Ditsong Museum on retabled 2019/20 Annual Performance Plan

Sports, Arts and Culture

03 March 2020
Chairperson: Ms B Dlulane (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Ditsong Museum of South Africa (DMSA) presented its Annual Performance Plan (APP) to the Committee. DMSA is currently discussing the development of a new museum, GaMohle and conducted pre-feasibility assessments on it.

The APP was retabled. This was based on a recommendation from the Auditor-General that a specific planned target was not clearly identifying the nature and level of performance for the indicator. This led to DMSA reviewing all its indicators and targets.

Members raised concern about the decline in visitor numbers across the years, employment equity relating to gender, disability and population diversity. DMSA was not representative enough.

The DMSA’s inability to raise its own revenue was also raised. Members asked about strategies to address these matters.

Issues addressed included how visitor information was gathered, how much the Council was paid, financial implications of the amendments made to the APP, heritage asset valuations, security at museums with valuable assets, DMSA’s role in social cohesion and nation building, the allegations and findings in the Public Protector Report on DMSA and the R1.3 million deficit the DMSA had.

Jukulane lodged a complaint against DMSA in February 2017. The allegations laid were, the improper award of a tender to a security service provider (Billy and Sons Security Company), the improper award of a tender to a security service provider (Eldna Security), owned by a foreign national. Further allegations were, Ditsong failed to erect a fence at Tswaing Meteorite Crater (TMC) having been allocated a budget of R39millon for the project by Department of Arts and Culture (DAC). Ditsong misused public funds allocated annually for the running of TMC and has not used the allocated funds to upgrade or properly maintain TMC.

The findings by the Public Protector were that there was no evidence to prove the allegation that Ditsong improperly appointed Billy and Sons. Ditsong's actions in appointing Eldna Security Services were rational and lawful. The allegation that Ditsong embezzled funds allocated by DAC and improperly failed to repair or upgrade the building and erect a fence despite receiving R39million, was not substantiated by the evidence received.

It was said R39 million was referred for a feasibility study done by the Department of Public Works for the erection of a perimeter fence around the 2000 hectare meteorite crater property.

A Committee Member said 90% - 99% of the Council was Black but DMSA was dealing with White history, saying the history the institution seems to be protecting is Afrikaner cultural history, when there is history of the heroes and heroines who fought for freedom in this country that can be honoured. 

DMSA said as much as South Africa’s past is painful, the institution is charged with the responsibility of presenting that painful past for the benefit of current citizens and future generations. It had to be preserved because it was part of our heritage, even if it is painful. The organisation will spend money to preserve our heritage.

Meeting report

Members of the Committee adopted the meeting agenda for the day.

The Minister and the Deputy Minister sent apologies as they were in a Cabinet meeting. The Director- General (DG) was in a MinMec meeting and also could not attend.

Other apologies were read from Mr B Mamabolo (ANC) and from Council, Ms Vuyokazi Menye, member of the Audit Committee.

The Chairperson was pleased not many members of Council were absent. She asked if there was any further information available about the DG.

Mr Makoto Matlala, CFO, Department of Arts and Culture (DAC), said the DG was meant to be travelling to do a benchmark exam but unfortunately he lost his mother. Therefore he did not travel, and alternative arrangements were made.

The Chairperson offered condolences to the DG and his family.

Ditsong Museum South Africa (DMSA) Presentation

Ms Karabo Rapoo, Chairperson, DMSA Council, said the DMSA’s brief was to present the 2019/2020 Annual Performance Plan (APP). Since it was the end of the financial year, DMSA felt it was important to include other information. She wanted to share some information about DMSA, such as what it was, its Council members, what it has overcome, and what it still had to achieve.

Ms Annabell Lebethe, CEO, DMSA, began the presentation by briefly outlining the executive management structure.

Background

Ditsong Museums of South Africa

DMSA was formerly the Northern Flagship Institute (NFI) established following the adoption of the White Paper on Arts, Culture and Heritage in 1998. It became a cultural institution in April 1999 through the Cultural Institutions Act, 1998 (No.119 of 1998), and is an amalgamation of eight museums, made up of three main museums and five historical sites.

In 2010, the NFI was renamed Ditsong Museums of South Africa and it has approximately five million heritage assets in 84 collections. Its core business entails exhibitions, public programmes and research.

DMSA Mandate

The mandate is informed by the Cultural Institutions Act 1998 (No.119 of 1998 as amended) and includes:

  • Keeping a proper record of property of the declared institution
  • Receiving, holding, preserving and safeguarding all specimens, collections or other moveable property placed under its core and management section
  • Raising funds for the institution

DMSA Museums: Overview

DMSA Museums are categorised into three main categories

1. Cultural History Museum

2. Natural History Museum

3. Military History Museum (which are national museums)

Visitors to Museums

There are plans to update and roll out exhibitions to attract visitors, but costs could be high for updating permanent exhibitions. The decline in visitors was partly because of closing restaurants at the sites. There was a recent proposal to allow restaurants to also manage museum shops and recreational activities.

2019/20 Annual Performance Plan

Rationale for the revision of the APP

Council requested management to review all indicators and targets. Based on inputs from the internal audit and the results of management's own review, it submitted a request to Minister Mthethwa on 1 October 2019 to retable the 2019/20 APP.

The revised APP was tabled in Parliament in January 2020.

Approved changes to 2019/20 APP

The approved changes per programme were indicated on slide 49-50 of the presentation.

Mr Kennedy Kaposa, CFO, DMSA, continued the presentation about the budget.

Financial Overview: Income

In the budget approved by Council for the 2019/20 year, the total income was R107 million. For the Third quarter it raised R78 million against the R107 million budgeted income. The total income was made up of the state subsidy which was the grant of R91 million, and the own revenue budget of R16 million. In the actual year to date it consisted of R69 million from the state, and R9.5 million for own revenue, which totaled R78 million.

Financial Overview: Expenditure

For the current financial year the total budget for expenditure was R107 million. This equaled the total income budgeted. The actual expenditure to date for the third quarter at 31 December 2019 was R43 million for compensation of employees, R36 million for goods and services which totalled R80 million for expenses against the R107 million budgeted expenditure.

Variance overview on financial performance and interventions

The reported performance for the third quarter had a deficit of R1.3 million when the actual revenue was compared to the actual expenditure. Interventions were put in place to address this, so there will be no deficit at year end on 31 March

Management Interventions include:

  • Tender for an operator for restaurants/cafe, shops, conference facilities and other recreational/outdoor activities approved by the Bid Adjudication Committee (BAC) for advert
  • Ongoing marketing initiatives to increase visitor numbers to museums
  • Implementation of cost cutting measures across all DMSA sites on: use of consultants, legal fees, travel, catering, conference attendances etc

Quarterly performance

Ms Lebethe continued the presentation.

Performance Environment

Factors affecting performance includes:

  • ageing and obsolete infrastructure,
  • inadequate ICT infrastructure,
  • operating a national mandate at local government level,
  • high vacancy rate for professional staff,
  • location of the museums in areas which pose a security risk to staff and visitors

Public Protector’s Report

Jukulane lodged a complaint in February 2017. The allegations were, the improper award of a tender to a security service provider (Billy and Sons Security Company), the improper award of a tender to a security service provider (Eldna Security), owned by a foreign national. Ditsong failed to erect a fence at Tswaing Meteorite Crater (TMC) having been allocated a budget of R39millon for the project by the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC). Ditsong misused public funds allocated annually for the running of TMC and has not used the allocated funds to upgrade or properly maintain TMC.

The findings by the Public Protector were that there was no evidence to prove the allegation that Ditsong improperly appointed Billy and Sons. Ditsong's actions in appointing Eldna Security Services were rational and lawful. The allegation that Ditsong embezzled funds allocated by DAC and improperly failed to repair or upgrade the building and erect a fence despite receiving R39 million, was not substantiated by the evidence received.

Ms Lebethe said the R39 million referred to was for a feasibility done by the Department of Public Works for the erection of a perimeter fence around the 2000 hectare meteorite crater property.

Forensic Audit

In 2018, the Audit, Risk, Information Communication Committee (ARIC) recommended Council undertake a forensic audit of the supply chain management unit for the period April 2016 to March 2018. The service was outsourced and ARIC made several inputs in preparation of the final report presented to Council in April/May 2020.

Discussion

Dr N Nkabane (ANC) asked what the reasons are for the decline of visitors to museums as shown in the trend line of the graph from 2014/15 to 2018/19 in slide 28 of the presentation. She sought comment on the exploration of different revenue streams, as she saw the set target for this financial year was 14%. This target is important because it will assist in ensuring the entity is sustainable. How often the entity assessed the state of infrastructure to assist it to budget on operation and maintenance cost? When would the entity fill vacant professional positions as indicated in the report? What measures did the entity have in place to address employment equity of top management and senior management of Coloured and Indian people, as it currently sat at zero, according to slide 78?

The Chairperson said Members had to be brief with questions.

Ms R Adams (ANC) asked for clarity on slide 27, why the employment costs in 2018/19 were higher than the previous years but the number of staff in 2018/19 was lower than the previous years, and why in the years of 2015/16, 2016/17 and 2018/19 the GRAP 103 grant was not applicable but only in the year of 2017/18 there was a GRAP 103 grant.

Ms V Malomane (ANC) asked if the employment equity policy of the entity included people with disabilities, for clarity on the topic of indicators versus targets, and for the entity to clarify its percentage indicators because it had not given much information.

She was happy the entity engaged with its partners about realignment and asked if the realignment dealt with issues of the vacancy rate, if the entity had an over bloated staff or not because of the realignment structure, and if the entity had a plan to address the indictors affecting its performance?

Mr B Madlingozi (EFF) asked why there were 90% - 99% Black people in the Council, while DMSA was dealing with White history. He asked if the DMSA had problems similar to Iziko South African Museum, which developments had the DMSA achieved for the poor of South Africa. He said the history this institution seems to be protecting is of a specific ethnic group which is Afrikaner cultural history and asked if there is not history of the heroes and heroines who fought for the little freedom in this country that can be honoured. GaMohle made a mockery of people’s suffering when it was exposed to the public because it was similar to what happened in the Apartheid era. It created permanent laughter of people’s victimisation and dehumanisation.

Total expenditure of the project feels like it is one of the projects milking the country’s finances. The country cannot spend more than R120 million on a project of conservations and restorations of the painful past when the majority of people suffer, and students, mainly Black students, are not able to pay for education today. There was too much money wasted on the administration of this institution and it can be seen on the declining graph of the tourism. People are not interested in watching the painful past and learning about how we were robbed.

He asked about the traveling exhibition launched on 25 July to Korea under the Connecting Cultures Programme, if it achieved its mandate, which tourism company was responsible for this project, if the DMSA would talk about Robert Sobukwe and the struggles of South Africa and if so, where are the videos of Robert Sobukwe kept. Why are there no interviews of Robert Sobukwe in our country? Why are South Africans kept in the dark about Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe?

Mr W Faber (DA) said there are 242 000 visitors which was roughly a 50% or more drop from 2014/15 to 2018/19, and he would like to know the reason for the decline, was the decline because of infrastructure not in place or because of no marketing in place, who are the visitors, is it the general public, tourists or is it scholars, and this information should be presented percentage wise.

Programme three concerned him, because it shows the Auditor-General expressed a qualified opinion on this Programme, but it was only 16% of the budget, what was the case regarding administration, and Programme Two, because nothing was said about those.

He asked about the R39 million for upgrading, the repairs the entity presented to the court, and no problems were found. The entity’s attention was on infrastructure projects of R124 million in 2019/20 and he asked what the R39 million allocated by the DAC was used for, if it was all used for the building of a fence, if this was the case, was the R39 million the correct amount to allocate to the project of building a fence, and if the correct procedure was followed on the supply chain management.

Ms V van Dyk (DA) said the DMSA received R92 million from the DAC and spent approximately R55 million on compensation of employees. However, there are 97 less employees and there is still a cost increase, what was the reason for the vacancies, and how did the DMSA plan to address this. The expenditure of R55 million on the compensation of employees, which resulted in less than R40 million guaranteed income to spend on operations including exhibitions and public education, concerned her.

She asked for clarity on the salary increase of councillors in 2018, from R4.8 million to R6.1 million, if this was part of operational costs or not, and an explanation on how the DMSA plans to increase its visitor numbers since there has been a 50% decrease in the number of visitors.

On slide 44 the DMSA spoke about virtual visitors. She asked if it did a costing, what money will be generated from the virtual visitors because usually online exhibitions are for free, how did the DMSA arrive at the number of 4 million virtual visitors, if the DMSA had online exhibitions, and if they did, what was the cost.

Her own research revealed most museums around the world generate income from having shops and asked how the DMSA plans to implement this strategy.

On slide 52, she asked for a list of the contractors used by the DMSA, and if these contractors have benefitted more than once from the tenders.

Mr T Mhlongo (DA) asked the members of Council what their view was on the White Paper that was proposed as it would affect the Council at a later stage. Slide 27 of the DMSA’s asset register shows figures such as heritage asset value in the years of 2017/18 to 2018/19, which are not the same but the figures of heritage asset numbers in the years of 2017/18 to 2018/19 are the same - he asked for an explanation on this. He asked if the figures have been affected by depreciation or other factors, who the donors are to the DMSA, how does it raise funds, its own funding, was it the duty of the DMSA CEO to raise funds for the Institution or not, and if the heritage of South Africa is at risk or not. He wanted to know if there is any tension between staff and management and what is the allowance allocated to the Council members per attendance to a council meeting.

He disliked the strategy used in the delivery of the presentation by the DMSA. There was a lack of transparency because there was no consistency. In some areas of the presentation figures are given in a percentage format and in others its plain figures. This led him to believe the DMSA was hiding something.

He asked for strategic goals and indicators to be compared with the previous year’s strategic goals and indicators, and said the DMSA failed to do this because it does not know what happened to the previous indicators for the previous financial year. This had to be addressed to have a better understanding of the indicators used, and it should compare so far as two to five years prior this financial year.

On slide 50, he asked why the DMSA did not say anything about the financial implications on its approved changes, what specific changes are made and what are the financial implications of these changes. The DMSA must share the outcome for the forensic audit done from the year 2016 to 2018. He asked if the DMSA paid Eskom or the City of Tshwane, and if it is up to date with its payments.

Mr A Seabi (ANC) congratulated the Council of DMSA for being voted the best museum in South Africa. This was one of the few institutions led by women, as the CEO and the chairperson of the DMSA are both women. He does not however see gender equity and balance cascading down to the rest of the staff. There must be a plan to address this.

He complained about the employment of a security company, owned by a foreign national. The Public Protector’s finding declared there was nothing wrong with this employment. He asked for the moral rationale of this employment even though it is legally correct.

One of the mottos of the DMSA is, “This is where cultures meet”. The logo and design of the DMSA was only reminiscent of one culture which was Ndebele culture. One of the strategic objectives of the DMSA was nation building and social cohesion, but reading through the presentation he did not get a feel of that and asked the DMSA council to elaborate more on this.

Slide 60 showed a deficit of R1 332 892 million. He asked for an explanation of the deficit, as the explanation in the slide was not adequate, and wondered how the management of the DMSA will address it?

On ageing infrastructure, an infrastructure grant exists from the Department. The DMSA Council must elaborate. The bulk of the budget seems to be going to staff compensation, and he asked for an explanation.

The Chairperson referred to the declined staff members from 240 in 2015 to 143 staff members in 2018/19, and stressed the importance of this question because in the presentation it says there is a high vacancy rate amongst professional staff - she asked what the factors are causing this decrease.

Further questions were if the 66% expenditure on compensation of employees was sustainable or not, because there was a chance it will be affected by what was proposed by this Committee to the Department concerning the White Paper, was there any money left for operations, and was there a relationship between the DMSA and the Kruger National Park?

The Chairperson opened the floor to the DMSA Council to answer questions.

DMSA responses

Ms Lebethe asked for a few minutes to regroup and sort out who will be answering certain questions among the members of the Council.

Ms Rapoo asked the CEO of DMSA to reply to all the questions about the decline of visitor numbers and how the DMSA plans to generate its own revenue.

Mr Mhlongo raised a point of order.

The Chairperson acknowledged the point of order but raised the same point of order, saying there cannot be two Chairpersons.

She asked Ms Lebethe to answer the questions she could immediately, because time is a factor.

Ms Lebethe agreed but was trying to group the questions according to who will answer. She followed the Chairperson’s instruction and said she and Mr Kaposa will answer one by one.

The reason for the decline of visitors in 2014/15 was related to restaurants at museums. There were eight museums and of those eight, most had restaurants. The museums with restaurants were the Natural History Museum (NHM), National Museum of Military History (NMMH), Sammy Marks Museum, National Cultural History Museum (NCHM) and Willem Prinsloo Agricultural Museum. The Kruger Museum, Pioneer Museum and TMC Museum did not have a restaurant. Out of the eight museums, five had restaurants and three did not.

The 484 number was largely made up of visitors to the museum. These are people who pay to go into a museum. Included in the 484 are the patrons to the restaurants. When the restaurants closed down, the museums lost numbers because there were no visitors to the restaurants. The DMSA made a public call to get a restaurant operator for all sites. That restaurant operator will also oversee the operation of museum shops.

She agreed with Ms van Dyk that internationally, museum shops have shown the ability to increase revenue because of the artifacts sold and because of links with specific brands including a link to a specific exhibition.

The DMSA did not have museum shops in that traditional definition of museum shops. The DMSA wanted an investor or a proprietor that will look at restaurants and run the museum shops. At the moment the shops sell cool drinks, juice, and books, but not in the traditional sense of museum shops.

The numbers are affected by non-operating restaurants on site, but also because, in arts and culture, looking across the music sector, theatre, galleries, all the institutions be they public or private, are experiencing declines. The ones which do well are the ones based where there is a high concentration of tourist activities. For example, the ones in Cape Town do fairly better compared to the Johannesburg and Durban ones, because the tourist element is a positive contributor to the negative numbers.

Most of the sites in the North do not have tourists contributing to numbers. This impacted what the DMSA could do across the sites to attract visitors. Other programmes which were non-museum related programmes were explored, such as movies under the stars, programmes utilising the museums space for photography purposes or as wedding venues. This is to explore other means of bringing in more numbers.

The DMSA has a very good relationship with City of Tshwane Tourism and the DMSA was a member of the Tshwane Tourism Association, which extends invitations to the DMSA for events such as a tourism summit and expos.

GaMohle was a project lead by the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC). It was set around liberation and resistance roots. GaMohle was identified by the City of Tshwane as one of the possible sites included in the Tshwane specific route. It has not been converted into a fully-fledged museum as of yet. However particular requests to do activations are accepted, either from the City of Tshwane or from the National Department itself there will be specific guided tours around GaMohle, but not normally as an ongoing museum as it was only done on request.

The DMSA did not as of yet have an online visitor number, but what is counted is the number of visits to a page. Data is collected from online visits to museums, galleries, and the “about us” page.

At the moment the number of visits recorded is quite high, because each visit to the pages on the website are counted as unique visits. The DMSA has identified this as a benefit for the future because now a captive audience who regularly visits the DMSA site already exists. This can be utilised positively once a virtual museum is established.

A virtual museum needs digitisation before the DMSA can be certain or satisfied with the quality of images for the virtual museum. It must meet a particular international standard for digitisation. At this moment the images available were just stills of current exhibitions. There was no virtual or guided tour yet.

In 2017 the Council approved a structure on staffing. The structure had to be reviewed because the compensation to the operational budget was unsustainable. A process was undertaken to review the strategy. It realised the structure did not support the achievement of strategic goals of the strategy it set at that time. The process was to refine and realign the structure to the strategy, and when this happened it meant Council had to bring down the target to around 60% of compensation. The DMSA was currently at 66%. Within a five-year period the DMSA should be at 62% and this was stated to Council.

With implementing the new structure, appointments were firstly made from the internal staff. There were 100 full time staff members, through the years there was a moratorium placed on filling vacant positions. This lowered the staffing numbers so the new structure could be finalised. The process resulted in the introduction of the new structure on 1 November 2019.

Between 1 November 2019 and the end of June 2020, it anticipated all current members of staff will be placed. There would still be a few vacant positions, likely new positions.

The priority was to fill positions which were run concurrently as an internal and an external recruitment process for positions above grade 11 in the organisation.

Professional positions within the organisation, such as curator positions, required the individual to have a master or a doctoral degree due to the specialised nature of the work. The organisation struggled with filling the positions of CEO and Museum Director, but were finalising it now. For example, at the NHM, it took three years to fill a professional position in the organisation.

There were not people with disabilities in the structure, or from the Coloured and Indian communities. It intended, with the plan in place that new positions sent out will allow for the requirements of employment equity to be met. When the process of filling posts was finalised at the end of June, the employment equity composition might differ.

Ms Lebethe was not sure about Iziko’s problems, but the DMSA had a healthy relationship with its labour partners. It was deliberate and engaged with labour, since the realignment started. It worked with local labour forums every second month. It was planned to be annually.

There was also the Management Labour Consultative Forum Committee (MLCFC), established for the purpose of the new structure. It was a valuable forum for engagement with Labour to deliberate around broader employment issues. DMSA also had Labour participate as observers in the recruitment processes, and during the placement and classification for the new structure.

The organisation has been deliberate about making sure that labour was included and has been transparent about processes related to employees. It did not have labour problems, this was not to say there were not one or two incidents, but these were not at the scale of Iziko.

On 2018/19, where the staff numbers decreased but employment costs increased, slide 27, where there had been vacancies, the additional responsibilities policy had to be activated which allowed for secondment or new responsibilities to members of staff which was approved by the Board in 2017. The cost also included casual workers. Every year across the work environments, around 20 casual or contract workers were employed such as tour guides therefore the employee cost included temporary and contract workers.

On gender equity, she said the organisation was predominately female and female majority run.

The Chairperson asked if any other official wanted to speak as the responsibility had to be shared.

Mr Kaposa said he would answer questions the CEO did not address.

He said the organisation had an infrastructure maintenance plan for its ageing infrastructure. The first grant from the Department came in 2018/19. A tender was issued for condition assessment of infrastructure sites. The DMSA was in discussion with the Department of Public Works (DPW) through a facilitated management company to assist with the condition assessment of all its buildings.

The DMSA had nine sites and for it to address infrastructure challenges properly it had to know the condition of each building, therefore condition assessments were a requirement for the Infrastructure Grant from the DAC. The outcome of the condition assessment project was going to be an infrastructure maintenance plan covering all the buildings at the nine sites.

On staff numbers and employee costs, he said, the CEO spoke about implementing the new structure, called the realignment structure. The effect of this realignment was, when staff left either through natural means, resignations, or retirements, those posts were not filled, but the organisation still had to operate.

Those gaps in capacity were filled, as indicated by the CEO, through acting positions and casual workers. Thus, the organisation kept paying even if the post was vacant. That is why from 2015/16 to 2018/19 it increased from R51 million to R54 million. The increase was not significant in terms of the employee costs and it was because the organisation kept filling those gaps.

On the GaMohle R121 million budget, he said GaMohle was currently the DMSA Head Office. There was a discussion about converting it into a museum and the deliberation came to the estimate of R121 million. It was not the actual budget but an estimate if the organisation moved in that direction. Currently the building was used and had cultural significance.

On the infrastructure budget, the R124 million mentioned in the presentation was an estimate of the extensive infrastructure project if it were undertaken. The estimate had to be done internally to determine the costs.

The R39 million mentioned in the Public Protector Report was an estimate made by the DPW to fix the Tswaing fence. DMSA did not receive the money. Part of the allegations were, the R39 million was received and was misused, but the amount was only an estimate.

Ms Lebethe added on the allegation about the award given to a foreigner, saying the findings were that the owners were South African and there was not improper award of the contract.

Mr Kaposa referred to slide 51 (highlights of expenditure over the five years). There was a hike in 2018/19 expenditure if compared to the other years. The total expenditure was R136 million, because of the GRAP 103 Grant of R45 million to take care of the verification and valuation of assets. The money was spent in 2017/18 and 2018/19 with about R28 million of the R45 million spent. This caused the increase in expenditure.

The DMSA held precious and valuable assets which were heritage assets, and because of the accounting standard (the GRAP 103), a verification and valuation of assets which took place in 2017/18 to 2018/19 was necessary.

On the question about the difference of the value of the heritage assets, in slide 27 it showed in 2017/18 the total value was R894 million and for 2018/19 the total was R892 million despite the number of assets being the same. Heritage assets were national assets which did not depreciate, but because of the GRAP 103 accounting standard there was another process needing evaluation.

The heritage assets lose value because of factors such as being broken or damaged. The value reduced. The decline of R2 million was due to impairment and loss of items reported in the Annual Report. The DMSA worked towards improving security since the valuation of assets were done.

Ms Lebethe said there was risk due to the level of exposure of the heritage assets. DMSA dealt with real daily risks of safeguarding and managing all assets. Linked to this was the TMC, also a national heritage asset although it was an open-air museum. The level of responsibility and exposure was an ongoing issue for DMSA and many other museums, especially public entity museums. This is because assets must be protected and conserved. While assets are still disclosed while the standard is in operation, there was an increased security risk.

At the moment there was a tender out for security, therefore a different level of security was necessary, depending on the value of the assets. Museums were about collective memory and once it was destroyed it will never be found again. There is no other one and it had to be guarded for future generations. The level of risk increased daily due to the value of assets. The impact because of this is a disconnect in security costs and insurance which calls for new systems and technologies to ensure the protection of assets.

On GaMohle and the Afrikaner history, she said once given the responsibility, one cannot be selective of which history to have. Museums reflect there are different lessons to learn. Sammy Marks was an entrepreneur and this museum had an ethos of entrepreneurship in its programmes. Museums did not solely celebrate the individual but various values still relevant.

About the Korean travelling exhibition, DMSA did not pay for the exhibition and Korea engaged through the DAC with Ditsong.

Regarding transformation of collections and Afrikaner narrative, the transformation strategy was very significant for an organisation like DMSA because collections were Eurocentric and Western in nature. If DMSA was not deliberate in changing that narrative, other narratives would not be highlighted. The transformation strategy impacted the way items were collected and it was a mindset change of including different things that were pan-African.

On Robert Sobukwe, she said DMSA worked together with the Sobukwe Trust on the exhibition, where DMSA paid for the cost because it believes it is an important narrative presenting who Sobukwe was. The discussion had to be how to do it on a more consistent basis and how DMSA helps to preserve it better.

The visitor numbers were largely students from schools. This week was careers week and attendees were students. DMSA paid the transporting costs. 80% of visitors are schools, 10% international visitors, and the balance was the general public. The focus was on education and there was a generation of consumers who had to be educated. There were still marketing programmes, such as community radio stations, advertising in various newspapers, and social media campaigns.

On some targets being figures and some being percentages, she said for certain items it was better to calculate it as a percentage such as the indicator for addressing external audit findings. Finding numbers can differ. A 100% target will lead to addressing it adequately. For the specimen indicator it was a similar case as the number of specimens collected was not pre-determined.  Speaking about how to compare targets across the years as only one year was indicated, she said this information could be provided.

Ms Lebethe addressed the question of paying Council, saying rates were determined by National Treasury and were reviewed annually. The Chairperson received R2 100, the Deputy Chair received R1 900, and members R1 700, which was the regulated fees per meeting attendance, and then double that for preparation time.

Mr Kaposa said the reason for the R1.3 million deficit was twofold. Firstly, due to the unfunded mandate such as for costs of water and lights. Secondly, the DMSA’s ability to generate its own revenue. Own revenue had three sources, namely, admission fees, rental income, and interest on funds in the bank account.

DMSA struggled with admissions and rental incomes. Some tenants on the premises have not paid rent and some accounts were handed to debt collectors or evicted. There were ongoing marketing campaigns on admission fees, to increase visitor numbers. These were some of the interventions in place. The DMSA was working on decreasing its own expenditure.

Referring to if DMSA paid the City of Tshwane or Eskom, Mr Kaposa said one museum was in Johannesburg and the others were in Pretoria. The DPW paid on behalf of DMSA, and it paid this back on a recovery basis.

Regarding the relationship between Kruger Museum and Kruger Park, Ms Lebethe said the Park fell under the South African National Parks (SANParks) and late last year it signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) SANParks, for the work related to museums and conservation services, not necessarily Kruger Park itself. It was a broad-based agreement to support and collaborate.

On the White Paper, she said Council was aware of the 5% and the proposed feasibility reports outlining various entities and its configurations.

Ms Yvunne Mashilela, Chairperson HRREM Committee, said a year ago the Parliamentary Committee visited Ditsong. It appeared communication was an issue. The internal survey also showed communication was an issue. DMSA took it upon itself to make sure communication channels are created. It was working well.

There was a succession policy approved by Council, making sure management made a plan on how the policy regarding the ageing workforce is implemented. For scientists, DMSA made sure there were succession plans and understudies.

On the management structure, the DMSA was doing quite well in placing females in executive levels and not only junior levels.

Ms Lebethe said at least twice a year Council met with all staff. It was a forum for staff members to engage with Council. This gave Council a chance to hear directly from staff, without the cover of management. The meetings were three to four hours long.

On the forensic audit report for 2016/17, she said the audit report led to findings on the TMC fence tender awarded in 2009/10 where DMSA paid an upfront amount of about R4 million rand of a total R9 million. The company ended up building half a wall and disappeared. DMSA opened a case with the South African Police Services (SAPS) and got a report back at a meeting with the Colonel responsible for the case at the Commercial Crimes Unit in Pretoria two weeks back. SAPS was missing some information.

Some of the findings were related to the DMSA being mindful of collusion and aware of its existence.

Dr Mbongeni Mdletye, Chairperson Core Committee, said at the level of the Core Functions Committee, it was handling the matter of adding on visitor numbers. There was a campaign by management that all South Africans had to have access to museums. The DMSA began engaging with the Department of Basic Education to get information about schools so that it could market to them and draw learners from other provinces as well. Truth be told, people in other provinces did not know DMSA existed. The DMSA worked on how to market itself to the public.

As much as South Africa’s past was painful, the institution was charged with the responsibility of presenting that painful past for the benefit of current citizens and future generations. It had to be preserved because it was part of our heritage, even if it is painful. The organisation will spend money to preserve our heritage.

The Chairperson said there was not much time left.

Dr Len Konar, Deputy Chairperson, Audit Committee, said he was one of the 11 people who wrote “The King Code of Corporate Governance”, and wanted to give comfort to the Members that corporate governance was important to the entity. It has documented polices, a Board Charter, and zero deviance is tolerated.

Cost containment and supply chain management are taken seriously and people are held to account on a consistent and fair basis. The Council has an advocate, chartered accountant, attorney, as well as others with doctoral degrees that would do the right thing and ensure monies granted by Parliament are spent correctly. Despite the novice fees paid to members, members took their responsibilities seriously.

The Chairperson said Members could ask further questions but had to be aware of time constraints.

Follow up questions

Mr Mhlongo elaborated on the question of how the White Paper will affect the Council. He said he was not satisfied with the answer given and more details are required, such as, what the auditor outcomes are and how DMSA implemented recommendations. He asked that a detailed report be sent to the Committee, reflecting what the financial implications of the amended targets are.

Mr Madlingozi said slide 31 showed 1 137 local learners were exposed, but he wanted to know if there were systems in place to reflect the visitor’s level of interest.

Ms Malomane referred to employment equity, saying she was not happy there were not disabled employees and wants DMSA to implement employment equity well.

Mr Seabi spoke about the employment statistics on slide 77-78. He said there was a mistake because the total added was incorrect. He asked why the logo on represented one tribe and how the institution promoted social cohesion and nation building – this was not answered in the APP.

The Chairperson said the current security was concerning as there should not have been missing items. She was unhappy because the organisation will be 20 years old soon, but infrastructure maintenance was a challenge, meaning it was not taken seriously over the past years. Infrastructure maintenance work had to be fast tracked

Department’s responses

Ms Lebethe, answering Mr Mhlongo’s question about other funding, said DMSA did not raise additional funding.

In 2019, Council approved the Resource Organisation Strategy, which looked at different fields it had to utilise to increase own revenue such as film and photography, fun days, and fundraising activities. It also looked at assets which could be monetised. Once the post for Manager: Executive Support was filled, fundraising activity will be increased.

There were no financial implications for changed targets. The targets already existed as a deliverables. It was just split respectively to clarify targets.

It was recommended that the Forensic Report indicators be revised from saying achieve 25% to rather say 100%, to make it clear without ambiguity, for future purposes when there is an audit.

Ms Lebethe said the Deputy Chairperson will speak on the matter of the White Paper, but the DMSA will provide a tracking of the recommendations and implementation and will submit it to the Committee.

Mr Konar said the White Paper issue was raised as something the Council had to consider. It was circulated and discussed by strategy as well as the Board. It was considered positive as it would result in the amalgamation of certain museums. From the combination point of view, there will be fewer Boards and therefore the administration and fees related will be affected. The attention, focus, desirability, marketing and business development of museums had to be considered. The Council was open minded about it and as the White Paper process progresses the Council will make further input. The Council was agreeable to what was in the best interest of the Department of Sports, Art, and Culture.

Ms Lebethe (on Mr Mdlongonzi’s question about visitor interest specific to learners), said there was a visitor questionnaire which asked various questions which the organisation used to improve visitor experience.

On employment equity and people with disabilities, she said it was an area of concern and despite repeated external adverts, there was not enough interest in posts. With the current recruitment process the DMSA hoped to achieve better employment equity.

Answering the question about how the organisation promotes and demonstrates social cohesion, she said DMSA works very well with the North Gauteng Medical Health Institute to celebrate Mandela Day together with children from child headed homes, orphans and children affected by HIV/Aids in Soshanguve and Mamelodi.

During March, there was an International Museum Week where free access was provided and during that period it worked with other museums and galleries where different routes were created for visitors. It was not only limited to this period as DMSA had a good relationship with the City of Tshwane and various other organisations and Departments, as it had various partnerships. It was also interacting with the public to create new initiatives.

The Chairperson said the question about slide 77-78 had not yet been answered.

On security measures, Ms Lebethe said DMSA was very concerned about the risk associated with less than desirable security infrastructure. It was not taking a blanket approach towards security as it knew what its high value objects were and the specific security needed. With this tender it was addressed accordingly instead of broadly. Staff were informed there would be consequence management if items went missing. This will work as deterrent.

On the logo, she said it rotated from time to time to represent multiple cultures.

The Chairperson gave thanks and said the CEO was very informative. She said the question regarding slide 77-78 about employment equity, was not addressed, and next time it had to be changed. She suspected the DMSA did not have answers as the question was asked more than once with no answer.

Department’s comments

Mr Makoto Matlala, Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Department of Arts and Culture, said the GRAP 103 was a generally recognised accounting standard adopted by South Africa, dealing with heritage assets. In the total valuation of heritage assets for entities reporting to the DAC, almost R200 million was spent. The standard was implemented despite the International Council of Curators who said it was unethical to value heritage assets. It was a risk to value assets as this led to syndicates being informed, but this was taken into consideration.

Ms Thembi Malao, Director, Entities Management, DAC, cleared up some confusion when the Chairperson referred to the Council as provincial representatives - there are 13 national museums which the Minister was responsible for by allocating budgets. Within the 13 there were two flagships which were Iziko in the Western Cape, which had 14 satellites, and Ditsong, in Gauteng, with eight satellites, with one as a Head Office. There was one in Bloemfontein, a national museum which had five satellites.

The Chairperson said the Committee was a new one and was not aware of all the museum related information. She thanked the Department, officials and Members, and asked that necessary documents were forwarded to the Committee.

The meeting was adjourned.

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