The Committee considered the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture Budget Vote 37 Report. Five Members moved the adoption of the Report with amendments. One Member rejected the Report in its entirety.
During the deliberations, Members proposed several additions to the observations and recommendations section. The EFF Member, who rejected the Report, expressed the view that the Committee was discussing money that would be allocated to programmes that would not be implemented. Money which was supposed to promote coherence, better coordination and true efficiency, was being wasted by the heads of the Department’s entities through litigation. There was no way that South Africa could transform its economy to enable the meaningful participation of black people when the money was being wasted through litigation, and artists were neglected by the Department.
The Chairperson proposed that with the COVID-19 crisis, the Portfolio and Select Committees should work together, as the National Council of Province’s (NCOP’s) Select Committee worked directly with the provinces and municipalities equally.
The Chairperson introduced the agenda, and said the Committee would need to approve the budget regardless of the state of COVID-19.
Mr C Sibisi (NFP) moved to adopt the agenda.
Report on Budget Vote 37
Dr Samkelo Mahlobo, Content Advisor: Portfolio Committee on Sport, Arts and Culture, presented the Report on Budget Vote 37.
There were six observations relating to the Department’s mandate, which included the implementation of the Mzanzi Golden Economy strategy, the United Nations declaration of 2019 as the “International Year of Indigenous Languages,” the Department’s funding, and the finalisation of the merging of the Department of Arts and Culture with the Department of Sports and Recreation. He presented the financial overview of the Department for the 2018/2019 financial year.
He presented on the Department's programmes, which involved administration, institutional governance, arts and culture promotion, and heritage promotion and preservation. He took the Committee through policy priorities, its alignment with National Development Goals, and a budget analysis. He concluded with the key issues and the Committee findings.
Mr T Mhlongo (DA) identified spelling mistakes and gaps that needed to be corrected, and specifically pointed out bullet 4.
He commented that the following needed to be added under the observations section:
1. The timeframe in which the 150 relief fund was open was too short;
2. There was a lack of transparency on the arts and sports relief funding, and
3. There was a human resources issue, as there were people acting in different departments, but the department had been merged.
He said the following needed to be added under the recommendations section:
1. SASCOC must hold their elections urgently;
2. The processing of the White Paper needed to be accelerated;
3. There must be an accurate list, not merely a general list under recommendations; and
4. Processes of appeal - the Minister had used Twitter to circulate information that artists must message him directly if they did not receive any response from the Department, which showed that the process was lacking.
Mr B Madlingozi (EFF) expressed the view that the Committee was discussing money that would be allocated to programmes that would not be implemented. Money which was supposed to promote coherence, better coordination and true efficiency, was being wasted by the heads of these entities through litigation. There was no way that South Africa could transform its economy to enable the meaningful participation of black people when the money was being wasted through litigation, and artists were neglected by the Department. The Committee needed to hold the Department accountable to ensure that it delivered for the people who needed the assistance.
Dr N Nkabane (ANC) commended the team for formulating a comprehensive Report. She noted the input and comments the Members had made in the observations and recommendations of the Report. Based on the fact that the annual performance plans and strategic plans were guided by the government priorities taken from the State of the Nation Address (SONA) and the National Development Plan (NDP), which was reflected in the Report, she proposed that they take the Report as a true reflection of their observations from when the Department and its entities presented to the Committee. She expressed her hope that the programmes presented in the annual performance plan were going to make a measurable change in people’s lives, the constituencies and electorate that voted them into government.
Mr M Seabi (ANC) had connectivity problems when called on for his contributions.
The Chairperson commented that they did not have enough funds in the previous Parliament, and asked how they were going to build the structures and infrastructure without sufficient funds. She proposed that with the COVID-19 crisis, the portfolio and select committees should work together, as the National Council of Province’s (NCOP’s) select committee worked directly with the provinces and municipalities equally. She proposed that the money given to the province to build libraries must be monitored, as the Committee had an oversight role that they should do jointly.
She said she was not pleased by the reduction in the budget. She acknowledged the situation with regard to the economy and the gross domestic product (GDP). She acknowledged a reduction in the budget was due to the merging of the two departments, but felt that the committees had not realised there were too many entities. This Committee felt strongly that the White Paper must be provided, and it had been agreed upon by the Committee and the Department that it should have been provided in February. She said there was too much litigation, and the Department’s oversight had come later when the parties were taken to court to pay the millions that had been stolen. She proposed that the various entities must replace redundant staff who were not doing anything. She acknowledged that the COVID-19 situation could change their plans, in that they would be calling the entities before the Committee to present on what they had done even after they had adopted the budget.
Mr W Faber (DA) commented that when the Committee spoke about oversight, they must pay particular attention to the Mzanzi Golden Economy, because there were a lot of issues they had to look at. He realised the Olympic Games would possibly happen only in a year’s, and that it was the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) which decided who qualified for it, but he proposed that the Committee look into the matter. They could not reduce costs on the Games, and still expect to achieve the medals they wanted to achieve.
Mr Madlingozi commented that he could only speak about what he had seen. He expressed his dismay at giving entities more money when their heads were fighting amongst themselves. They had failed the most vulnerable by neglecting them. Although the Committee had received a beautiful presentation, he questioned what the Department had done for the sectors that it represents and supports. He believed there would not be any change.
The Chairperson welcomed back Ms V Malomane (ANC) after her bereavement, and commended her strength in returning to her work.
Ms Malomane thanked the Committee for their support. She concurred with Dr Nkabane’s proposal that they should not change the Report, and proposed that the Committee adopt it.
Mr Madlingozi rejected the adoption of the Report.
Mr Mhlongo asked whether the Committee would note this, and move forward with the amendments, as the purpose of the meeting was to add to, delete from and generally amend the Report.
The Chairperson clarified that if the Members were adopting the Report, they must state additionally whether they accepted the amendments or not, and if they rejected the Report, it must be rejected in its totality. They must reflect on the additions made, and the gaps.
Dr Nkabane moved the adoption of the Report, with amendments.
Ms Malomane seconded the adoption of the Report, with amendments.
Mr Mhlongo asked for it to be noted that the DA was reserving its rights on the tabling of the Report.
The Chairperson noted that two Members supported the adoption of the Report, whereas Mr Madlingozi rejected it. Mr Faber had stated that he reserved his rights on the report. She asked for clarification from the secretariat on the way forward.
The secretariat asked for a vote for the adoption of the Report by a show of hands. The Chairperson, Ms R Adams (ANC), Ms Malomane and Dr Nkabane raised their hands to indicate they were in favour of adopting the Report. The secretariat said that Mr Seabi was still having connection problems.
Mr Mhlongo said that the Committee needed guidance, as they had not achieved a quorum to adopt the Report.
Mr Seabi voted in favour of the adoption of the Report, with amendments.
The meeting was adjourned.
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