In a virtual meeting, the Committee met with Minister, the Deputy Minister, the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture (DSAC) and the new Council of the National Heritage Council (NHC), to be briefed on the operation of the NHC and its annual report for 2019/20. The Minister explained that the former Council had been dissolved and the former CEO had resigned following allegations made against the NHC. As a result, the new Council was present in the meeting.
The NHC’s annual report highlighted the fact that the entity had set 11 targets for its administration programme for 2019/20 and had achieved all 11. It had also achieved 14 of the 15 targets for its Heritage Promotion Programme for 2019/20, with the one target not met being the number of exchange programmes planned with the Solomon Mahlangu Foundation College (SOMAFCO) Youth Exchange Programme owing to Covid-19 travel restrictions.
The major issue facing the NHC was the qualified audit opinion on the basis of irregular expenditure of R86 000 incurred on an expired contract, R2.033 million incurred without following a procurement process, and R1.698 million incurred through non-compliance with the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) and procurement regulations. Additionally, upon dissolution of the Council, the audit and risk committee (ARC) had been dissolved. The Committee was told that the internal audit for 2019/20 had been outsourced.
The Members felt strongly that they should receive all expenditure reports of the DSAC and the NHC, including those related to international trips and collaborations. They insisted that an explanation be given as to why the former chief executive officer (CEO) had resigned, and why the Council had been dissolved. They also wanted clarity on the reasons for the qualified audit opinion, and whether the officials who had transgressed the regulations for the expenditure had been disciplined. An important issue raised by the Members was why the internal audit had been outsourced. They also wanted to know about the NHC’s plans for 2021
Mr Nathi Mthethwa, Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, said that the overall task of the National Heritage Council (NHC) in South Africa was to be the leading institution for tangible and intangible heritage, and to ensure South Africa’s heritage was understood and accepted nationally, continentally and globally. Resistance and liberation heritage was now recognised by the African Union (AU) as an important subject, especially for the people of South Africa, and was one of the flagship programmes of the African Union (AU). South African history must be corrected, as it had been distorted over time. The NHC was important in correcting it. Through the NHC, the DSAC had submitted a nomination dossier of South Africa’s liberation heritage. Resistance and liberation heritage was so important that the DSAC should at all times ensure that this heritage was known, as it had at times played a key role in creating social cohesion and nation building.
Last year, there were whistle blowers who had made allegations about the internal matters of the NHC. The Minister had asked the Council to deal with that matter, but the NHC’s Board had decided not to investigate. As a result, the Board had been disbanded, so the new Board was making the presentation today. It was important to investigate and deal with matters that were genuinely raised by the public.
National Heritage Council 2019/20 Annual Report
Mr Edgar Neluvhalani, Chairperson, NHC, said that the NHC was in transitional stage at the moment. The administrators were in the process of handing over their work to the new Council. He asked the Acting chief executive officer (CEO) to lead the presentation.
Ms Louisa Mabe, Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO), NHC, said that following governance challenges which had resulted in the dissolution of the Council and the resignation of the former CEO, the Minister had appointed the administrator as Acting CEO, along with two assistant administrators to intervene and stabilise the organisation. The major challenges that the NHC faced were the delayed audit process and the qualified audit opinion for 2019/20. She added that this was the first time the NHC had received a qualified audit opinion.
Overview of NHC performance in 2019/20
The NHC had partnered with the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) and the South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA) to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Solomon “Kalushi” Mahlangu’s hanging, and to begin public consultations to declare his home a national heritage site. The NHC had been admitted as member of the Global Public Diplomacy Network (GDPNeT) in January 2020. GDPNet was made up of national non-profit organisations (NPOs) promoting cultural and public diplomacy. The NHC had engaged in visits to Vietnam and Syria to explore bilateral cooperation in heritage conservation. The DSAC had invited the NHC to participate in the reference group on the Resistance and Liberation Heritage Museum, and to do benchmarking overseas.
Ms Mabe described the NHC’s six strategic outcome oriented goals, which focused on the NHC becoming an internationally recognised heritage organisation on the African continent, mainstreaming resistance and liberation heritage, increasing knowledge of South Africa’s heritage, achieving social cohesion, and becoming an effective leading institution on intangible heritage in South Africa.
For Programme 1 (Administration), the NHC had planned 11 targets for 2019/20 and had achieved all 11.
For Programme 2, (Heritage Promotion), it had planned 15 targets and achieved 14. The one target not achieved was the number of exchange programmes planned with the Solomon Mahlangu Freedom College (SOMAFCO) Youth Exchange Programme to Tanzania. These programmes were not implemented due to the Covid-19 travel restrictions.
The presentation indicated that the Council Secretary had resigned in June 2019, and Mr Tembile Yako had been appointed as Acting Council Secretary. The appointment of the Council secretariat was expected to be finalised in the 2020/21 financial year.
Risk was managed through a risk management strategy that was approved by the Council and overseen by the audit and risk committee (ARC), the risk management committee and the executive committee. The internal audit was outsourced, and the Attorney-General of South Africa (AGSa) had noted a regression in the internal controls. This regression had resulted in the qualified audit opinion for 2019/20. The NHC management therefore had to attend to the identified weaknesses and report to the ARC and the Council.
The Council had an approved a code of conduct, and an ethics policy was in place, but these policies needed to be reviewed.
Audit and Finance
The NHC had received a qualified audit opinion from the Auditor General (AG) for 2019/20. The qualification was based on, amongst others, misstatements in the annual performance information, internal control deficiencies and unsatisfactory compliance with financial management legislation. The details of irregular expenditure for 2019/20 were as follows:
- Expenditure incurred on expired contract -- R86 000;
- Expenditure incurred without following procurement processes -- R2.033 million; and
- Non-compliance with the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) and the Preference Procurement Regulations -- R1.698 million.
- The NHC was awaiting National Treasury’s finding on the matter of non-compliance with the PFMA and the Preference Procurement Regulations.
The accounting authority, as well as the ARC, had been dissolved. As a result, the ARC could not consider nor accept the audit opinion. The valuator’s report could not be concluded due to the Covid-19 national lockdown regulations. The AG did not, in 2019/20, accept the judgments made by NHC management on the reassessment of useful lives.
There had been significant improvements in lowering the NHC’s accumulated deficit over the years. In 2018/19, it had a deficit of R3.799 million. In 2019/20, it had a surplus of R2.429 million. The net assets had increased from R556 000 in 2018/19 to R2.985 million in 2019/20.
Ms Mabe concluded by saying that the administration team and the new Council would continue the investigation into the allegations raised. She was confident that the NHC would be stabilised by good governance. The Council would undertake the process to appoint a new CEO, and the administration team would finalise its mandate and hand over its report to the Minister and the Council.
(See the presentation for more detailed information)
Mr Joseph said he was interested in the Liberation Heritage Route. He noted that the two departments were busy with integration and would brief the Committee next month. He asked the Minister to disclose when Members would hear about the new accounting officer. Was the Minister aware of this matter, as the new Department was scheduled to start on 1 April?
He asked why the AG had found a regression of the internal audit, despite it being outsourced. The presentation had indicated that the code of conduct had been approved and put in place, but had then noted that these policies still needed to be reviewed. He thought these policies had been addressed already. It was clear that work still needed to be done.
Why was the ARC dissolved? How many of the old Board members hadreturned to the new Board? What was the actual mandate of the administration team, and what was the timeframe for when the mandate would be closed? He would later ask for clarity on the reports on the DSAC’s international experience.
Ms V Van Dyk (DA) asked to have the report on the visits to Vietnam and Syria, and the report on the NHC’s engagement with the reference group on the Resistance and Liberation Heritage Museum. How much time did the previous council spend implementing what they had learned on these benchmarking trips? Could the DSAC to give Members a financial and logistical breakdown of the expenditure incurred on these benchmarking trips?
She noted that the NHC had raised 2.38% in additional funds. She wanted to be informed on how much money had been raised, and what the cost for the personnel involved in these fundraising activities was. Did the contract relate only to funds, or did it include partnerships? On consequence management, what prevented the NHC from following through with disciplinary action against the officials who had transgressed the PFMA? Were these officials still employed by the NHC? What would the new Council do to ensure that consequence management took place? Was the investigation linked to the failure of the NHC to discipline the officials? When would Members be updated on the investigation? Why had the former CEO resigned? Was he linked to the investigation? Was the new CEO position being advertised, and if it had not, when would that be done?
Slide 21 of the presentation referred to heritage promotion and mentioned heritage management. What did heritage management mean? Had the Mandela House been closed? If it had, why was that so? Was the NHC aware that the Old Town House had been closed for five years? What steps would the NHC take in light of its mandate in relation to these heritage sites being closed?
Mr B Madlingozi (EFF) asked why the image of the former CEO, Adv Sonwabile Mancotywa, was being branded everywhere, yet his name had not been mentioned?
Ms V Malomane (ANC) asked why the expenditure of R2.033 million had been incurred without following a procurement process. Was any action taken against those who had wrongly incurred the expense?
The Minister said that the NHC and the DSAC would answer the questions.
Referring to the departmental integration, it was now one department. The process had started almost immediately after the President had announced that the two should become one. It was indicated in the 2018/19 budget vote that that would be the last vote of two departments. The Department of Sport and Recreation had merged with the Department of Arts and Culture to form the DSAC, with one Director-General (DG) moving to another department. Mr Vusumusi Mkhize, Director-General (DG), DSAC, was then endorsed by the Executive. He was not present. Mr Vusithemba Ndima, DDG, DSAC, was present and was the Acting DG.
The Members were raising valid points regarding the accountability of the NHC and the DSAC. An intellectual engagement regarding the core mandate of the NHC should be had with the Committee to see if the NHC and the DSAC were operating effectively.
Mr Ndima, Deputy Director-General (DDG): Heritage Promotion and Preservation, and Acting DG, DSAC, responded to questions relating to the DSAC. The international trip had been at the behest of the DSAC, and was part of the feasibility study for the development of the Resistance and Liberation Heritage Museum. Before finalising that report, the DSAC had thought it prudent to look at experiences in and out of the continent to create a museum that told a story that did not sanitise the gory details of trauma that South African people had gone through from the period of slavery to colonialism, and apartheid. This story must not be told just in terms of promoting victimhood, but in terms of promoting the heroism that had often emerged. It became important for the NHC to go to countries such as Germany, Senegal, Argentina, and Brazil, which had also experienced that kind of trauma. Apartheid museums did not go deeply into the story of what South Africa had gone through. The NHC looked not only at the stories, but also at how those stories were being curated. A museum experience should touch one’s conscience. The NHC had the reports of those trips and could provide the cost of the excursions, and who had been part of the relevant committee.
There were nine returning Council members. Six members were returned by virtue of being chairpersons of other institutions of the DSAC. One member was recommended to the Minister because of her integrity. The other two members came from Gauteng and the North-West, respectively.
Mr Neluvhalani responded on governance issues. Since the administrators came in, investigations had been conducted into the dissolution of the previous Council. The administrators had begun to get the services of a forensic audit team. This had been finalised, and work would now begin with them. He was eager to determine why the previous Council had been dissolved.
The process of appointing the new CEO had started, and it was a priority to ensure that a new accounting officer could be brought in so that the entity could be taken forward. Once the induction of the new Council members was completed, the NHC would move full steam ahead.
The administrators had drafted a report which was being looked at, and the handover process was being finalised so that the Council could take responsibility for the governance of the NHC.
On the audit issues, an audit plan was being worked on to correct those problems. The forensic audit and the work of the administrators would help to determine what corrective measures must be taken. The operation of the NHC must be cleaned up in response to what had happened. Mr Neluvhalani believed that the Council was not far from putting things back into order.
Mr Zweli Mathebula, Chief Financial Officer (CFO), NHC, responded on the issues of irregular expenditure for 2019/20. The R2.033 million expenditure had been incurred for the office lease and accommodation. The issue with this expenditure had been the alleged non-compliance with due process. The matter had been referred to National Treasury, but there had not yet been a response.
On the R1.698 million expenditure, the NHC had had to draw up ten points for the advertisement bid. The criteria for these advertisements had been changed in the middle of the year, so the matter had been referred to National Treasury. Upon receiving feedback, the Acting CEO would have to follow through on the irregular expenditure framework, detailing what had to be done when officials transgressed procedures, and conduct consequence management.
Ms Mabe thought the DSAC would explain why the former CEO resigned, because the DG had received the resignation. She said that Adv Mancotywa’s name had been mentioned in the document because he had led the NHC for a long time.
On the internal audit being outsourced and the issues raised by the AG, some of the problems indicated could not be picked up or followed through. The internal audit had now been in-sourced to determine what steps could be taken to correct the issues.
On the excursion expenditure, each institution that was part of the DSAC’s delegation had to pay for their own costs. Those excursions were therefore not at the cost of the NHC.
The Council had started a process of reviewing the un-reviewed policies. Other reports on international visits would be submitted to the Portfolio Committee for knowledge and understanding.
Mr Neluvhalani said that the matter of the Mandela House and the Old Town House closing down was something that SAHRA was attending to. The NHC dealt more with coordinating entities in the heritage sector and providing support on those matters.
Mr Ndima clarified that the former CEO had resigned because he felt that the institution’s environment was no longer bearable after the whistle-blowing incidents that resulted in calls for an investigation into the NHC.
The Chairperson noted that Mr Joseph’s question on why the internal audit was outsourced had not been answered, and asked for a response.
Mr Neluvhalani said that in line with the NHC’s policy, three audit committee members were external, while the rest came from the Council. If the question was in terms of the internal audit practice, the CFO could respond.
The Chairperson said that certain questions had been missed, and asked the officials to respond to them properly.
Mr Joseph clarified his questions, and asked if the internal audit was outsourced to a department in the Government or to the private sector. On the question of the timeframe, had the administrators completed the work on their mandate?
Mr Mathebula responded on the internal audit issue, and explained that in the past a cost-benefit analysis had been conducted which had determined that with the size and budget of the NHC at that stage, it was not appropriate to have an internal audit function. This structure had been reviewed and the NHC now had the capacity to perform its own internal audit. The internal audit had been given to the private sector on a contract for three years, worth approximately R1.2 million, and it had ended on 31 December 2020.
Mr T Mhlongo (DA) asked if Members could be given a copy of the Memorandum of Understanding between the NHC and the NYDA.
Mr Madlingozi again asked why the name of Adv Mancotywa was not mentioned in the presentation. He felt that the manner in which the question had been dealt with was unfair, while the question itself was genuine. It was the duty of this Committee to know what was occurring in the NHC. Was the investigation into the resignation ongoing?
The Chairperson stated said she did not believe the answer to Mr Madlingozi’s question was unfair. He was entitled to ask for clarity, but the officials were not allowed to, nor did they, push any questions aside.
Ms Van Dyk asked for clarity on her questions. She found it strange that Mr Ndima had said the former CEO left due to an unbearable environment. Was there no mediation, and had the Council tried to remedy this? On the question of the amount and cost involved in the funds raised, did this relate only to funds, or to funds and partnerships? Were the transgressing officials still employed by the NHC, and what were the consequences of the non-compliance with the PFMA? This question was important as the AG had highlighted that a major problem with many entities was the lack of consequence management. She asked when the forensic report would be made available to the Committee. On heritage management, it seemed that the functions of the NHC and SAHRA overlapped. Was the NHC saying that it oversees the functioning of SAHRA?
The Chairperson pleaded with the officials to note down and answer all the questions properly. She was not pleased that some questions had not been responded to.
Mr Neluvhalani apologised if some of the questions were not answered properly, or at all. On consequence management and the issues of the forensic audit, he explained that the forensic audit service provider was just appointed, and the work would therefore begin immediately. It would take three months for the forensic audit team and the administrators to finalise the report and make it accessible.
The NHC did not want to make assumptions, and action would only be taken on what corrective measures must be implemented after the Council had analysed the audit report. The Council was now engaging with this report.
The role of the NHC was oversight, and it played an advisory role to the Ministry. He asked Mr Ndima to clarify which entity was responsible for the Mandela House and the Old Town House. He said he was in no way pushing questions aside.
Mr Mathebula referred to fundraising, and explained that as per page 98 of the published annual report of the NHC, the entity had entered into a partnership with the provincial DSAC for the Golden Shield Heritage Awards. The provincial DSAC had pledged an equal amount of R1.5 million, but the funds were never transferred to the NHC, meaning the provincial DSAC had done the procurement at their end. The other engagement was through the Heritage Education Schools Outreach Programme (HESOP) with Brand South Africa, which had contributed R200 000.
Mr Neluvhalani clarified that nothing was being hidden about the former CEO. His name had been mentioned in the presentation by the Acting CEO. The DSAC would be able to explain the reasons for the former CEO’s resignation, but the investigation would also seek to determine, in more detail, why he had resigned.
Mr Ndima understood that Ms Van Dyk was unsatisfied with his response. He commented that he had tried to be diplomatic, as these matters would still be taken further in the investigation. However, one reason that was clear from the former CEO’s letter was that the message from the whistle-blowers was impugning his reputation and distracting the NHC from properly performing its functions, hence he thought it appropriate to resign.
On the link between the NHC and SAHRA, the founding legislation clearly stated that the NHC had a coordinating role to ensure that the heritage sector did not fragment. The chairpersons of other heritage institutions therefore sat on the Council for the purpose of coordination.
It must be noted that Mandela House was not necessarily government property. There were ongoing discussions about the future of Mandela House between the government and other interested parties.
Mr Ndima said that the administrators had come to stabilise the entity, begin the forensic investigation into the allegations against the CEO, and to ensure that those allegations were dealt with. At the same time, the DSAC had appointed the new Council which must identify the new CEO.
Mr Mhlongo asked for the details and the financial implications of the partnership between the NHC and the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA). He again asked if Members could be given the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the NHC and the NYDA. Both the DSAC and the NHS had implemented a nation building initiative. How did these initiatives differ?
Ms Kagiso Maphalle, Executive: Core Business, NHC, responded to the question on nation building. She said that the NHC had a nation building initiative. One such initiative was the Ubuntu Programme, where the NHC called for non-profit organisations (NPOs) in rural communities to apply for funding to uplift their communities. The idea behind these programmes was that Mandela Day should be a year-long experience, with the notion of Ubuntu being used to uplift rural communities.
Mr Ndima said that the DSAC used various platforms to promote nation building. These programmes sought to promote nation building holistically by memorialising and celebrating people of every race, religion, gender, creed and ethnicity. The idea was that at some stage, South Africa should be united. Hence there was a wide range of nation building programmes.
The Chairperson asked for a response on the question of the MoU between the NHC and the NYDA.
An official explained that the NHC had a MoU with the NYDA in 2019 which related to the commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the hanging of Solomon “Kalushi” Mahlangu, and the consultations involving SAHRA and the public on making Mr Mahlangu’s house a heritage site. There were no financial implications, as no money was paid to or from the NYDA. This was an inter-governmental collaboration between the NHC, the NYDA and SAHRA.
The omission of the name of the former CEO in the presentation had been a mistake. His name was included in the actual 2019/20 annual report, and he did appear in the presentation.
Mr M Seabi (ANC) asked if the Council could give the Committee a profile of its top management structure. He noted that the government had declared 2021 as the year of Charlotte Mannya-Maxeke. What role did the NHC have regarding that declaration?
The NHC had been under administration for three months, and the Acting CEO was the head administrator. Could the Acting CEO tell the Members what lessons had been learned, how the NHC could improve, and what had caused the audit opinion to be qualified?
Mr Mhlongo asked for clarity on the MoU with the NYDA. It was said that it had been updated in 2018, yet there was a collaborated event with the NYDA in 2019. Was there honestly no money given to the NYDA for these events? On the Solomon Mahlangu project, how much money was used for the anniversary?
What did the Indigenous Poetry Challenge entail, and how could people participate in that project? What were the criteria for NPOs to be given funding for the nation building initiative, and how much money had been set aside per annum to date for this initiative?
Ms M Khawula (EFF) asked a question in Zulu, and no translation was provided.
The Chairperson responded in Zulu, and no translation was provided.
The Minister responded on the transformation of South Africa’s heritage landscape. Ms Khawula was correct to insist on celebrating people from before the emergence of political organisations. Cabinet had taken a decision last year, and the DSAC was in the process of acting on that decision to build a Resistance and Liberation Heritage Museum. Resistance referred to the period before colonialism. The DSAC was already honouring those who preceded political organisations, such as a warrior chief in Greytown in KwaZulu-Natal. The DSAC had corrected the name of Grahamstown to Makhanda and had approved the changed name of the Port Elizabeth airport. The DSAC had engaged four provincial legislatures on this matter, and would soon engage the other five.
The Minister translated his response into Zulu.
Mr Ndima noted that Ms Khawula had touched on the issue of sport in rural areas. He indicated that through the district development model, the NHC worked with the local municipalities and districts to identify areas that required sport infrastructure and equipment as part of promoting an active and winning nation.
He translated his response into Zulu.
He added that Covid-19 had disrupted the development of infrastructure and the delivery of equipment, but the NHC should be able to perform its work efficiently in the near future.
Ms Khawula asked a question in Zulu, and no translation was provided.
The Chairperson responded in Zulu, and no translation was provided.
Mr Ndima responded in Zulu, and no translation was provided. He said the NHC would seek to find out about the matter being raised.
The Chairperson made a comment in Zulu, and no translation was provided.
Ms Maphalle said that the top management structure of the NHC was the Council, which performed oversight. The second structure was the council committees, and the third was the Acting CEO. The fourth structure was the executive management, which consists of herself, as Executive: Core Business, which dealt with the core mandate of the NHC; Mr Mathebula, the CFO; and Mr Tembile Yako, Acting Council Secretary.
The Indigenous Poetry Challenge was the first implementation of the project, as it replaced the annual exchange programme with SOMAFCO as a result of the Covid-19 restrictions. The NHC had partnered with SOMAFCO, which had collaborated with Black Motion to invite the public to recite an indigenous poem to be voted on via social media. The poems were recited in all 11 official languages. The project was currently running on the NHC and Black Motion social media pages.
The Ubuntu nation building initiative was allocated R200 000 per annum, of which R20 000 was given to each province, and the remaining R20 000 was used for travel and accommodation. The Ubuntu Programme was advertised on national radio and media to request NPOs to submit a community nation-building plan to the NHC for funding. The evaluation team, comprised of members of the NHC, formulated a report on these proposals and submitted it to the Acting CEO for approval. On approval, R20 000 was allocated to each successful NPO for work in their respective province.
The NHC had a partnership with the National House of Traditional Leaders (NHTL) and the Department of Traditional Affairs (DTA) to ensure the preservation of indigenous knowledge systems and intangible heritage.
The NHC would be calling on the public to nominate unsung community heroes and heroines who had contributed to the liberation struggle in South Africa. The NHC would then publish a document acknowledging and celebrating those people.
Ms Mabe said that on the day the Council was dissolved, the former CEO had resigned so the team of administrators had been appointed by the Minister to ensure stability, assume the responsibility of the CEO, resume operation of the NHC, initiate an investigation into the allegations and create a forensic report on the alleged issues, and to ensure smooth transition for the new Council which had assumed duties on 1 December 2020.
Mr Mathebula said that the NHC had been involved in plans for the 150th celebration of Charlotte Manny-Maxeke. It was responsible for three liberation projects. It was working with the provincial DSAC in Gauteng on the reconstruction of Mannya-Maxeke’s house as a small museum. The NHC was also working with the Charlotte Maxeke Institute to mark programmes in the build-up to the 150th celebration. It was also working on a documentary for this celebration which would be finalised later this year.
On the partnership with the NYDA, no funds were paid from the NHC to the NYDA. The NHC collaborated with the NYDA to mark the 40th anniversary of the hanging of Solomon Mahlangu, in line with its mandate. There was no significant expenditure set aside for that event. Travel was the only expense.
Ms Khawula asked a question in Zulu, and no translation was provided.
The Chairperson responded to Ms Khawula in Zulu, and no translation was provided.
Mr Mathebula responded on the regression of the audit outcome. On the issue of the ARC, the NHC had sought a response from National Treasury, which had indicated that if the NHC Board was dissolved, then the ARC was by association dissolved. Normally, the NHC would get a report from the service provider on the valuation of the entity’s assets, but due to Covid-19, the NHC had not got that report. Management had therefore done its own estimates and submitted them to the AG, but the AG had not been satisfied with them.
Ms Mabe said that one of the lessons learned by the administrators was that it took time for a team to adjust to entering into a new environment. Another lesson was the discomfort that the intervention and the investigations into allegations could cause in the institution. Finally, a report had to be submitted for other institutions to learn from that situation.
Mr Mhlongo asked if the NHC had implemented all of the recommendations of the AG. How had it implemented these recommendations? There was still a recommendation outstanding from 2018/19, so what mechanism had the NHC put in place to act on this recommendation? One of the issues the AG had raised was a lack of leadership in the entity.
Mr Joseph disagreed with the comment that the ARC was dissolved solely because the Board was dissolved. The Board should be independent from any committee in the institution. It would make sense for the ARC to also be dissolved only if it was implicated with the NHC itself. What solved this matter was that the audit function had now returned to the NHC. He was pleased to hear that the private audit contract had ended.
The Chairperson noted that the Minister had left the meeting to attend a ministerial meeting. She requested that Mr Mhlongo and Mr Joseph’s questions be answered.
Mr Neluvhalani responded that National Treasury had stated that if the Board was dissolved, the ARC also had to be dissolved. The AG’s recommendations of 2018/19 had all been implemented. There were no repeat findings -- they were all new. These new findings dealt more with adjustments. The major issues were the two major irregular expenditures, which would be dealt with.
The Chairperson thanked the officials for attending and wished them all the best. The Deputy Minister said she was pleased with the manner in which the meeting had been conducted and the responses that were given. The officials left the meeting.
Adoption of minutes
The Chairperson requested the Members to move on to the matter of adopting the outstanding minutes.
The minutes of 26 January 2021 were presented and adopted, with the correction of including Ms Khawula as a present Member.
The minutes of 6 November 2020 were presented and adopted with a grammatical correction.
The minutes of 2 February 2021 were presented and adopted.
The minutes of 27 October 2020 were presented and adopted.
The minutes of 3 November 2020 were presented and adopted. Mr Mhlongo did not want to second the minutes, as he had previously raised an issue regarding the annexures to the minutes.
The minutes of 13 November 2020 were presented and adopted.
The meeting was adjourned.
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