In a virtual meeting, the Committees were briefed by the Minister heard that the new Department of Sport, Arts and Culture was ready with its Strategic Plan and Annual Performance Plan (APP) but was meeting the Committees at a time when the country was under the trying challenge of the COVID-19 virus whilst also faced with low economic growth for a sustained period. The COVID-19 virus had forced the Department to change to a more confrontational tack to confront the virus, so it had been looking at ways to address the COVID-19 challenge including a review of its budget. Members heard further that while the Department’s plans could be presented, it would only be a compliance exercise and would not reflect the reality of the economic shutdown. There was general agreement that the Department be given time to reorganise the budget to accommodate and address the impact of COVID-19. Of equal importance was Members’ position that the Department’s work would continue with agreement that the document be adopted with a proposal that the Department present the APP as planned and come back with a reworked Strategic Plan.
When Members expressed concern about the disappearance of income for artists, painters, actors and sports people and asked that this area be looked at to help those in need, the Minister made it clear that the Department owed the Committee an up-to-date briefing. He suggested that another meeting be arranged to look at the Department‘s contribution to softening the blow of COVID-19 on artists and athletes and to look beyond COVID-19 at a recovery plan because the projections were that South Africa might be heading to 50% unemployment.
Another area of concern was government relief as it had been two months since relief was announced. Hence Members made the following appeal: ‘Could the Department and the Minister make it a priority to deal with relief to these people’. In terms of the development and establishment of the new Department Members asked how the Department would streamline the work processes of the two old departments and how far the development of an organogram was.
Members asked if non-contact sports like golf and swimming could be opened going forward; for an update on the progress to date of the Cultural and Creative Industries Federation of South Africa (CCIFSA); how much funding would be made available to CCIFSA and how was CCIFSA assisting artists in this COVID-19 period. The dilemma being faced was one of opening the economy through the risk an adjusted strategy for livelihoods while at the same time protecting lives. Members heard that the arts industry was the hardest hit because of the nature the industry.
Members were informed that the new Department had a new vision and a new mission which spoke to the programme indicators of the Department’s APP; that the number of bursaries awarded in Programme 3 would be revised; and on the whole, the APP needed to be revised by 50% to account for the impact of COVID-19. The budget of the Department was R5.7b and transfers to provinces and municipalities accounted for R4.4b, which was 79% of the budget. Goods and Services totalled R610m and Cost of Employees totalled R407m. The Committees asked ‘Was the reduction in the target regarding two major heritage legacy projects because of budget reductions or the reprioritisation of funds’? ‘Which project would be affected and stalled and what was the rationale for such decision’?
Members noted that there had always been concerns around the factoring in of women’s empowerment, people with disabilities and GBV. They asked: ‘Did the Department consider these factors in their APP’? Members said the Department had said that it would be rolling out anti-Femicide campaigns in communities. ‘Would this increase’? Members noted with concern that violence against women had intensified in the lockdown period and asked ‘Was the Department putting more measures in place to minimise gender-based violence’.
Members said that when the Department reworked the budget, it had to look at the number of athletes that it provided support to for the Olympic Games as this number had decreased from 80 to 40 and asked if this would affect the Olympic targets of the Department negatively. The decrease in the athletes supported by sports academies was of concern. Members found this strange because athletes needed more support now than ever before.
Members asked how would the construction of libraries be affected by COVID-19 and would they proceed as planned. The Department was supposed to consider plans for a new national theatre, a national orchestra and a ballet troupe. Members questioned the viability of this move and asked if the Department was coping with the invoice issues from provinces around the 30-day payment rule; How far the Department had progressed regarding the White Paper; Would the target be met; What was the Department doing for Africa Day on 25 May; whether the new Department had a relationship with Kings and Queens and was there an allocation for them and about the implementation of the introduction of indigenous languages in schools.
The Chairperson said the Department’s APP would be reviewed and revised when adjustments were done.
Minister Nathi Mthethwa said that the new Department of Sport, Arts and Culture was ready with its Strategic Plan and Annual Performance Plan (APP) but was meeting the Committee at a time when the country and the world was under the trying challenge of the COVID-19virus. The country had faced low growth for a sustained period and now also faced the Corona virus as well as a down grading of its investment grade by rating’s agencies to junk bond status. The COVID-19had forced the Department to change tack to confront the virus. Hence while the Department’s plans could be presented, it would only be a compliance exercise and would not reflect the reality of the economic shutdown. The Department had in the meantime been looking at ways to address the COVID-19challenge including a review of its budgets. There was no budget to support the strategic plan and APP, as resources had been redirected to deal with COVID-19.
Mr W Faber (DA) said that the Minister had made it clear that the budget would not remain the same.
Mr T Mhlongo (DA) said that he concurred with the Minister that the Department be given time to reorganise the budget to deal with the impact of the COVID-19 virus.
Mr B Madlingozi (EFF) welcomed the introduction by the Minister and acknowledged that the APP would have to be adjusted to deal with COVID-19. The most pressing issue was the disappearance of income for artists, painters, actors and sports people and this needed to be looked at to help those in need. It had been two months since government’s relief was announced. ‘Could the Department and the Minister make it a priority to deal with relief for these people’?
Chairperson Nchabeleng said that the budget needed to be ‘Okayed’ and it could be reviewed again in July when the budget reviews were done.
Mr A Seabi (ANC) supported the Minister’s input. He said it would be futile to discuss the presentation as it did not contain the responses to COVID-19. The Department should be allowed to rework its strategic plan and APP to be able to respond to COVID-19 after which the Committee could look at the revised documents.
The Minister said that the Department owed the Committee an up-to-date briefing. He suggested that another meeting be arranged to look at the Department‘s contribution to softening the blow of COVID-19 on artists and athletes and to look beyond COVID-19 at a recovery plan because the projections were that South Africa might be heading to 50% unemployment. The dilemma being faced was one of opening the economy through the risk adjusted strategy for livelihoods while at the same time protecting lives. He said that the arts industry was the hardest hit because of the nature the industry.
Mr Mhlongo asked about the beneficiaries of the R150 million that the Committee had asked of the Department. He asked further if non-contact sports like golf and swimming could be opened going forward.
Mr Seabi said that the Committee needed to reach agreement that the strategic plan and the APP needed to be reworked and that a meeting would be arranged to get up to date reports on the relief fund including what was requested to be done in the previous meeting.
Ms V Van Dyk (DA) said she agreed that the secretary should organise a meeting to discuss an up-to-date plan and budget and she wanted an update on the report on the relief fund. She said that the Minister needed to take measures to assist artists in the creative space to assist them with streaming. She asked if a website could be created to assist in the training of artists in using streaming media. She said the concept of a drive-in venue with stages put up as had occurred in other countries could also be looked at.
Mr Faber asked the Minister if there was any possibility of getting sport back on television as this would allow citizens to watch something.
The Chairperson cautioned that while there was a need to open up, the experts and the central COVID-19 Task Team had to be listened to.
Mr Madlingozi made a plea to the Minister to demand that DJs play South African music on radio stations and to create awareness that artists needed help urgently.
Ms M Gillion’s (ANC, Western Cape) concern was that sport could not be opened easily, and when sport was opened up discipline had to be maintained and social distancing had to be adhered to.
Mr Seabi wanted confirmation that the meeting accepted the Department’s proposed presentation and budget with the recognition that it would be reworked and the budget adjusted for COVID-19’s impact.
Mr Mhlongo said he did not approve the current documents before the Committee, but did want to give the Department time to rework it. He would approve the APP so that the Department could carry on with its work.
Mr Faber seconded this opinion. He said the document was not rejected and the budget was not accepted because COVID-19’s impact was not included in it and the Committee could wait for the reworked document.
The Deputy Minister, Ms Nocawe Mafu, said that there was consensus that the Department continue with its work and that the budget needs reworking. It was important that there was agreement that the Department’s work would continue.
Mr M Bara (DA, Gauteng) said he was concerned that a presentation on the documents was not given to the Committee. There was no structured meeting with people asking for updates on the relief efforts. He aligned himself to the Deputy Minister’s comments but his dilemma was how to adopt something that was not presented to the Committee.
Ms V Malomane (ANC) said that the document was circulated and had to be presented and she also agreed that it be redone based on the impact of COVID-19.
Mr Mhlongo concurred with Mr Bara that a document that had not been presented could not be approved. He agreed it had to be reworked and then the reworked document could be approved.
Mr Madlingozi agreed that the document could not be adopted.
Co-Chairperson Dlulane proposed that the Department present the APP as planned and come back with a reworked Strategic Plan. She said the law provided six months for this to happen.
Ms S Luthuli (EFF, KZN) said that differing views had been presented. She asked what was being adopted as the Minister had said that the documents needed to be reworked.
The Chairperson said that there was agreement that the documents needed to be reworked and the Department would be given an opportunity to present its APP before the meeting would be closed.
Briefing by the Department of Arts and Culture on its APP
The Director-General, Mr Vusumuzi Mkhize, presented the APP and said that the new Department had a new vision and a new mission. He went on to speak to the programme indicators of the Department comparing the original targets and the targets set, taking COVID-19 into account. He said the number of bursaries awarded in Programme 3 would be revised. The APP needed to be revised by 50% for the new normal that was post COVID-19. The budget of the Department was R5.7 billion, transfers to provinces and municipalities accounted for R4.4 billion, Goods and Services totalled R610 million and Cost of Employees totalled R407 million.
Mr Makoto Matlala, Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Department of Sports, Arts and Culture, said that transfers accounted for 79% of the budget. Funds that were ring-fenced could not be increased or decreased without the National Treasury’s (NT) permission.
On the Department’s merger, the Chairperson asked how they would streamline the work processes of the two departments and how far the development of an organogram was.
Mr Mhlongo asked why the Department still had Mzansi Golden Economy (MGE) and this program had to be reviewed.
Mr Seabi said that the Department was looking to work with South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) to ensure that good governance prevailed there, but how would the Department facilitate this given that SASCOC had its own governance challenges. ‘The AG raised issues regarding the APP, so how was the AG’s recommendations factored into the current APP’. There had always been concerns on the factoring in of women’s empowerment, people with disabilities and GBV. ‘Has the Department considered these factors in their APP’?
Ms A Maleka (ANC, Mpumalanga) said that the Department’s documents referred to two major heritage legacy projects which were affected by budget reductions, and the target had decreased from two to one while provincial sites were reduced from nine to three. ‘Was this because of budget reductions or the reprioritisation of funds’? She said that as per the APP there were two major heritage legacy projects planned for this year. ‘Which project would be affected and stalled and what was the rationale for such a decision’?
Ms S Luthuli (EFF, KZN) asked how the merger of the two departments would streamline services.
Ms D Christians (DA, Northern Cape) said that when the Department reworked the budget, it had to look at the number of athletes that it provided support to for the Olympic Games. The number had decreased from 80 to 40. ‘Would this not affect the Olympic targets of the Department negatively’? She said that the Department had said it would be rolling out anti-Femicide campaigns in communities. COVID-19 might mean a decrease in their efforts in this regard while violence against women would have intensified in the lockdown period. ‘Was the Department putting more measures in pace to minimise gender- based violence’. There was a decrease in the athletes supported by sports academies. ‘Why was there not an increase, as athletes need more support now than ever before’.
Ms Van Dyk asked for an update on the progress to date of the Cultural and Creative Industries Federation of South Africa (CCIFSA). ‘How much funding would be made available to CCIFSA and how was CCIFSA assisting artists in this COVID-19 period’? ‘How would the construction of libraries be affected by COVID-19 and would they proceed as planned’? The Department was supposed to consider plans for a new national theatre, a national orchestra and a ballet troupe. ‘Would the Department still consider this as viable’? The Department was considering the building of new museum buildings, but there were similar entities in existence that were still not funded properly. ‘Was there money for these proposals and why not use the monies to ensure that existing properties were in working condition’.
Co-Chairperson Dlulane asked if the Department was coping with the invoice issues from provinces around the 30-day payment rule. ‘How far had the Department progressed with the White Paper’? ‘Would the target be met’? ‘What was the Department doing for Africa Day on 25 May’?
The Chairperson asked the Minister whether the new Department had a relationship with Kings and Queens and was there an allocation for them. He said most heritage sites would be linked with the traditional authorities and what was the value of the sites.
Mr Madlingozi asked why and how monies were allocated to Kings and asked about the implementation of the introduction of indigenous languages into schools.
Mr Bara said the deadline for the merger of the two departments was the end of March. He asked what progress had been made in the merger. He requested that the Committee get progress reports on the Department’s responses to COVID-19.
The Chairperson said that if all the questions were not answered in this session then it could be responded to in the next meeting.
On the relaxation of certain sporting code restrictions, the Minister said that the Department was not guided by feelings, but rather by the counsel of scientific experts.
On getting broadcasters to play local content, he said that he would continue to plead that SA artists’ work be played but would not force DJs to do so and, in any case the SABC was not an entity of the Department. The Department engaged with the Department of Communications on the matter.
On the Chairperson’s questions, he said that there was the National Macro Organisation of the Government (NMOG) set up to support the reconfiguration process of departments which the Department had been engaged in. There was now one Department with one DG and DDGs responsible for different programs.
On the concept of MGE, he said the creative sector was the second gold field of South Africa and the area was growing. The term MGE referred to the entire sector although the Department had a program called MGE to fund, support and develop creatives. It was not only a departmental program. There was a need to support and promote artists and this would always remain.
On SASCOC, he said good governance of entities had been a concern. SASCOC was important as it was the confederation of sport in the country and outcomes were dependant on the health of SASCOC. SASCOC had been engaged with to implement the Zulman report and adhere to good governance. The Department noted the delay in implementing some aspects of good governance to the point where it was necessary that sport and sporting bodies, including the International Olympic Committee (IOC), deal with the matter. Government did not want to be accused of interference. The matter was raised with the IOC which agreed that there were serious problems at SASCOC. The IOC however felt that SASCOC be given another chance. He himself was not convinced that SASCOC could deal with its internal problems. The Department would wait and see and he did not intend to run SASCOC.
On the Cultural and Creative Industries Federation of South Africa (CCIFSA), he said it was formed to galvanise the industry into one voice and this had been achieved. The CCIFSA was supported when it was formed until 2016/17. It could not fulfil its task without funding.
On the new national theatre, ballet troupe etcetera, the processes continued. There had been feasibility studies on the new national theatre which was ongoing.
On the White Paper, he appreciated the Committee’s adoption of the White Paper. All aspects of the White Paper were now subject to implementation to respond to critical challenges including the technical elements and production sector.
On Kings and Queens and Chiefs, he said the Department had 11 heritage centres it supported financially but nothing was allocated to Kings and Queens as that was the function of the Department of Traditional Affairs. The heritage centres were the subject of the amalgamation talks. Within heritage promotions were funding options for war museums and sites such as Robben Island to which funds were allocated; however other sites were supported by provinces and municipalities.
On the issue of targets being changed, the Director-General said that these targets would be impacted upon because the targets were set at a time before the start of COVID-19 and they needed to be revisited and the budget would also be changed and have an impact on targets.
On the issue of women empowerment and people with disabilities targets, these were mandatory targets and the Department was achieving these targets. There was a Wellness Unit in the Department which dealt with the issue of gender-based violence programs.
On the AG’s issues on targets, the Department had a document indicating which targets had to be moved from strategy to the operational plan and the Department had an outline of which ones were moved to the operational plan level. Targets had also been refined to be in line with Technical Indicator Descriptors (TIDs).
On the Olympics budget, he said that when funding for SASCOC was considered, it was not only for the Olympics, it was for the whole year’s program. This would be reviewed.
On the issue of libraries, he said that in terms of the budget, he would prefer to discuss this when the Department returned with the revised budget.
On the 30-day payment of invoices, he said the audit would be done on the two departments, the Department of Sports and the Department of Arts and Culture separately. Measures were put in place and monitored to ensure compliance.
On Africa Day events, he said that there would not be mass events and the Department was working on online strategies similar to Freedom Day events. There had been an engagement with the Presidency the previous day as the President was also the President of the AU. The Department was looking at partnering to use Freedom Park as a site for Africa Day.
He said that the Department did receive proposals for funding and this was looked at. It was based on it being a request from a King to look at the proposal.
Dr Sakiwo Tyiso, Chief Director, Department of Arts and Culture, said that the AG had raised two major areas of emphasis on predetermined objectives. Firstly, the AG pointed out that some indicators did not fully meet the smart indicator specificity levels. The Department did have TIDs, but these were not specific enough and the Department needed to develop detailed Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) so that the TIDs would be reinforced by the detailed SOPs.
Secondly, on the reduction and shifting of indicators to the operational plan, he said that many indicators such as the feasibility indicators needed to be shifted to the operational plan and the development plan on the advice of the audit committee because they were not yet ready to be rolled out. The operational plan would be sent to auditors to show that the indicators had not been lost.
On whether the Department prioritised refurbishment of museums or a new museum, the Director-General said the new museum was established to tell the real story about who South Africans were and where they came from to ensure that its history was told in undiluted form and avoid the sanitisation of South Africa’s history.
Mr Madlingozi said his question on indigenous languages at schools was not answered.
Mr B Luthuli (IFP) said the Department was normally not doing anything in the rural areas. He said the money municipalities received from the Department was for municipalities themselves not for traditional leaders and their small Heritage Day celebrations.
The Deputy Minister acknowledged that some inputs from members were not questions, but rather input to assist the Department in its planning. She re-emphasised that the two departments were now one Department.
On the question of two DGs, she said there had been interaction with the AG around why there were two DGs and two CFOs. There was now one DG and one CFO. There might be departmental officials with titles such as Acting DG at meetings before the Committee until such time as the report was adopted, because these people were in an acting position as they were still responsible for the two Departments until the audit was finalised.
On violence against women and children, she said all agreed that violence against women and children had increased in the COVID-19 lockdown period and the Department would have to review and increase the targets.
On indigenous languages, the Minister said that one should remember that for a language to be developed, it needed resources. It needed a museum and a research arm. The Department gave bursaries to 400 students doing languages. The National English Museum, whose name was changed to National Museum in the Eastern Cape, had been changed so that its resources could be used to develop English and Xhosa.
On what happens in rural areas, he said 80% of the Department’s budget was transfers to provinces and municipalities and these two organs of state still had a role to play. The Department emphasised the ring-fencing of these budgets but there was still a long way to go in the development of indigenous languages.
The Deputy Minister said that the Department was present to present its APP and strategic plan. When the Department came back to the Committee it would engage on COVID-19 and on the relief fund and what should be done about COVID-19 and sport.
The Director-General said that the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture was the correct title.
The Chairperson said the Department’s APP would be reviewed and revised when adjustments were done.
The meeting was adjourned.
Dlulane, Ms BN
Nchabeleng, Mr ME
Adams, Ms R C
Bara, Mr M R
Faber, Mr WF
Gillion, Ms M
Luthuli, Mr BN
Luthuli, Ms SA
Madlingozi, Mr BS
Maleka, Ms AD
Malomane, Ms VP
Mamabolo, Mr JB
Mhlongo, Mr TW
Ndongeni, Ms N
Nkabane, Dr NP
Ntshayisa, Mr LM
Seabi, Mr M A
Sibisi, Mr CHM
Van Dyk, Ms V
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