them being so slow. He then asked if there were measures to be taken in relation to load-shedding in the entities. There had been a time when he was at a playhouse in Durban, where during the show the electricity went off and he was there, sitting in darkness. He therefore asked how the DAC was dealing with this, as even shopping malls had backup generators.

Dealing with load-shedding at DAC entities

The purpose of this submission was to outline measures to deal with load shedding at the public entities of the DAC. The DAC had made funding available for the acquisition and installation of generators, and funds had also been made available for upgrading existing emergency generators which provided only lighting to back-up generators during power outages. In some cases, emergency generators required replacement rather than upgrading. It was also noted that in most cases, funding included fees to appoint an engineer to check a suitable location to place the generator, design the structure to install the generator, draft the specifications according to the needs of the entity and monitor the service provider who would be responsible for the acquisition and installation. The detail of which entities were funded, the amount, financial years and future commitments were outlined in the presentation. In conclusion, the funding of the upgrading, acquisition and installation of the back-up generators was an ongoing process. In some entities, the generator formed part of the scope of work for bigger projects, especially in cases where there was a challenge of limited space and a need for the services of a structural engineer. It should be noted that the funding varied based on the size and the needs of the entity.

Mr Mkhize spoke on what was being done to make sure that all entities had the generators that were needed as part of their infrastructure.

The Deputy Director General said that the Department had provided a list of entities that had generators, because they provided the funding from their infrastructure allocations for entities. Most of the theatres now had generators and the CEO Playhouse now had a generator. They had provided funding to the ArtsCape Theatre of R14 million; R3.6 million to the Market Theatre Foundation, which was also being assisted by the City of Johannesburg and had a backup generator; R30 million to PACOFS, which was also procuring generators through a heat-ventilation project; Play House was to receive R18 million, and had a backup generator; the South African State Theatre had an emergency generator, but had also asked for funding; the Afrikaans Taal Museum would be receiving R531 000 for a generator, but already had an emergency generator in their main museum; the Iziko Museum already had generators, as the Department had just upgraded most of their projects; the National English Literary museum had a generator because the building was new; and the Luthuli Museum had received a generator because it was a public works building which the Department of Public Works (DPW) looked after. In addition, the KwaZulu-Natal Museum had a backup generator for lights, but because this was a museum, the Department wanted them to have generators and were providing funding of R3 million; the Msunduzi Museum had no generator currently and were advised to get a generator through funding of R2.7 million; the National Museum had a generator and had received an allocation; the Nelson Mandela Museum had a generator installed by the Chairperson; the Ditsong Museums of South Africa were procuring generators and had been allocated funding of R5 million to be used for generators, as there were six or seven sites; the Robben Island Museum always had generators, because they were off the grid but were assisted by the Department of Tourism, which had installed solar systems; and the War Museum of the Boer Republic was being allocated R4.3, R6 and R6.3 million by the Department for them to deal with their fire suppression system, heat ventilation and generator, as the building was old and everything was falling apart. Lastly, the William Humphrey museum was an art gallery, so they needed heat ventilation and air conditioning; the South African Library for the Blind had a generator that had been installed by the DPW; the National Library of South Africa, the National Arts Council and Freedom Park had generators; the National Film and Video Foundation and National Heritage Council were in leased buildings that had generators; and SAHRA and PanSALB were in a leased building that did not have generators, but SAHRA was about to relocate so the Department was going to provide funding for a generator. He then suggested that the National Heritage Council and SAHRA engage their landlords so that they could also get generators.

The Acting Chairperson said that it had been advised that as the meeting was off Parliament, it be adjourned and that all other matters be discussed the next week.

The meeting was adjourned.

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