The Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport tabled its Annual Report (2019/20) including its three public entities: Heritage Western Cape; Western Cape Language Committee and Western Cape Cultural Commission. The Department achieved 101 of its 105 performance indicators and spent 98.8% of its adjusted budget. It has achieved eight consecutive clean audits.
Members asked for reasons the four performance indicators were not met; the impact of COVID-19 on service delivery and employee wellness; and how the Department programmes support the participation of rural areas; how the Department supported grassroots sports clubs; preparations for the 2023 Netball World Cup held in Cape Town; digitisation of archive records; library break-ins and damage; and the outcome of the sexual harassment case.
Department of Cultural Affairs & Sport (DCAS) 2019/20 Annual Report
Mr Brent Walters, Head of Department: DCAS, said the Department had a wide demographic and geographic reach across all communities. It is responsible for the three public entities and they are fully represented. The Department has 550 permanent employees and about 1000 different types of employees across the province. It has a strong sense of collaboration with other departments, especially those in the Social Cluster.
The Department has met 101 of its 105 performance indicators. The four indicators that were not met, were outside of the Department’s control. DCAS had spent 98.8% of its adjusted budget. He mentioned that this will be the Department’s eighth consecutive clean audit.
Mr Bongani Mgijima, Chairperson: Heritage Western Cape, said it was very unfortunate that COVID-19 hit just before the end of the financial year. Heritage Western Cape has turned this around and made it an opportunity, and is now holding their meetings online.
Discussion: Heritage Western Cape
Mr M Kama (ANC) congratulated Heritage Western Cape on meeting most of its targets. He asked about the number of Provincial Heritage Sites that were unveiled. What informs the target? Especially when it comes to with the unveiling of Heritage Sites.
Ms L Botha (DA) asked about Cohesive Communities which is one of the priorities of the Western Cape Strategic Plan and how it has achieved this. Can the Department speak to the one criminal matter reported?
Mr Walters replied that the process for determining which sites are worthy of provincial significance and therefore have heritage status, started long ago. People make submissions nominating the sites they deem worthy of commemorating in some way.
On social cohesion, he said that commemoration has to be done in a way that is realistic. Heritage Western Cape (HWC) has processes in place to ensure that this is the case.
Ms Colette Scheermeyer, Heritage Western Cape Acting CEO, replied that the HWC legislative mandate is not only reactive but also proactive. The entity has looked at researching sites that it wants to put forward for nomination.
Mr Walters replied that Provincial Treasury has given HWC prioritisation for the filling of posts. HWC has received funding for this. The Department has a problem in that it attracts younger people, fresh from their studies, but they later get lured by salaries that DCAS cannot compete with.
Ms Scheermeyer replied that DCAS has advertised for posts for four senior Heritage Officers. This will assist with reducing the high turnover of professional employees.
Mr G Brinkhuis (Al Jama-ah) said many of our local museums in Cape Town are struggling with funding as well as getting a permanent base to operate from. What process does DCAS have in place to support these small, upcoming structures? He mentioned the Muslim Museum in Cape Town as an example.
Mr Michael Janse van Rensburg, DCAS Head: Museum Services, replied that there are roughly 120-140 museums in the Western Cape. HWC is open to discuss with museum regarding affiliation.
Discussion: Western Cape Language Committee (WCLC)
The Chairperson asked what the Western Cape Language Committee is doing to promote Sign Language and other mother languages in the province.
Ms Jane Moleleki, WCLC Chief Executive Officer, said the first entry point is that WCLC has a deaf member and she is accommodated at all the meetings through an interpreter. The Committee is putting Sign Language quite high on the agenda. It has collaborated with DCAS on programmes that they are running on Sign Language. For example, there are playing cards that were produced and distributed by DCAS. The Department is working closely with DeafSA and the National Language Institute.
Mr G Bosman (DA) requested a broad overview of how the Western Cape Government is doing in terms of equal use of Afrikaans, English and isiXhosa? How is WCLC faring with the implementation of the Khoi-San Language Act, which was recently promulgated? Is the fact that the Language Committee does not have permanent employees a hindrance to it?
Mr Walters replied that DCAS has three public entities, but they do not sit away from DCAS with their own staff. There is a dual model where Department staff support the operations of the three entities. This was started in the early 2000s as a cost-saving measure.
Mr Guy Redman, Chief Director: Cultural Affairs: DCAS, replied that the Act has been signed but a date has not been set for when it is brought into operation. One of the important things that will happen in the first five years of the Act will be the determining if we have any Khoi-San leaders within the Khoi-San community that would officially be recognised by government and form a provincial house of Khoi-San Leaders.
WCLC ran three programmes to support languages: it used the 2019 Heritage Month during UNESCO’s Year of Indigenous Languages as an opportunity to showcase the Khoi-San language. It partnered with Iziko Museums and other organisations on International Mother Language Day, to see how they can create agency around the protection and promotion of indigenous languages. The University of Cape Town developed a course on the Khoi language and WCLC assisted with that, including the graduation ceremony.
Institutions have made some progress when it comes to the equal status of the three languages in the province. This can be shown by the number of requests for translations by various departments. The Department's Language Services had begun to determine where various departments are struggling. A process to circulate surveys had already begun, but this was paused due to COVID-19. The surveys will be circulated, that will be followed up by on-site visits, and this will be put together in a report. Hopefully, at some point, this will reach provincial top management.
Mr G Bosman (DA) noted that the report mentioned that the WCLC Chairperson will fulfil the responsibility of the Accounting Authority on behalf of the public entity. He asked if this role was not supposed to be fulfilled by the DCAS Accounting Officer. He asked if WCLC would be able to do more if it had a permanent staff.
Mr Walters replied that the WCLC chose to go with the current model because having a dedicated staff would be too expensive. It chose the dual model. According to a legal opinion obtained by DCAS, the Language Committee is the Accounting Authority and therefore the authority rests with the Chairperson of the Committee. In terms of the PFMA, which supersedes the Western Cape Languages Act, the WCLC is the Accounting Authority.
Discussion: Western Cape Cultural Commission (WCCC)
The Chairperson asked about security and how this affects the Commission and if SAPS has been engaged.
Ms Chuma Fani, WCCC Chief Executive Officer, said that biggest challenge for WCCC was the facilities. She expressed concern for the safety of staff and clients. She was grateful for the assistance from the Department of Public Works and DCAS in the upgrading of the facilities. There is improvement in the upgrading security alarms and the appointment of security service providers. The Commission has created jobs for youth in the area, through the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) programme at their facilities.
Mr M Kama (ANC) asked about the Cultural Council. The Commission must be have been concerned by the response they received when there was a call for funding. There are 31 registered Councils, but only nine responded. Of those nine, only five were approved. What led to the other Councils not being approved? What criteria were used? For what is the funding intended? Is it linked to the mandate of the Commission? What are some of the challenges with Commission members when it comes to attendance and commitment? How is the Commission going to mitigate the COVID-19 risk for the upcoming year?
Ms Moleleki, in her capacity as DCAS Director: Arts, Culture, and Language Services, replied that the Commission has challenges when it comes to facilities. There is vandalism, with one of the facilities being the subject of an arson attack during a demonstration. The facilities have now gone though security upgrades, which include the upgrading of the fences; installing of security cameras; and the deployment of armed response units where necessary.
On Cultural Councils, the Commission received seven applications and five were approved. There are three aspects that a Cultural Council can apply for: conferences, programmes, and research. They would have to apply formally and submit a business proposal to the Commission. The Commission, though the Cultural Council Committee, would view all the proposals and approve on that basis. If a Council had received money in the previous financial year, they need to account how the money was spent. The Council must have a constitution to confirm that they are duly constituted and have infrastructural arrangements in place. Can they manage government money effectively? Those that were not approved did not meet the criteria.
Discussion: DCAS Annual Report - Part A General Information
Mr G Bosman (DA) noted that there have been break-ins at three public libraries. Have security arrangements been increased at the libraries? Were these once-off incidents? Can DCAS speak to the financial impact of the burglaries? He noted that one of these was in his constituency. What was the impact to service delivery to those communities?
Mr M Kama (ANC) said the International Federation of Netball has announced that Cape Town will be hosting the 2023 Netball World Cup. He requested an update on Department’s Netball World Cup Legacy Project. Can DCAS speak to the impact of COVID-19 and the lockdown might have had on preparations for the World Cup? He asked about financial support for the federations and cultural organisations. Was a certain percentage earmarked for grassroots federations and cultural organisations? What mechanisms were in place to ensure that funding reaches that level? What programmes and budget were in place to address the serious issue of racism in the province?
Ms L Botha (DA) asked if there was structural damage during the break-ins, and what the repair status is. How does DCAS ensure its stakeholders and the public have access to its Annual Report? In light of SCOPA only dealing with financials in January, can the HOD speak to the damages and how the break-ins disadvantaged the communities.
Mr Walters replied that three public libraries were broken into and computers to the total value of R85 000 were stolen. All the items were insured and will be replaced by the municipalities.
On grassroots support, he replied that the base level of sport is club level. The Department has mass opportunity and development centres where programmes are run for children at the grassroots level. A lot of work is rooted in the poorer communities, but the work of DCAS cuts across the length and breadth of the province. Racism is one of the many divisions dividing the community, but sport plays a unifying role.
Ms Celia Sani, Director: Library Services: DCAS, replied that the library break-ins were very opportunistic, during the time of lockdown. With regard to security, municipalities have looked at individual cases and if there was a need for security and the municipality could afford it, this was implemented. Mostly doors and windows had to be fixed. There was not much structural damage that had to be fixed.
Dr Lyndon Bouah, Chief Director: Sport and Recreation: DCAS, replied that since the announcement of Cape Town hosting the Netball World Cup, the Department has reached out to the National Department as well as the City of Cape Town and Netball South Africa.
The Department has nominated one member from the provincial government; one member from the City of Cape Town; two members from Netball South Africa. The national Minister has also nominated some people. A Netball board is being formed in order to organise the World Cup. Netball SA has appointed a Project Manager to help with the rollout.
For the World Cup Legacy Project, DCAS will be responsible for the upgrading or construction of 20-30 netball courts by 2023. Funding has been made available and 15 netball courts have been opened up across the province. Provincial Treasury has made available R4 million, which was gazetted a few weeks ago. The Department is now in the process of engaging municipalities so that the work can start as soon as possible after the builders’ holiday is over.
On the impact of COVID-19 lockdown, Dr Bouah replied that the time was used to hold virtual meetings with Netball Western Cape, Netball South Africa, as well as the local Netball Cape Town structure. The first face-to-face meeting took place in October. The Department as completed the budget for the World Cup. In mid-February 2021, the International Federation will conduct an in-loco inspection in Cape Town to meet with the local organising committee. The tournament is scheduled for July 2023, so there are still two financial years to go.
On grassroots support, Dr Bouah replied that there two types of funding: transfer funding and the club development programme. With transfer funding, federations apply on an annual basis, fill out the requisite form, and a committee consisting of the chairpersons of sports councils meet to decide on allocations that will go to sports federations. On average R75 000 – R100 000 is transferred to federations on an annual basis. This includes support for major events, transformation and development, as well as capacity building.
Clubs are also supported via the Club Development Programme, where R15 000 per club per year, is made available for transport. The programme also buys equipment for the clubs. In addition, DCAS has a schools programme that they assist with.
Mr Redman mentioned the Choir Festival that was recently held in Saldanha Bay. It had four language groups: Nama, English, Afrikaans, and isiXhosa. The Department also has the Social Cohesion Community Conversation: one in the City of Cape Town and another at the Lwandle Migrant Labour Museum.
Mr G Brinkhuis (Al Jama-ah) asked if DCAS has a specific programme or process in place, where it goes out to rural areas to look at talent in different sporting codes, so that the provincial teams are well represented by all communities in the province.
Mr Walters replied that there are talent identification programmes in place.
Dr Bouah replied that the Club Development Programme has 83 clubs that are in rural areas that form part of the Club Development Programme, that are chosen by sporting federations. The clubs are in the programme for three years. In that period, DCAS provides them with transport, capacity building for administrators, clubs, coaches and equipment and attire.
Ms R Windvogel (ANC) asked the details and reasons for not achieving the four targets.
Mr G Bosman (DA) asked if there is a specific programme to assist learners in Beaufort West with transport. They have to travel to Oudtshoorn for trials and practice, and the teachers end up paying for transport.
Mr Walters replied that one of the unmet targets had to do with accessing of records. The elevator at the Archives building was broken for more than half the year, so access to items was limited. The other unmet target was due to the completion certificate for a library being issued only after 31 March and therefore it could not be counted in the 2019/20 financial year.
Ms Sani replied that the indicators not met by Library Services were both in the Conditional Grant section. Funds that were supposed to be transferred to municipalities were not transferred as municipalities decided to apply for new libraries instead of upgrading the existing ones.
Dr Bouah replied that the Club Development Programme depends heavily on conditional grants, and the budget cuts have meant the programme has fewer clubs than in the past.
Mr Redman replied that DCAS is working on developing a structure to ensure that the youth of Beaufort West participate in sports in Beaufort West. A multi-purpose, shared facility is currently being constructed. This facility will handle different sporting codes.
Discussion: DCAS Annual Report - Part B Performance Information
Ms L Botha (DA) asked if rural communities have been part of the Family Histories Workshop, where communities are encouraged to record their oral history? How has DCAS communicated this programme? What were the results of the DCAS evaluation of this programme?
Mr G Bosman (DA) requested some details on the Enterprise Content Management (ECM) review that took place, and the improvement plan, as well as the new business plan. What were some of the recommendations that came out of that? What progress has been made to digitise the archives and how does this link to ECM?
Ms Nomaza Dingayo, Director: Provincial Archive Service: DCAS, replied that information on the Family History Workshop was on the DCAS website. The researchers also share the information on their networks. Rural areas were involved in the programme. The archives building now has new elevators, so the elevators are operational.
Ms Dingayo replied that DCAS has a digitisation project that started in 2014. The service provider shared the skills with the staff. The project is going well, but the challenge is that there is too much archival material that needs to be digitised. Records that are in a bad state, due to regular handling, have been prioritised. All digitised content sits on MyContent. A website is currently being built and will be implemented in the next financial year. The website will allow members of the public to access the content outside of government buildings.
On ECM, the review confirmed that ECM is correctly placed with DCAS. Western Cape Government (WCG) records management policy bodies have agreed that ECM or MyContent is the official electronic records management system of the Western Cape Government.
Some of the recommendations was that the records managers must play a huge role in the implementation of the electronic records management. The Department has done the policy framework for all WCG departments and started the governance structures. The process will result in the standardisation of how electronic records are implemented.
Discussion: DCAS Annual Report - Part C Governance and D Human Resources
Ms R Windvogel (ANC) asked the reasons for members missing meetings and what disciplinary measures are in place for members who do not attend without a valid reason.
Mr G Bosman (DA) asked about the fraud incident noted in the report. Was it a new instance, or was it the matter that was recently closed? He asked if DCAS has done a wellbeing assessment of all its employees due to the impact of COVID-19. Has the process of recruiting a new HOD started? Are there any foreign employees at DCAS? At what level are they employed?
Mr Walters replied that nobody is absent from a meeting without a valid reason, so there is no need for disciplinary measures against anyone. There is always an apology.
The fraud refers to the “Library Matter” dating back to 2012 that is still open.
The Department has advertised the post of HOD. The closing date for applications is 18 January 2021.
DCAS does have a foreign worker in the Cradle of Human Culture, who is advising DCAS from an archaeological point of view. It is an Italian who is steeped in the history of archaeology.
Mr Redman informed the Committee that the worker is actually a permanent resident.
Mr Shaun Julie, Director: Strategic and Operational Management Support: DCAS, replied that the Department has a service provider, Momentum, that provides staff wellness services. The Department encourages staff to reach out to the service provider, should they need counselling or any other services.
Mr G Bosman (DA) asked about the types of misconduct hearings. There seems to be a high number of serious misconduct cases. He was specifically interested in instances of sexual harassment and what the outcomes of those hearings was.
Ms R Windvogel (ANC) asked the reason for the large number of days absent without a medical certificate?
Mr Walters replied that there were five disciplinary cases and the outcome for each one: wilfully/negligently mismanaging funds – the employee resigned; payment of bribe/theft/stealing – employee resigned; possessing/wrongful use of state property – there was recovery of the property; absent from work without reason or permission – dismissal; sexual harassment – not guilty.
Under the South African system, one does not require a medical certificate if one takes one to two days. Only in instances of three or more days.
Mr G Bosman (DA) asked what an informal disciplinary process would be. With the employees that resigned, was this before, during, or after the disciplinary process was initiated? What investigative steps were taken to address the sexual harassment? Was a grievance lodged with DCAS? Was a complaint laid with the South African Police Service (SAPS)?
Mr Walters replied that instances where verbal warnings are issued are not recorded as formal cases. It is only formal once a formal charge has been laid with the Employee Relations team. The information about the employees that resigned will be provided to the Committee later. With regards to the sexual harassment case, an internal hearing was held and the outcome was ‘not guilty’. He was not aware if a complaint was laid with SAPS.
Ms L Botha (DA) asked how DCAS ensured that both parties to the sexual harassment case were not ostracised.
Mr G Bosman (DA) said he still is not sure what investigative steps were taken by DCAS in sexual harassment case. What was the delay in dealing with the case? Are both parties still employed by DCAS? When this was reported to HR division, what steps were taken to ascertain the veracity of the complaint?
Mr Walters replied that DCAS suspended the staff member immediately. The Department then went to labour relations and an independent commissioner was appointed. Both arguments were heard, and the staff member was found not guilty. The complainant was a contractor, and the other was a permanent member of staff. The permanent staff member is still employed by DCAS.
Ms L Botha (DA) asked how soon after case was lodged, did DCAS proceed with the investigation?
Mr Walters replied that as soon as he as HOD was made aware, immediate action was taken.
Ms L Botha (DA) wanted clarity on whether the contract worker’s contract was not renewed as a result of the sexual harassment case?
Mr Walters replied that the contract worker was an intern and the contract was not up for renewal.
Ms L Botha (DA) requested the process that was followed and the outcome of the process. Could the Committee get that information?
Mr G Bosman (DA) wanted clarity on the timeline. The case was in 2019. One of the complaints by the intern was that the matter was reported to an HR Manager and nothing was done. It was then escalated by another HR Manager.
Mr Walters replied that a written response will be provided to the Committee.
The Committee thanked the outgoing HOD for his services rendered to DCAS.
The Committee requested information on the sexual harassment case on page 175 of the Annual Report.
The Chairperson thanked everyone and the meeting was adjourned.
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