Western Cape Adjustments Appropriation Bill: Cultural Affairs and Sport; with Minister

Community Safety, Cultural Affairs and Sport (WCPP)

28 November 2022
Chairperson: Mr G Bosman (DA)
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Meeting Summary

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The Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport presented its 2021/22 adjusted budget, which showed an increase of R554 000 from the main appropriation of R 937.913 million, to R938.467 million. They confirmed that the Department's rollover applications of R4.5 million had been approved by the Provincial Treasury and were also included in the adjusted appropriation.

Members expressed concern over the research being conducted regarding the sustainable library services delivery model. They asked the Department if they had invested in sports such as boxing, which was one of the ways through which the youth could channel their aggression. They also wondered whether it was doing anything to help students who attended public libraries to deal with challenging subjects like trigonometry -- did the Department provide such resources online so that students could access them at any time?

The Department responded that the research into a sustainable library services model was for purposes of finding a better delivery model. They said they invested heavily in both amateur and professional boxing within the province. The Department also told the Committee that they did have both in-person and online resources for students and young people who were providing tutoring in those challenging subjects.

The Committee approved the Department’s 2021/22 adjusted budget, and recorded the minority view of the ANC who opposed the Budget Vote.

Meeting report

The Chairperson invited members of the public to the meeting to comment on the budget being tabled. The budget documents could be found on the Western Cape Provincial Parliament's website, should anyone want to look through them.

Minister Opening remarks.

Ms Anroux Marais, Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport, said that the Department was more committed than ever to its mandate, as stated on page 321 of Vote 13 of the Adjustment Appropriations Bill.

Mr Guy Redman, Head of Department (HOD), Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport, said that the adjusted appropriations had increased by R554 000, from the main appropriation of R937 million, to R938.467 million. All the rollover applications of just over R4.5 million approved by the Provincial Treasury had been included in the adjusted appropriation. R5m has been received to fund the Formula E Grand Prix to be hosted in Cape Town on 25 February 2023. The provincial treasury contributed R2 million and the Department of Economic Development and Tourism contributed R3 million. Formula E was the first fully electric racing series, bringing the latest innovations in electronic vehicles and alternative energy solutions to the city centre. The event would provide a catalyst for the Western Cape green economy, and provide a platform for global African and local green economic players to meet annually to identify opportunities and drive job creation.

The Department had received additional funding for the after-school and youth programme. They had also received R950 000 from the Department of the Premier (DotP) for the violence prevention initiative at schools programme, to enhance well-being and safety at schools. It also received R2.5 million from the Department of Education for at-home learning for Grade 8 pupils. An amount of R8.6 million was shifted to the DotP for enterprise content management (ECM) for hosting of ECM infrastructure and software licensing, to align with the comprehensive rollout of ECM to the identified three different departments in this period. Due to the vandalism, it had shifted an amount of R3.9 million reserved in the provincial revenue fund to contribute to the repairs to the Philippi stadium. It had been vandalised to such an extent that it could not legally host events that would need approval from the city authorities.

The Department presented details of the adjusted appropriation for the 2022/23 financial year.  

Discussion

The Chairman invited Members to make comments or ask questions on Vote 13, beginning with pages 323 and 324

Ms D Baartman (DA) wanted to find out what the objectives of the research were for the sustainable library services delivery model under programme 3, Library and Archives Services. What would be the scope of the research, and when would it be done?

Ms Brenda Rutgers, Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport, said that during the last financial year, the amount that was rolled over had been allocated for the purpose of developing a better model for the delivery of library services. The Department had gone through the tender process, but they could not find a service provider that was able to provide the service to the Department. Therefore, they had to surrender the funds and requested the funds be reallocated. The funds were for exploring an alternative model for library services, and arose from the fact that the Department's budget was unable to fund the library services adequately, and also because of the unfunded mandate about which the Committee had already been briefed. The intention was to find an alternative model that could provide library services to communities using online services.

Ms Cecilia Sani, Director: Library Services, Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport, said that one of the things the Department had asked for in its terms of reference was for the service providers to look at global trends and the provision of public service libraries, but also to look specifically at developing countries. The service providers should also look at the current situation, and advise if there is anything that could be done better.

Mr P Marais (FF+) asked if the Department ever considered helping students who attended libraries understand challenging subjects like trigonometry on video, so they could always go back and look at the subjects. Most of his grandchildren attended private schools with a 90% pass rate, because they had such facilities at private schools. How was the Department planning on helping the poor children in the townships who did not have access to such resources online so that they could have such access from the comfort of their homes and study these challenging subjects?

The Chairperson said he had also noted that after-school tutors were often teachers from public schools offering their services in their spare time.

Ms Sani said that the Department was most definitely looking at the future of libraries, which included much more multimedia spaces for students to come and study. Currently, they are providing a lot of that already through the Smart Cape Services in the City of Cape Town, and also through the rural agri-connectivity project, where they provide free internet services in the library to the students. There were volunteers and library systems that could help students going forward, and there was support within libraries for students to access educational resources and study online.

Ms Jacqueline Boulle ,Chief Director: Youth and After School Programme, Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport, said that as part of the Youth Programme, the library had about 1 000 young people working in schools providing literacy and numeracy support to learners, and this included helping them navigate online resources. There were also about 300 young people who worked in community hubs doing the same thing.

The Chairperson invited comments and questions from the Members on pages 325, 326, 327 and 328 of Vote 13.

Ms Baartman referred to Programme 4 (Sport and Recreation), and asked whether the R50 000 reduction in revenue was due to the lapse of contracts of gym members, as well as the gymnasium in Wale Street. She was aware that the gym was open now and wanted to know whether the Department was collecting more revenue now, following the COVID lockdown. How much were they getting at the moment, and what was the possibility of increasing the fees so that the Department could offset some of the other expenses?

Mr Marais said that it was important to find out what the sport culture in the Western Cape was -- which sport was well-liked, and which was not. He asked the Department whether they really looked at how sports could be used to help build a healthy community and well-adjusted youngsters. Did the Department spend money on boxing, ballet schools or opera?

Mr Paul Hendricks, Director: Sport Development, Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport, in response to Ms Baartman, said that it was the provincial gym that was the subject of the funds. The gym had a necessary annex to the provincial government. The fees charged were reasonable if one took into account that they wanted to instil a culture of mental health, and security for the employees who might not have the same amenities in their own neighbourhoods, so they could participate adequately, given the time they had to spend on transport and other things to get home. It allowed these employees to use the resources at the provincial government gym. He assured the Committee that the Department would take into consideration the concerns of Ms Baartman going forward. They would also be looking at other possible incentives for public servants going forward, but the gym also helped with some of the Department's outreach programmes in communities as well.

In response to Mr Marais, Mr Hendricks said the Western Cape had a very strong sport culture. 24 kinds of sports affiliated with the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC). Each of them, perhaps except the sheep shearing association, was a formal member of Western Province. Everyone participated in sport and there were 64 sport federation gyms in Cape Town, the Central Karoo had 12, the West Coast had 22, and Eden had 44 federation gyms.

He said boxing was well represented, and there was both amateur and professional boxing. The Department assisted with professional boxing fights out in Sunningdale, and also had a strong relationship with the amateur boxers that travelled to the Eastern Cape, Durban and elsewhere, because boxing was also an Olympic sport. The Department therefore had an obligation to assist in boxing. It worked very well with boxing promoters, and in March of 2022, they dedicated three days to a women’s boxing training camp and the nine bouts that followed in the Eden area. Next year, the conditional grant would make R350 000 available for boxing which would need to be utilised.

Ms Jane Moleleki, Director: Arts, Culture and Language Services, said that the Department was supporting the Cape Town Ballet and other ballet schools in terms of the development of ballet in the sector.

Mr Hendricks said ballroom dancing fell under Programme Four, and there was a big dancing fraternity in the Western Cape. There was competitive dancing under the federation in South Africa, and the Department supported them with their events, providing funding for transport, administration and related things. He confirmed that the dance fraternity was part of the sport fraternity regarding its competitiveness.

Mr Marais said that he appreciated the responses from the Department, but he did not hear how much it was spending on ballet.

Ms Moleleki said about R1.2 million was spent on ballet.

The Chairperson invited questions on pages 329 to 333 and the annexures to Vote 13. When none of the Members raised any questions, he asked whether any members of the public had submitted any questions.

Mr Waseem Matthews, Committee Procedural Officer, responded that there were no questions from the members of the public.

Ms P Lekker (ANC) said she had been unable to ask questions earlier as she was having problems with her audio. Referring to page 322, table 13.1, on the compensation of employees, she asked how many jobs had been affected and how such a move affected the Department’s agenda to drive youth employment and development. On page 323, she observed that over R1 million of the rollover funds had gone towards computer equipment, and not the core function of the Department, and asked what the computers were being used for.

She said there seemed to be many shifts where a similar explanation was given, such as the realignment of the expanded public works programme (EPWP) budget and the compensation of employment (CoE). She was confused that the shift was occurring within the same sub-programmes, and therefore was seeking more details on the issues. She asked the Department to provide a more simple explanation.

Ms Rutgers explained that the reduction of 1.1 million had been shifted from CoE to households to pay for leave gratuity for staff that had either resigned or retired. It was not a reduction in the CoE overall -- it was just the shifting of funds to pay for the leave gratuities.

Regarding computer equipment, Ms Rutgers explained that when the shifting of funds occurred because of saving in one area, the Department was able to fund something else. Inflation had increased, which had an impact on the goods and services that the Department procured. Even though there were dedicated budgets for computer equipment, because of the impact of inflation, the budget was greatly reduced, resulting in one buying less than originally planned. The Department therefore does the shifts and the adjusted appropriation was to enable it to fund what it needed to fund to be able to operate effectively.

The EPWP funds were shifted mainly because the Department had changed its approach. They had previously appointed staff internally, but since they started with the managed network approach, they had used some of the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) as an implementation arm to give effect to the EPWP in the Department.

Mr Marais said the Western Cape had allocated additional money to the Artscape, which he noted seemed to take the total budget for fine arts and culture. He wanted to know where the extra R50 000 that was given to Artscape had come from, and whether Artscape was really representative of all the cultures.

Mr Redman said that the Artscape was one of the best cultural facilities in the country, and was very representative of the community in terms of the programme they did at the facility itself, but also in the programme they ran for their outreach activities.

He explained that the Artscape facility's solid structure belonged to the Western Cape Government, but the entity that operates it, runs it as a national entity. Apart from making the building available, the Department was responsible for a small amount of around R200000 for changing light bulbs and other day-to-day maintenance. The Department of Public Works did the major maintenance. The R50 000 was an amount made available to support Artscape to pay artists' fees for their programmes. Artscape had developed a new billing model post-COVID-19, where they would not charge for the venue but would take a portion of the gate fees from the organisations that came to perform, because charging for the venue was quite a limiting factor for most artists. The Department provided additional funds to contribute towards organisations that may have had difficulty paying for fees for artists for the various programmes that they did, and that was why they had made R50 000 available to Artscape. Otherwise, the bulk of their budget came from the national department.

The Chairperson told Mr Marais that if he was interested in the work of Artscape this week, they would be launching the ArtsAbility Festival which incorporated not just the arts, but also made the arts more accessible by showcasing the work of the differently-abled arts members. A new opera called "Sensorium Ex" was going to be presented, which was a partnership between Artscape, the unmuted dance company and Opera Sensorium from New York. Therefore, Artscape did quite a bit and what they should try to do in the future was to ensure that the Committee was kept abreast of the work done by all the Western Cape theatres. The Members should be invited to some of the outreach programmes as well.

On the issue between the Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (Contralesa) and Stellenbosch municipality around the initiation sites, Ms Lekker asked for some updates on how far the process was, or what the provisions were as far as the sites were concerned.

Minister Marais said that the initiation site in Stellenbosch was a matter of concern to her and the Department. Over the week, they had had a few challenges, but everything was under control and the initiates were cared for, even though they were deemed to be illegal. She thanked the Committee for the deliberations.

Mr Redman said that the Stellenbosch sites had been used for quite a number of years, but in the current yea, there had been a few challenges in terms of access to the site because of a fire permit. It was high season for fires in the Western Cape, and the fire protection association had raised the alarm that fires should not be permitted during the period, and the matter was now in court. He would rather not speak any further about it until the court pronounces itself on it. They were waiting for the outcome today. On 25 November, they had had some 50 initiates go up to Idas Valley. They had also had one person practising their Xhosa culture at Calcutta in Stellenbosch who had started their season over the weekend. In terms of the law, that school was deemed illegal in the sense that for an initiation site to be legal under the new Act, the principal of the school needed to get permission from the land owner, which was then presented via the Department to the Western Cape Provincial Initiation Committee, which the Premier appointed.

The Chairperson asked the Department to provide the details to Ms Lekker via Mr Matthews.

He asked the Members to send the resolutions, requests for information and recommendations directly to the Committee’s secretary for onward transmission to the Department.

Adoption of report on adjusted budget

The Chairperson read out the draft report and asked the Members to confirm whether they supported or did not support the vote.

Ms Baartman moved to support the vote.

Mr C Fry (DA) seconded.

Ms Lekker said that she did not support the vote.

The Chairperson invited Members to adopt the report as is.

Mr D Plato (DA) moved for the adoption of the report, and was seconded by Ms Baartman.

The meeting was adjourned.

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