Postponed: Market Theatre 2021/22 Annual Report
Sports, Arts and Culture
03 March 2023
Chairperson: Ms B Dlulane (ANC)
The Portfolio Committee on Sport, Arts and Culture held a virtual meeting with the Market Theatre Council. This was the Committee’s first meeting with the Market Theatre Council. The purpose of this meeting was to have a briefing on the Theatre’s 2021/22 Annual Report. This was however postponed due to the absence of 11 Council members, with no apology tendered – only the chairperson and CEO were present despite knowing about the meeting since December of the previous year.
The Committee expressed its displeasure with the absence of the Council. They said having only two out of 11 Council board members present was unacceptable.
A Member suggested that the Committee attempt a different approach, seeing as current methods of communication with stakeholders and entities was ineffective. The Committee staff would have to resend the programme to all concerned stakeholders and entities to ensure that they are aware of upcoming meetings well in advance and use telephonic communication by staff of the Committee to the relevant delegation leaders prior to meetings to avoid absenteeism. The receipt of meeting links on the day of a meeting would not be a valid excuse for absence if members were notified of meetings through emails and other forms of communication wherein the dates of meetings were specified.
Members questioned the accountability of the absent members, seeing as the chairperson and the CEO of the Council could not account for their absence. The presentation, if allowed by the Committee, would be doubtful, because what was the certainty that the two present members would be able to represent a board of 11 people? A Member asked for a letter of accountability from the Council.
The chairperson of the Market Theatre Council took responsibility for the absence of Council members, despite not knowing the reasons for their absence.
The meeting would be postponed to a later date.
The Chairperson announced that the meeting was officially open.
The Committee noted apologies submitted by the Deputy Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture (DSAC), Ms Nocawe Mafu, who was unable to attend due to another engagement that clashed with this meeting, and the Deputy Director-General: Corporate Governance, Ms Mandisa Tshikwatamba who was travelling due to work-related commitments. There were no apologies accounted for the absence of Market Theatre Council members, with the announcement that the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the Council would soon be present for the meeting.
The Chairperson presented the agenda, and opened the floor to proposals for the adoption of agenda.
Mr M Zondi (ANC) proposed the adoption of the agenda, and was seconded by Ms R Adams (ANC).
Absence of Market Theatre Council
Mr T Mhlongo (DA) enquired about the number of Council members, and how many, out of the total, were present for the meeting, for recording purposes. This was the Market Theatre Council’s first meeting with the Committee.
The Chairperson granted the CEO of the Market Theatre Council, Ms Tshiamo Mokgadi, an opportunity to answer Mr T Mhlongo’s inquiry.
Ms Mokgadi announced that the only members of Council present were herself and the Council chairperson, Mr Phil Molefe. Ms Mokgadi further stated that there are 11 total Council members and that all other members were informed of the meeting but only received the virtual link on the morning of the meeting, meaning they would only attend if they did not have any other engagements.
The Chairperson expressed disappointment in the number of Council members that were absent, especially without apology.
Mr Mhlongo echoed the Chairperson’s disappointment, especially because this was the Council’s first meeting with the Portfolio Committee. He regarded Ms Mokgadi’s reasons as excuses because this was a repetition of what had happened in prior meetings. Mr Mhlongo asked that the respective department look into the issue and that more effective procedures be followed in the future when inviting Council members. The lack of accountability by the absent Council members was concerning, and it was not possible to have only two members make a presentation to the Committee. How was the Committee going to know about the Market Theatre Foundation and its purpose?
The Chairperson questioned the Council’s readiness to make a presentation before the Committee, considering that only two members were present. The Department was then asked to provide input, with the recognition that they were not responsible for the Council members’ attendance.
Dr Cynthia Khumalo, Deputy Director General: Arts and Culture Promotion, DSAC, stated that the invitation to the meeting was forwarded to all respective entities in time prior to the meeting, and that the Council’s management could possibly account for its members’ absence.
The Chairperson asked for suggestions on what to do moving forward, and opened the floor to the Committee’s suggestions.
Ms Adams stated that having only two out of 11 Council board members present was unacceptable. When faced with similar situations in the past, the Committee would excuse the respective entities’ members from the meeting, and reschedule for when they could all be present. Ms Adams suggested that the same be done today.
Mr D Joseph (DA) suggested that the Committee attempt a different approach, seeing as current methods of communication with stakeholders and entities was ineffective, and the programme for the term had already been adopted. The Committee staff would have to resend the programme to all concerned stakeholders and entities to ensure they are aware of upcoming meetings well in advance. Mr Joseph also suggested telephonic communication by staff of the Committee to the relevant delegation leaders prior to meetings to avoid absenteeism. The receipt of meeting links on the day of a meeting would not be a valid excuse for absence if members had been notified of meetings through emails and other forms of communication wherein the dates of meetings were specified.
The Chairperson made a correction to one of Mr Joseph’s suggestions, stating that the Committee forwards all invitations to DSAC in time, as confirmed by Dr Khumalo. DSAC then forwards these invitations, in advance, to the relevant entities. The Chairperson does, however, support Mr Joseph’s suggestion to use telephonic communication, to ensure the presence of all members. The Committee’s staff has done their job adequately. It was the Council’s responsibility to communicate with the Department, prior to the meeting, if they had any issues, since they have the Department’s contact details.
Mr Zondi supported the previous speakers’ suggestions. There was no need to be discussing the Council members’ absence. Mr Zondi questioned the accountability of the absent members, seeing as the chairperson and the CEO of the Council could not account for their absence. The presentation, if allowed by the Committee, would be doubtful to Mr Zondi, because what was the certainty that the two present members would be able to represent a board of 11 people?
Mr Zondi ended by placing the accountability for the Council members’ absence on the Council, and nobody else.
Ms D Sibiya (ANC) stated that it was evident that no more members of the Council would be attending the meeting and asked for a way forward.
Mr Mhlongo supported Ms Adams’s stance and stated that members of the Council did not take the Committee seriously, since only two out of 11 members were present. Mr Mhlongo asked for a letter of accountability from the Council.
Ms V Malomane (ANC) supported the previous speakers’ suggestion to make follow-ups on the members who were to attend meetings, and supported the decision to postpone the meeting.
The chairperson of the Market Theatre Council, Mr Molefe, took responsibility for the absence of Council members, despite not knowing the reasons for their absence. The Council members were informed of the meeting by the Department in December of the previous year, and a presentation had been prepared to be presented before the Committee. Mr Molefe said the report was ready to be presented, if possible, by himself and the CEO and extended apologies for the absence of Council members.
The Chairperson commended Mr Molefe’s honesty and humility. The Department should perhaps, in future, enforce much more effective measures to ensure consistent communication with the Council’s chairperson. It is possible that the Council failed because of ill-preparation, as this was their first meeting with the Committee. The Chairperson stated there would be a follow-up by the Committee to see when this meeting may be postponed.
The Chairperson accepted the Council’s apology and excused the Council and the DSAC from the meeting.
The Committee proceeded with other items on the agenda.
The Committee considered and adopted the minutes of 21 and 24 February 2023. Minor amendments were made to the second set of minutes.
Ms V Van Dyk (DA) enquired about responses that were expected from the CEO of Netball SA, a week before.
No answers were given, but the Committee noted this enquiry down, with the Chairperson reiterating the importance of action following the adoption of minutes.
The Chairperson stated that the Committee’s staff would follow up on the responses or lack thereof by the relevant entities, since communication has been made through emails.
Report of the Portfolio Committee on Sport, Arts and Culture on a petition received from Mr TW Mhlongo, MP, on behalf of artists and members of the public, calling on the Assembly to investigate the commissioning by the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture of the Mzansi National Philharmonic Orchestra at an estimated cost of R54 million
Mr Joseph enquired about the mention of the criminal justice system under the subheading of recommendations to be made by the Committee. Would the Committee have to wait for the outcomes of the criminal justice system to realise the allegations? Was the term “criminal justice system” used in the deliberations?
Further minor amendments were made.
The report was adopted.
The Chairperson asked that Members be mindful of others’ loadshedding, which may be a reason why the Committee may have to keep going back to minutes, despite them being adopted.
No related documents
Dlulane, Ms BN
Adams, Ms R C
Joseph, Mr D
Luthuli, Mr BN
Malomane, Ms VP
Mamabolo, Mr JB
Mhlongo, Mr TW
Mthethwa, Mr EN
Sibiya, Ms DP
Van Dyk, Ms V
Zondi, Mr MA
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