Western Cape Appropriation Bill: Vote 13: Cultural Affairs & Sport

Community Safety, Cultural Affairs and Sport (WCPP)

17 March 2021
Chairperson: Mr R Allen (DA)
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Meeting Summary

Video: Standing Committee on Community Safety, Cultural Affairs and Sport, 17 March 2021, 14:00

The Committee deliberated on Vote 13 of the Western Cape Third Adjustments Appropriation Bill.

The Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport briefed the Committee on how the budget cuts had affected its ability to carry out its functions. It said that the public was slowly returning to sporting activities, albeit with small spectator numbers.

Briefing the Committee on several projects, it said the ongoing COVID pandemic had affected the Department’s ability to spend its budget. It had surrendered R19.626 million, of which R13.504 million had been approved for re-allocation in the financial 2021/22 financial year.

Members of the Committee thanked the outgoing Head of Department. They commended the Department’s efforts to render services, considering the uncertainties around the budget.

Members wanted to know about the net decrease in the Department’s budget, and how it was going to innovate in order to deliver its mandate regarding communities. What was it doing to combat racism in the Western Cape? How much had been allocated to athletes and artists through the Relief Fund?

They wanted to know how the Department would approach its support to sporting federations. What was being done regarding the 2023 Netball World Cup? What were the details of the Legacy Project?

Members asked how the Department planned to support municipalities that were struggling to manage their libraries. They also wanted to know how it planned to contribute to the reduction of unemployment in the province.

Meeting report

Minister’s opening remarks

Ms Anroux Marais, Provincial Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sports, said it was almost a year since the country went into complete lockdown. She said the public was slowly going back to sporting activities, albeit in smaller numbers.

Sport fraternities in all six districts of the Western Cape had all been active over the last few weeks.

The Zabalaza Theatre Festival had done preliminary events, and would run from 19 March until 26 March, with limited spectator numbers and COVID protocols in place.

The Department had a mandate to bring about social cohesion, inclusion, a sense of belonging, and well-being to communities.

She said the Department was looking forward to the deliberations.

HOD’s opening remarks

Mr Brent Walters, Head of Department (HOD): Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS), said the Department ’s mandate was to bring people together, but the response to COVID had necessitated bringing people apart through social distancing.

This had had an impact on the Department’s ability to spend its budget. The Department surrendered R19.626 million, of which R13.504 million had been approved for re-allocation in the 2021/22 financial year. R5.722 million was mainly for compensation of employees (CoE). R3.459 million would go to goods and services. R2.263 million was related to advertising, catering, and other items that were meant for events which had been cancelled.

A further R1.367 million of the surrendered amount was related to the Broadband Library Connection. The budget was affected due to data lines that could not be installed at public libraries, and library infrastructure programmes that were delayed due the closure of libraries as a result of COVID-19.

R2.422 million was for Enterprise Content Management (ECM) advanced electronic signatures. He added that there had been a delay in the procurement of advanced electronic signatures by the State Information Technology Agency (SITA).

There had been no Minstrel Festival, and no after-school programmes related to sport. These were some of the things that had contributed to the surrendered amount.

Third Adjustments Appropriation Bill

The Chairperson tabled the Third Adjustments Appropriation Bill

Discussion

Ms A Bans (ANC) wanted to know why the annual performance plans (APPs) were not included.

Mr G Bosman (DA) said the APPs were emailed separately. He thanked the outgoing Head of Department, Mr Walters, and all the officials from the Department. He understood that this was the Department’s third adjusted budget. He knew that it was difficult to plan when there was no clear budget. 

He thanked the Department for the work that it had done to ensure that children were able to access some form of organised sport. The Department welcomed the news that the archives were going to be fully digital.

The Chairperson echoed Mr Bosman’s sentiments.

Mr Walters said it had been indicated that the Department’s budget had increased by 20.3%. He said this did not take into consideration the three adjustments to the budget. The Department had been forced to give up funds at various stages of the 2020/21 financial year. It was important to note that there had been a 3.7% net reduction in the Department’s budget, compared to what was originally allocated.

Vote 13

The Chairperson tabled Vote 13 in the Schedule to the Western Cape Appropriations Bill 2021.

Ms L Botha (DA) wanted to know about the net decrease in the Department’s budget. She asked how the Department was going to innovate in order to deliver on its mandate regarding communities.

Ms Bans asked what was being done to combat the “demon of racism” in the Western Cape. She wanted to know about the economic impact of COVID on the livelihoods of artists and athletes. How much had been allocated to supporting athletes and artists from the Relief Fund? How could the Literary Arts Development Programme be accessed?

Mr M Kama (ANC) asked how the Department would approach its support to sports federations. Would it have a targeted approach in areas with high murder rates? What was being done regarding the 2023 Netball World Cup? What were the details of the Legacy Project? What were the details around the programmes that had been impacted by the closure of the sector? What had happened to the earmarked funds? How much had been budgeted for these projects in the current financial year?

Mr Bosman wanted the Department to elaborate on how they were working to further their assistance to municipalities that were struggling to manage their libraries. Would there be any changes in how libraries were managed, going forward?

He requested an update on the Library Connectivity Project. He was aware of the enhancement to the ECM system to increase functionality. His understanding was that increased functionality equalled increased costs. He wanted to know if the costs would escalate this year, or would there be a continued increase.

The Chairperson asked the Department to elaborate on its plan to contribute to the reduction of unemployment in the Western Cape. Were there partnerships or agreements in place with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and sponsors? He also asked about how this related to the compensation of employees.

Department’s response

Mr Walters said even though posts had been “frozen”, no “warm bodies” had been let go. He was confident that staff would be able to innovate and come up with more programmes, with or without COVID. He commented that the reduction in the Department’s budget meant that it could do less and not more.

Mr Guy Redman, Chief Director: Cultural Affairs, DCAS, said the Department had programmes in the museums that addressed matters around racism. One of the entity’s targets was having programmes that united people around the country’s national symbols.

The Department also had strong language programme. He referred to the Community Conversations Programme, and said race was an issue that always came up. R6.9 million in relief funding had been made available, and had been split between Arts and Culture, Museums, and Libraries. The Department was going to continue funding arts organisations. The effort would focus on recovery and supporting artists that depended on the “gig economy.”

Dr Lyndon Bouah, Chief Director: Sport and Recreation, DCAS, said the Department had a provincial Relief Fund of R1 million, which had been assigned to 127 applicants by an independent committee. Transfer funding had been assigned to over 125 sports federations in the Western Cape.

There had been monthly virtual meetings regarding the Netball World Cup. The Netball World Cup Board had been established, and they would have their first meeting in the following week. R37 million had been set aside for the current financial year. R30 million had been transferred to the National Netball Federation. Funding had been sent to the City of Cape Town in March 2019. He said ablution facilities had been opened by Minister Marais at the Stephen Reagan facility in Mitchells Plain. R717 000 had been transferred in October 2020 to Laingsburg Municipality for the upgrading of the netball court and other facilities at the JJ Ellis sports ground. The legacy project was being rolled out, with the towns that hosted the league games being the ones that were targeted. There were also legacy projects related to coaching.

Ms Cecelia Sani, Director: Library Services, DCAS, said the Department was funding two infrastructure projects – a small modular library for R1.6 million in Kannaland, and R12 million for a big library in Swellendam. If the Department did not spend that funding, it could apply for a rollover.

The Department had seven regional offices that were spread across the province to support rural libraries. It also helped smaller libraries through the expanded public works programme (EPWP), to assist them with internet access for the public.

Regarding the Rural Connectivity Programme, 229 libraries were on board. The Department provided 1 400 computers to the libraries to provide free internet access for communities. It was the municipality’s role to insure the libraries, and the stock within them.

Regarding the changing nature of how libraries were managed, the Department had moved much more online, and was in the process of procuring an “online books platform.”

Provincial Treasury had provided R1.5 million to get external research/consulting, to research a better service delivery model for libraries so that a sustainable way to provide funding to municipalities could be realised.

Ms Nomaza Dingayo, Director: Provincial Archive Service, DCAS, said the ECM enhancements would differ. Some would be for the first year, and they would carry the biggest cost. A lot of money would be spent at the beginning of the project. The advanced electronic signature initiative could take up to three years.

Ms Jacqui Boulle, Chief Director: After School Programme, DCAS, said the Department was the champion for the National Youth Service (NYS) in the province. It co-ordinated appointments for 18 to 24-year-olds, to gain work experience. They also assisted those who pursued their studies. Last year, there were 500 youths on the programme. The biggest programme was academic support in primary schools. The programme helped with numeracy and literacy.

Further discussion

Mr Bosman asked for clarity on the R1.6 million that would be spent to build a satellite library -- would it be built by the municipality or the Department of Public Works? He said a lot of money had gone missing under the current arrangement that Kannaland had until last week Wednesday. Would the municipality be given the money, or would the library be built by another arm of government?

Ms Bans said her question regarding aspiring writers had not been answered. If a writer had a book, what was the possibility of the Department supporting those books and buying them from the writers and getting them into the libraries?

Ms Sani said the R1.2 million had been transferred to the municipality in two tranches. The municipality handled the whole process of the tendering and building. The Department had a dedicated planning section within the library service, which was on the project team, but the funds sat with the municipality to implement the project.

She said the library service had a selection policy, where 80% of the budget was spent on local authors and publishers. A system had been approved where the local publisher or author dropped off the book at the library service, where they were reviewed and then possibly purchased. There was also a specialist selection team that ensured that all important works were purchased, and that the Department stuck to the spending levels.

The Department also had a programme that assisted local authors to publish their own books. This project would be rolled out in the next financial year.

Mr Redman said there were six new categories in the new call for funding. These categories included books and press, which included children’s literature, poetry, folklore, autobiographies, short stories, book fairs and grants to struggling publishers. At least 60% of the budget was spent on local content, and this would increase to 65% or 70%, depending on the availability of content.

Mr Bosman asked how far the R1.6 million would go, considering the cost of constructing a library.

Ms Sani said a small satellite library would usually cost R500 000, but the current library would be bigger. It had been costed. The books that would be in the library came from a different budget and the collection had already begun, so they could be available when the library opened.

Ms R Windvogel (ANC) wanted to know about the Robben Island prison landscape. The Department had initiated feasibility studies for the first two sites. What were the details of these sites, and how much had been budgeted for it? When would the studies be completed?  What were the reasons for the drastic decrease in the budgets for the cultural commissions, and what would the impact of the cuts be? What work had been done on the Resistance and Liberation Heritage Route (RLHR) in the province?

Mr Kama asked about funding to sports federations. How many federations had been funded in the ten highest murder precincts in the province? How many federations would be assisted in rural areas? This was linked to the question that had not been clearly answered.

He wanted to know why the number of clubs in the Club Development Programme had been reduced. Were there were any plans to increase the number of clubs that were supported through the programme? He requested the details of the organisations that were supported by the Department, and the funds earmarked for the support of arts and culture organisations.

Ms Collette Scheermeyer, Deputy Director: Heritage Western Cape, DCAS, said it should be noted that the RLHR was a national project of the DSAC, and the province formed part of a chapter of the national project. Three sites had been initially identified as part of the project. The Department had received funding from National Heritage Council, which was the implementing agent for the DSAC. She said the feasibility study was only related the two sites, one of them being Madiba House. She would be happy to provide further details if requested.

Mr Redman said the final draft of the Madiba House feasibility study had been received. He added that 75 arts organisations had been supported thus far, and a list could be made available.

Dr Bouah said the Department had received 142 applications from sporting federations and were awaiting audited financial statements before the final figure was reached. He said federations were district-based, and the clubs were the ones in the precincts. This meant the clubs in any district could be supported by the federations they were associated with.

Mr Paul Hendricks, Director: Sport Development, DCAS, said there were 85 mass opportunity and development (MOD) centres in rural areas, and 96 in the metro areas. There were 134 neighbouring schools, of which about 50% were in rural areas. There were also 20 recreational centres, of which 17 were in rural areas.

Mr Thabo Tutu, Director: Sport Promotion, DCAS, sad the Club Development Programme was funded through a conditional grant that was from the national DCAS. The grant was governed and determined by a framework that was signed off by the National Director-General. The programme looked at the transportation needs of clubs, capacity-building, as well as the provision of equipment and attire. The grant had been cut on a yearly basis. This impacted on the number clubs that could be in the programme. The clubs that formed part of the programme were not determined by the Department. They were nominated by federations and confederations, and admitted to the programme for three years. He said 83 of the 180 clubs came from rural areas.

Mr Kama asked if there was any engagement with federations in areas with high murder rates, in terms of what support could be given to them. He wanted to hear what active role the Department would play. There needed to be a change in approach in order to combat social ills.

Mr Walters said the Department was not the implementing agent, but they would be able to provide detail regarding how many clubs in the Club Development Programme were in the high crime areas.

Ms Bans wanted to know the reasons behind the steep increase in costs related to catering. What were the reasons for the decrease in the budgets to cultural commissions? What was the impact of these cuts?

Mr Kama wanted to know about the compliance of the Philippi Stadium with the Safety and Sports and Recreational Events Act (SASREA). How many stadia were not compliant in the province? What were the plans to upgrade such stadia? How much of the budget would go to upgrading these facilities?

Mr Walters said there had been a decrease in spending related to catering because the Department had had to give up funds. He commented that the amount was lower than the amount that had originally been appropriated.

Ms Brenda Rutgers, Chief Financial Officer: DCAS, said cultural commissions depended on generated revenue, and the funds available to them decreased when revenue decreased.

Dr Bouah said schedule 5 (A) of the Constitution provided that the facilities belonged to the municipalities. The Department would not be able to answer the question regarding stadia, as each municipality would have to be asked individually.

Ms Bans wanted to know if property payments included funds for upgrading sports infrastructure, especially in the rural areas. She noted the City of Cape Town and Bishop Lavis were fighting over transfers -- were they arguing over transfers related to the upgrade of stadia? She wanted to know about the decrease in the in the transfer to the metro, and what the reason was for the decrease in the transfers to the Central Karoo. What programmes would be affected?

Dr Bouah said the Department worked on an application basis. The municipalities had a three-month window to apply for specific funding. It then worked with the municipal infrastructure grant (MIG) office to see which to see which municipalities were complying, and then assisted.

The Department did not make money available for maintenance, only for upgrades and the construction of new structures.

Regarding the Central Karoo, he said the amount transferred would depend on the number of municipalities that had applied. Funds had been transferred to Laingsburg in the previous year.

Ms Sani said the Metro Library Grant had increased from R10.5 million to R11 million. There seemed to be a discrepancy between the information that the Department was viewing and the information being viewed by the Committee. The Department would come back with a written answer.

The Chairperson thanked the HOD for his service to the Department. He also requested that Members of the Committee email the Procedural Officer with resolutions and requests for further information.

Committee Matters

Ms Botha proposed adopting the Committee Report on the Budget Vote.  

Ms Bans expressed the ANC minority view not to adopt the Report.

The Committee Report was adopted.

Adoption of Budget Vote

The DA proposed supporting the vote.

The ANC expressed the minority view not to support the vote.

The vote was adopted.

The meeting was adjourned.

 

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