Postponed: Mzansi National Philharmonic Orchestra Petition: Engagement with AGSA

Sport, Arts and Culture

21 February 2023
Chairperson: Ms B Dlulane (ANC), Ms R Adams (ANC) (Acting Chairperson)
Share this page:

Meeting Summary


The Portfolio Committee for Sports, Arts and Culture met to be briefed on a petition to investigate irregular expenditure of the Mzansi National Philharmonic Orchestra. This was at the request of the Office of the Speaker of the National Assembly. The Auditor-General of South Africa (AGSA) failed to provide the Committee with reports on its briefings, resulting in the meeting being postponed to a later, undetermined date.

The Office of the AGSA said due to key information missing from the National Arts Council (NAC) report, the investigation was still in process. NAC disclosed a subsequent R41 million in irregular expenditure, which raised further questions. The AGSA said the findings would be reported to the Committee once completed.

The Committee moved to conduct meetings in person going forward, on account of connectivity issues.

Meeting report

Chairperson Dlulane welcomed the Minister and Deputy Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture, as well as the Portfolio Committee.

She said the presentations by Mr T Mhlongo (DA) and the Auditor-General of South Africa (AGSA) had not been submitted. The presentations concerned the petition to investigate the commissioning of the Mzansi National Philharmonic Orchestra at an estimated cost of R54 million.

Mr Mhlongo found no issues with the agenda and moved for it to be adopted. He asked the AGSA to explain why it failed to provide a report on the expenditure of the Mzansi National Philharmonic Orchestra.

Mr M Zondi (ANC) asked why both presentations had not been submitted. He said the Committee policy required presentations to be provided to Members before the meeting. Members were unprepared for the deliberations and therefore, he did not support the agenda.

Ms R Adams (ANC) proposed these items be removed from the agenda before it could be adopted.

Mr B Madlingozi (EFF) agreed that the briefings should not take place because of the absent presentations. He felt the time could be better utilised.

Chairperson Dlulane highlighted the importance of the matter. She said it was a request from the Office of the Speaker of the National Assembly.

Ms D Sibiya (ANC) said Members had not received these presentations and were not able to do an internal audit on the matter. She supported the proposal for the items to be removed.

Ms V Malomane (ANC) said the two items were not compliant with the Committee policy. She approved the agenda on the condition these items be removed.

Mr D Joseph (DA) said the briefing by Mr Mhlongo was based on a petition referred to the Committee from the Speaker’s Office. Members had access to this petition.

On the briefing by the Office of the AGSA, he asked for a response on the last interaction with AGSA. He also asked for an explanation regarding why AGSA had not submitted a report.

Mr Mhlongo said Members had previously received the petition and the referral letter from the Speaker. As Members had these documents, he would simply present these matters in the meeting. In a previous meeting on the petition, the same procedure was followed and accepted by Members. His presentation had attached documents.

Mr Madlingozi said while Members had received the petition, Mr Mhlongo was supposed to issue a letter covering the contents of his briefing.

Mr Zondi said he could not support the agenda without the relevant documentation. On the petition, he said Members had previously discussed the matter. Members understood the matter must be discussed and were not trying to avoid it. He attributed the delay in the discussion to poor preparation.

Mr Mhlongo said Members who had not received the presentation previously must identify themselves to the Committee Secretary.

Chairperson Dlulane said the Committee Secretary told her Mr Mhlongo did not submit a presentation, and Ms V van Dyk (DA) had asked to present immediately after him. She noted concern with the secrecy around the presentation.

Mr Madlingozi asked for clarity regarding the comment about there being nothing to hide. He asked who the comment was targeted at and what was suggested was being hidden.  

Ms Van Dyk said she was sharing the presentation time with Mr Mhlongo. She was willing to give Members a presentation, provided a later date was set to cover the briefing.

Mr B Mamabolo (ANC) supported the proposal for the meeting to be covered later, with the required preparation.

Mr Mhlongo said he asked the Committee Secretary for previous processes on petitions. In a previous meeting on the petition, he had attached the same document and briefed Members during the meeting. He questioned why the processes for petitions was not standardised, and said Ms Van Dyk was meant to co-present on the matter. He also asked the Committee Secretary to confirm the points made.

Mr Zondi said other Members also had not received the presentation. The Chairperson is responsible for circulating presentations to Members, and since the Chairperson had not received it, clearly, other Members had not.

Chairperson Dlulane asked Ms Adams to serve as the Acting Chairperson because she had connectivity issues. 

Ms Sibiya supported the proposal to hold the briefings in another meeting.

The presentation said Mr Mhlongo and Ms Van Dyk must prepare minutes for Members based on the previous petition meeting and the purpose of the follow-up meeting.

Mr Mhlongo asked the Committee Secretary to speak on the procedure for presenting petitions. He asked the Committee Secretary to send out the minutes pertaining to the petition. His presentation was a verbal explanation of the petition.

Ms Malomane said the matter of briefings had come to a close as there was consensus it would be held on an alternative date with the requisite documents.

[chairperson Dlulane lost connectivity during the meeting]

Ms Malomane nominated Ms Adams to fulfil the role of Acting Chairperson.

Mr Mamabolo seconded the nomination.

Ms Adams accepted the nomination to serve as the Acting Chairperson. She concurred that the briefings would be held at another date, and with all the relevant documents.

Mr Joseph asked the Chairperson and administrative staff to report to Members a few days before the meeting regarding the stakeholders invited, if the presentations would take place, and any relevant obstacles. He supported the postponement and suggested it be held on 3 or 7 March 2023.

He noted disappointment because the meeting had not happened the way it was intended, and agreed there must be a singular process when briefing. The poor structure of the meeting hampered Members from fulfilling their mandate.

Mr Mhlongo received communication from the Committee Secretary saying all briefings for the day would be cancelled if his presentation was removed from the agenda. This was as all of it referenced the petition.  

Ms Van Dyk said she asked the AGSA for the presentation many times during the week leading up to the meeting, and asked why the AGSA would not be presenting documents in the meeting.

Chairperson Dlulane asked Members to hold physical meetings going forward. She said the meeting was at the request of the Speaker and would have to be addressed later because of its importance.

Co-chairperson Adams agreed a physical meeting should be held to hear the briefing by Mr Mhlongo and AGSA.

Mr Mhlongo noted the time wasted during the meeting, and said it was due to procedural issues with administration, not only connectivity. He asked Members not to waste more time, to avoid discussing the R54 million irregular expenditure. 

AGSA Remarks
Ms Mbali Tsotetsi, Deputy Business Unit Leader, AGSA, shared a letter explaining why AGSA could not share its presentation (see attached). The AGSA raised concerns in a 2022 report to the National Arts Council (NAC). The issue of possible irregular expenditure was not concluded at the time because of key information outstanding from the NAC.

The NAC subsequently disclosed R41 million as irregular expenditure, which was under investigation. The Office of the AGSA said it was currently gathering information from the Department. Upon receiving the large amounts of information, AGSA had many questions and asked for further information from the Department.

She assured the Committee that the AGSA would brief Members once the audits were completed, and said Chairperson Dlulane had requested AGSA’s presence in the current meeting.

Mr Zondi seconded the proposal for a physical meeting on the matter.

Mr Mhlongo asked for the letter from AGSA to be circulated to Members.

Mr Joseph asked for clarity about all meetings being held in-person the following week. He suggested Members with poor connectivity find areas where it would be conducive for communicating in the meeting.

Co-chairperson Adams said the Committee staff would finalise the meeting date and the way forward for all meetings.

Chairperson Dlulane assured Members accommodation would be made to enable physical meetings.

Mr Madlingozi seconded the proposal.

Co-chairperson Adams said it was unfortunate how the matter of the meeting was treated and these procedural issues would be ironed out for future meetings.

The meeting was adjourned.


Download as PDF

You can download this page as a PDF using your browser's print functionality. Click on the "Print" button below and select the "PDF" option under destinations/printers.

See detailed instructions for your browser here.

Share this page: