Arts and Culture Portfolio Committee Legacy Report

Arts and Culture

12 March 2019
Chairperson: Ms X Tom (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

Available here once published: Legacy Reports

The Committee convened for their last meeting prior to the 2019 general election to discuss the draft Arts and Culture Portfolio Committee Legacy Report covering their time as Members between 2014 and 2019. Members were thanked for their five years of service by the Chairperson, and Members expressed their hopes that the incoming Committee would be able to continue the progress and work that they had made during their tenure.

Members were given a brief overview of the contents of the Legacy Report. It included sections on the number of oversight trips and study tours taken, the number of appointments made by the Committee and various statistics about the progress that had been made over the previous five years. There was also a summary of outstanding issues still to be addressed, both by the Committee’s successors and by Parliament.

Members had several issues with the report. Some felt that there were particular cases that needed to be further described and clarified, since they had not yet been properly resolved. In the particular, there were concerns about the misappropriation of funds meant for the Windybrow Theatre in Gauteng by the Market Theatre Foundation, and of the proposals that the Committee had made for the appointments to the board of the Pan South African Language Board (PANSALB). It was emphasised that the Department as a whole needed to become much more efficient and capable of processing the demands made of it by the Committee. Often, stakeholders of various entities contacted Members in exasperation at the Department’s inefficiency, despite the Committee’s function being merely one of oversight. It needed to be stressed in the report that the Department, at present, was unresponsive.

Members adopted the report with amendments. Five sets of minutes from previous meetings were also adopted.

The meeting concluded with further thanks to Chairperson and the Members for their work on the Committee.

 

Meeting report

The Chairperson welcomed the Committee and thanked them for their hard work over the course of its term, as it would be dissolved on account of its mandate ending with the 2019 general election. She said it was being reported that 80% of the departmental budget was transferred to entities, though the Department insisted that that was not the case. The fact of the matter was that 80% was being transferred somewhere. The Committee had made site visits and made recommendations on the basis of those visits, but some had not been carried out. On fixing these problems, hope was not a strategy, but at this point one could only hope that the Committee that would take over in June would continue to develop the issues that they had raised. There were still issues that existed five years ago that had not been addressed properly.

She thanked Members for their commitment and dedication - going the extra mile to ensure that the issues they found in the entities were addressed. The Committee had an oversight function, but it was here also to advise the Department. Today the Committee would be considering the minutes and the legacy report. Also, being at the finishing line, Members would say their goodbyes at the end of the meeting. Life was going to be strange without the Committee. Sometimes Members were pushed hard to ensure that they got the results that they wanted. She implored Members to keep up the good work and not get tired of doing good.

She asked if someone in attendance would be willing to present the legacy report of the 2014 - 2019 Portfolio Committee.

Ms Ajabulile Mtiya, the Committee Secretary, agreed to do so. She informed Members that the report touched on the challenges and developments that the Committee had faced and addressed over the course of its run between 2014 and 2019. It looked at statistics in the form of meetings held, oversight trips undertaken, study tours taken, appointments made, and so on.

For the Committee that would take over after the 2019 general election, the Department would attach the report, should it be adopted. It contained recommendations for the incoming Committee to look at and assess, including discussions about notable entities the present Committee had engaged with, the mandate and scope of the Committee, and various other statistics. The Department could not include detailed reports of oversight visits, of which there were 11, in the legacy report due to their length, but they would be attached for reference to the master documents to be distributed.

There was also a summary of outstanding issues on page 44. It was indicated on the side, by each issue, who the Committee felt was responsible. In addition to this, there were also listed the issues that needed to be attended to by Parliament.

No indications had been given by the Department that there were issues to be added on top of those included in the report.

Mr G Grootboom (DA) said that he had several issues to raise. The first that came to mind was that of the Windybrow Theatre in Gauteng. The funds had been transferred to the Market Theatre Foundation, and at the time this entity had had good reporting around its operation. There was no indication of any action taken against those who had been found guilty of impropriety and appropriating the funds meant for the theatre. He added that he had two other issues, but he would return to them later.

Mr T Makondo (ANC) commented that the Portfolio Committee had completed proposals for appointments for the board of the Pan South African Language Board (PANSALB). There was an issue of the date of this appointment. On page 42, the date was recorded as being in 2019, when it had actually been in 2018.

The Chairperson asked if Members had any other points to raise.

When there were no responses, she commented that five years had passed since the establishment of the sixth Portfolio Committee of Arts and Culture, and they had been told the same things about the intractability of certain problems over and over again. The people who were going to come in should follow up on these issues as they had left them. On the people who had written to her on various other issues, the response they would give to them was an assurance that their issues would be prioritised by the next Committee. They wanted people to know that they had taken their issues seriously. Regarding the South African Voters Association, there continued to be ongoing correspondence.

Another concern was the issue of the non-responsive Department. She stressed that the Committee needed to amplify that concern. The Department really had to find a way of responding to the Committee and the stakeholders. The stakeholders came to the Committee when they had issues with the Department, but the Committee were oversight functionaries.

Mr Grootboom added that in 2014, he had asked the Department for a calendar of their year’s activities and events so that the Portfolio Committee could refer to them in their discussions. It had still not yet happened. He also wanted to know how the Committee addressed issues of protocols. How did it deal with the chief executive officers (CEOs) of entities?

The Chairperson commented that that was an important point. When the CEO knew something but the Chairperson did not, it could be quite embarrassing. There was a need to ensure that there was no miscommunication and misunderstanding, as it actually actually destroy the work done by an entity.

The Chairperson added that, if there were no other issues to raise, she would ask that the report be adopted with the amendments.

Mr Makondo proposed the adoption of report with amendments. Ms S Tsoleli (ANC) seconded.

Committee minutes
The Chairperson announced that the Committee would move to the adoption of minutes.

In the minutes of 4 December 2018, she noted that a sentence on page 1 was incomplete.

Mr Grootboom proposed that it be amended from ‘increasing the’ to ‘increasing the effectiveness of oversight’.
 
The Chairperson commented that most of page 3 should be revised for clarity.

In the minutes of 19 February 2019, the Chairperson observed some mistakes in the spelling of names and the record of attendance.

Mr Grootboom interjected, and asked if the Committee might briefly return to an issue in the legacy report. As had been noted during the Committee’s meeting on 19 February, it was a fact that some council members had been appointed as CEOs to various entities. It ought to feature in the legacy report as one of the Committee’s concerns.

The Chairperson added that on the issue of the Department looking at entities, it needed to be the case that it had tried to rein in some entities that were running amok. Entities could not do as they liked whilst receiving funding from the Department.

Returning to the minutes of 19 February, the Chairperson noted that on page 3 of the minutes on the issue of the national library, she had asked the Deputy Director General (DDG) whether she had looked at the fairness and justness of the process. The Chairperson had asked if she had actually taken the letter that was sent to her, and thereafter whether she had taken steps to ensure that the Committee had exercised its mandate properly.

Mr Makondo commented that a sentence on page 6 needed to be amended for clarity.

He proposed the adoption of the minutes. Mr MRabotapi (DA) seconded.

In the minutes of 21 February, after no issues were raised, Mr Makondo proposed the adoption of the minutes. Ms N November (ANC) seconded.

In the minutes of 26 February, the Chairperson felt that the second paragraph of page 2 needed to be reworked.

Mr Rabotapi proposed the adoption of the minutes. Mr Makondo seconded.

In the minutes of 5 March 2019, the Chairperson noted that there was an issue with the initialling and spelling. In addition, on page 3, revisions were needed to address the issues under which the infrastructure referred to was being utilised incorrectly, especially the Dini Zulu Exile project and the Winnie Mandela project.

Ms November proposed the adoption of the minutes. Mr Makondo seconded.

The Chairperson thanked Members for their commitment to the Portfolio Committee, and distributed pictures of the Committee’s group visit to a museum as a token of her appreciation for the its collective work between 2014 and 2019. Members showed their appreciation.

Mr Makondo and Ms N Bilankulu (ANC) proposed the adoption of minutes, with amendments noted.

The Chairperson commented that one could only hope that the Department was going to be closer to communities and to their stakeholders in the next Parliament. She hoped that a dent had been made that made things easier for them.

Ms November asked Mr Makondo to add a few comments on his appreciation of the Chairperson and the Committee.

Mr Makondo thanked everyone.

The Chairperson responded with a small note of her appreciation of and wishes for the Committee Members.

The meeting was adjourned.

 

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