Department Budget: input from National Heritage Council, Umtata Community Arts Centre, Northern Flagship Institution

Arts and Culture

14 June 2004
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Meeting Summary

A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.

Meeting report

14 June 2004


Mrs M Njobe (ANC)

Documents handed out:

National Heritage Council Budget and outline of presentation
University of Transkei Department of African Languages
Northern Flagship Institution presentation
Umtata Community Arts & Centre

Documents referred to:
Budget Vote 14
White Paper of Arts and Culture Act of 1996
National Heritage Council business plan

The Committee heard budget presentations from three institutions, namely, the National Heritage Council (NHC), Umtata Community Arts Centre and the Northern Flagship Institution. Each of the organisations outlined their responsibilities and roles in the heritage sector. The main issue highlighted from each of the presentations was that there was not enough funding coming from the Department to enable the institutions to carry out their mandate. Furthermore there was duplication of activities in the sector. The South African Heritage Resource Agency (SAHRA), National Heritage Council and National Flagship Institution all deal with heritage issues. There was a need for greater clarity on what each organisation did and whether there was a need for the organisation. The consensus was that there is a need for a conference or at least discussions with the relevant organisations to bring greater clarity and efficient use of scarce resources.

The Chairperson announced that they had already had two days of hearing on budgets and that this meeting would be the last. She stressed it was important to have these hearings so that the Committee could find out if the stakeholders:
Were happy with the funds that they were being given.
To find out how these funds were being used.
To discover the constraints they experience in implementing the legislation that guides them.
To find out their proposals to the Committee that could help the heritage situation in general.

National Heritage Council submission
The National Heritage Council then gave its presentation. The team was made up of Mr S. Mancotywa (Acting Chief Executive Officer), Kholiwe Makhohliso (Chief Financial Officer), Denmark Tungwana (Board Member of the National Heritage Council) and Mr Vuyani Jarana (Chairman of the Nelson Mandela Museum). Mr Mancotywa noted that the National Heritage Council (NHC) is a young establishment having been established on 26 February 2004. The task for the organisation is onerous as they are charged with the duty of protecting heritage for future generations. The organisation is in the process of forging a strategy to promote the heritage of South Africa.

Looking at the scope and strategic trust of the organisation its mandate is to advise the Minister in national policy and heritage matters; investigate ways to repatriate South African objects that are abroad or with private individuals; ensure transformation in the heritage sector; popularise heritage and position the heritage sector so that is understood by society at large. It also acts as a lobby group to raise finances as the heritage sector is under funded.

The White Paper of 1996 stated that the role of the NHC is to ensure cohesion and integration of heritage. The White Paper states that there is fragmentation in the heritage sector; institutions were duplicating services because they did not know their role within the sector which resulted in an inefficient use of scarce resources.

There were currently 14 institutions under the NHC. They were in the process of streamlining the organisation as it is "bulky", for example the Board was made up of 31 members. The NHC was committed to investigating ways to ensure that the multidisciplinary functions of the NHC were represented efficiently.

He noted that one of the problems in the heritage sector was the lack of accessibility of museums and libraries in the rural areas and townships. Save for the Nelson Mandela Museum in Umtata there are no museums in the rural areas. Another issue was that there was no heritage policy that guides the country.

The activities of the NHC would result in integration at all levels; an opportunity for South Africa's heritage sector to engage the international community and linking the heritage sector with NEPAD and other crucial monetary organisations. They were in the process of planning a World Heritage Conference with UNESCO to achieve integration within the education context to ensure that young people appreciate their heritage. In 2005 heritage will be part of the education curriculum.

The NHC was still in its formative stages and they were going to engage in a process of consulting with the relevant stakeholders and hold public forums where people could bring forward their views on the needs for the preservation of heritage. These meetings would culminate in a Heritage Imbizo to be held in September.

Ms K Makhohliso (Chief Financial Officer) gave a brief breakdown of the NHC's budget. She spoke of the key areas of priority of funding for the year 2004. The organisation had just handed in its interim business plan to the Department of Arts and Culture last week so there could be changes in the figures but it was their hope that the Department of Arts and Culture would give them the money they had requested so that they could carry out their mandate. She however noted that the budget presentation was focused on start-up costs and operational needs.

Mr C Gololo (ANC) asked how the NHC arrived at their salary grading especially for the Chief Executive Officers, the Chief Director and those immediately below him.

Mr Jarana (Chairman of the Nelson Mandela Museum) responded that post grading had not been done as yet largely because job activities still needed to be defined in detail. The institution was still hiring people and once this was done the relevant people would be involved in the process of grading salaries.

Mr D Tungwana highlighted the fact that the Chief Executive Officer's salary was pegged at the level of Chief Director of Public Services.

Mr M Sonto (ANC) asked where the NHC fitted into the arts and culture family as he observed similarities between the NHC and the South African Heritage Resource Agency (SAHRA).

Mr Mancotywa said the NHC was a product of the White Paper on Arts and Culture of 1996. The South African Heritage Resource Agency, previously known as the National Monuments Council in the apartheid era. was an apartheid structure whose role was to conserve the tangible aspects of heritage, for example buildings. The NHCs' mandate was to achieve a balance between conservation and promotion. The NHC is involved in the coordination and preservation of heritage in its entirety. He recognised that there was an overlap between the NHC and SAHRA. The two organisations had spoken with the Department of Arts and Culture about this overlap and the Director for Legal Services in the Department of Arts and Culture was investigating these areas of overlap.

Mr Tungwana noted that SAHRA does not own the tangible and intangible assets; their role was to declare and conserve heritage sites. The NHC's job was overall coordination. He noted that the NHC was still a new organisation and that once everything was settled there would be greater clarity as to each organisation's role.

Mrs N Mbombo (ANC) asked Mr Mancotywa to explain the idea of intangible heritage that he had referred to in his presentation.

Mr Mancotywa said that intangible heritage referred to living heritage which included cultural history, rituals, performance, oral history, skills and techniques to name a few.

The Chairperson noted that DAC had allocated R21, 8m to the NHC, but the latter had budgeted for R27, 4m. She asked what the NHC would do if DAC allocated the lesser amount and how they would raise the difference. She also noted that the overlap between the NHC and the SARA was evident and she wanted to know how the two organisations planned on working together. She noted that as both organisations were established by legislation it was important to ensure that the organisations did not encroach on each other's mandates and that if a review of the legislation was necessary to clarify each organisation's mandate, the Committee would have to investigate.

Ms Makhohliso noted that the increase in the budget request came from costs incurred in holding workshops and consultative forums that NHC thought were imperative in its operations. They had fully motivated the need for more money in the business plan they had handed in to DAC.

Mr Mancotywa said that they were holding discussions with DAC for an increase in the money to be allocated to the NHC. In the event that they would not get the amount that the NHC had requested they would either go back to the drawing board or they would identify other sources of funding.

Professor I Mahomed (ANC) noted that the NHC was not allowed by the Public Finance Management Act to spend more than its allocation from the DAC.

Ms Makhohliso stated that it was true that they could not budget for a deficit. She did not believe that the figures given by the Department of Arts and Culture were realistic.

Mr Jarana noted that the NHC's budget was a budget of constructive engagement based on realistic needs. It was not final and if the Department did not give the required amount then they would have to review their budget.

The Chairperson noted that the NHC had already started functioning as they had been given R14million by DAC. She asked if these were interim funds and wanted to know which entities fell under the NHC. She also noted that one of the NHC's functions according to the White Paper was to transfer payments to institutions and projects under its remit. She asked if the NHC would start doing this at the end of the year and to whom they would be transferring the money. She also asked if the NHC had performed the activities they had said they would have by this time of the year.

Mr Mancotywa stated that the NHC had always been budgeted for by the Department of Arts and Culture but that the money was always used for other things. The Department of Arts and Culture had been assisting the NHC on a needs basis until they had formally complied with PFMA requirements. The funds that had been given thus far would be offset against any funds that the NHC would receive from the Department of Arts and Culture.

Referring to whether the NHC was on schedule, Mr Mancotywa noted that 80% of the work had been done and that the main outstanding issue was the filling of key posts.

Umtata Arts Centre submission
Mr Ntantiso opened by noting that the Umtata Community Arts Centre was part of the Provincial Arts Council. The Provincial Arts Council is made up of three centres (Tombo, Holy Cross, Umtata, Elungeni) and the activities of these centres are coordinated in Bisho where they are working on business plans and programmes for the centres to ensure that they are sustainable.

The main problem was funding, to date the Umtata Community Arts Centre had fifty rands in its bank account. The Department of Arts and Culture has deposited R200 000 to the District Municipality of the OR Tambo Council, but then the Centre could not access this money as the Provincial Department was still engaged in discussions with the District Municipality on policy matters of how the Arts Centres would be assisted by local government.

The Umtata Arts Centre needed R2 million which would cover the purchase of equipment and materials, among other things. The Centre was still existing because the artists were there as individuals and they were coordinated by the Centre. They are funded by the Provincial Arts Council as individuals to work on their crafts. The only place that assists the centre in its activities and gives it exposure to markets is the Nelson Mandela Museum and the Umtata Museum, which gives them space to exhibit their work.

He asked the Committee to help facilitate the grant of R2million for financial year 2004-2005 as this would ensure that the centre would be at a better level of sustainability for a longer period.

He noted that the Committee should look at supporting other structures, for example the Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC) held by the University of Transkei (UNITRA). This was a big festival and many people benefited from it. The University of Transkei had stated that it would require R3 million to host this event and fund the local artists.

Other issues affecting the artists was the fact that tourists only know the Tombo and Umtata Community Arts Centres. There are 2000 projects in the surrounding areas that have to come and showcase their products at these centres. There are no Arts Centres in the surrounding areas. There was a need for money to renovate the old centre and create more space. He noted that for the past four yeas there had been no grants coming to the Centre. All the money that the Centre had made came from performances and services rendered by the Centre to the private sector.

There was also an issue of space. The space that had been allocated for Fine Arts had been occupied by a squatter who was running a church. There was a need to address this matter urgently.

Finally, he noted that the SDI Festival held in 2003 had received a grant of R1.2million but only R200 000 of this went to the musicians so they had not benefited from this. There was a need for financial accountability. He also noted that there was a need to encourage partnerships between the Provincial Government and Local Municipalities. This was working very well in Tombo and so far this partnership had resulted in a manager being deployed at the Centre and there was adequate funding. This resulted in better management of the Centre.

Ms H Mpaka (ANC) asked how the FESTAC festival held by the University of Transkei related to the FESTAC being organised by Mr Malufane who was in the process of arranging festivities around the country.

Mr Ntantiso responded that he did not know Mr Malufane. The FESTAC that he had spoken of was one that was organised by the University of Transkei and it was the initiative of the Department of African Languages. It had been the brainchild of one of the lecturers at the university and now they wanted to revive the project.

Ms Mpaka (ANC) asked how the artists from the areas surrounding the Umatata Arts Centre found their way to the Centre. She wanted to know who was funding these artists' travel costs.

Mr Ntantiso said that because there were no Arts Centres in the surrounding areas some artists would come to the Umtata Arts Centre from time to time and others were permanently resident at the Centre. The Provincial Arts Council funds some of the artists' expenses.

Ms Mpaka (ANC) also wanted to know where the Tombo Art Centre was located.

Mr Ntantiso said that the Tombo Arts Centre was near Ports St John and it serviced about 235 artists and crafters from the Pondo area.

Ms Mpaka (ANC) asked whether the Centre has a market for its products or whether they waited on events like the Grahamstown National Arts Festival to market their goods.

Mr Ntantiso said that active engagement was necessary in terms of product development. They were fortunate to be close to the Nelson Mandela Museum which receives hundreds of visitors. He said that once the Centre starts operating normally, the Museum would include the Arts Centre in its brochure so that tourists could go there. This would give the Centre the exposure that it needed. There was a need for financial assistance to ensure that crafters produced quality goods if they were to be linked to the Museum.

Ms D Kohler-Barnard (DA) also asked Mr Ntantiso to clarify the position of the two FESTAC festivals that were being organised. She wanted to know who was responsible for the organisation of these festivals. She also queried the R200 000 that had been given to the artists at the SID festivities. She wanted to know how the money was spent and asked for transparency on financial matters.

Mr Ntantiso said that there were no documents available to give a breakdown of what the money for the SDI festival was used on. The Provincial Arts Council was present as an observer and they would be able to give information later as to what the funds were used for.

Ms Kohler-Barnard (DA) also asked Mr Ntantiso to produce a business plan that would give a breakdown of what the funds if given would be used on.

Mr L Greyling (ID) asked what plans the Centre had made to get products to local and export markets. He also noted that there was a need for intervention in the problems the Centre faced as explained by Mr Ntantiso.

Mr Ntantiso said that officers had been deployed to Centres to try and get the products to markets but these officers because they wanted more enticing packages for example telephone and cars they had refused to go to their respective Centres. Furthermore the people deployed were not skilled workers and they had no knowledge of the Arts Centres. There was a need for the intervention of the Arts Council to ensure that Centres get information of the relevant markets they could sell their goods. The Council also wanted to encourage cultural exchange programmes as there was an exchange programme running currently with Vermont in the USA where crafters in South Africa were sending their crafts. They were also looking into how they could mass-produce the crafts. They were looking to connect the crafters with other African crafters who had expertise in the area of mass production.

Mrs Mbombo (ANC) asked if Mr Ntantiso knew of the Arts Centre that was near the "Great Place". She said that people there did not know that it was an Arts Centre and what its use was in the community. She wanted to know what they could do to inform the people of its existence and empower them to look after it.

Mr Ntantiso said that he did not know of the centre that Mrs Mbombo was talking about. There was a Dwesa Centre however which no one seemed to be taking care of at the moment. He would go to the area however and see what the Provincial Arts Council could do.

Ms Mpaka (ANC) asked whether the budget breakdown was for the Centre or for the FESTAC festival. She also wanted to know if the Umtata Arts Centre and other Centres had taken the initiative of introducing themselves to tourism associations within their own districts and provinces.

Mr Ntantiso said that the budget was for the Umtata Arts Centre.

Ms Mpaka (ANC) asked whether the Centre was engaged in inter-province exchanges and furthermore whether by selling their products internationally South Africa would not be making itself vulnerable if proper structures were not put in place for example a database that would track the number of goods that had been exported and in what area of expertise they were from.

Mr Ntantiso said that the main support for the crafts was from the domestic market. They had participated in exhibitions in Johannesburg and in Durban. They were in the process of trying to link up with the new Shakaland in Durban to try and get a market where they can sell their products. He noted that they first had to have a reliable production system going before they could do this.

As to the control measures that Ms Mpaka had referred to they had not looked into this and they would need advice on what control measures would be effective.

National Flagship Institution submission
Mr Makolo, Chief Executive Officer of the National Flagship Institution gave the presentation. He said that the National Flagship Institution (NFI) was established under the Cultural Institutions Act of 1998. The NFI consists of three national museums, which were amalgamated on 1 April 1999. There were however other museums which fell under the NFI umbrella, for example the Transvaal Museum and the Museum of Military History to name a few.

The NFI had a staff component of 260 people. Their vision was to have a world-class institution that instils pride and enthusiasm in South Africa's cultural and natural heritage. Their mission is to ensure sustainable management and development of South Africa's heritage for the benefit of present and future generations.

Mr Makolo had been appointed the CEO of NFI in October 2003 and when he stepped into office he noted that the organisation was facing serious problems.

The organisation was established in 1999 but there was no permanent Chief Executive Officer until his appointment in 2003. The current council had been appointed in 2003, and the Chief Financial Officer had only recently been appointed. There was no stability and no direction in the organisation. The human resource problem had crippled the organisation and prevented it from carrying out its mandate. There was no marketing and communication strategy, which would publicise the organisation and draw people to museums. There was a need, therefore, for a professional marketing person.

He also noted that another big problem area was skills development. There was a huge discrepancy in skills between top management and the lower ranks. The people that held unskilled jobs were mainly black and those in top management positions were white. There was a huge problem in terms of initiating skills development in the organisation, as some of the workers were not literate. The organisation was nonetheless looking into how they could develop their employees' skills.

Retention of staff was another key issue as the salaries the employees were receiving were very low compared to other institutions. The salary grading system thus far was arbitrary. This made it difficult to retain good staff as people left as soon as better offers were received. The NFI was looking into going to universities and identifying people who would be interested to come and work in museums and get them to come and be interns at the museums during holidays. He hoped this would generate a pool of interested young people in the industry.

He noted that in the current budget for 2003-2004, the NFI was spending 88% of its budget on personnel and the other 12% on operations. Mr Makolo said that the Department of Arts and Culture had been giving the NFI funds without looking into what the NFI's real needs were. He asked the Committee to raise this issue with the Department, so that the Department would meet the needs of the institution.

On a positive note, there was R840 000 that NFI had been given by the Department for transformation. One of the major transformation efforts was to change the names of the NFI and the Transvaal Museum as the names were misleading and did not do anything to market these institutions. A new corporate image was necessary and they had engaged the services of a company to come up with new names and they hoped to have new names by November 2004.

The other transformation that the NFI was undertaking was to change the collections in the museums. The museums had been showcasing the same things for the past couple of years and it was time to transform the collections. R4 million has been set side for this.

The institution was also engaged in projects with other countries, and was for example, training eight persons from Tanzania in heritage conservation.

Mr Gololo (ANC) asked who was funding the training of the Tanzanians.

Mr Makolo said the funding was coming from SIDA. The NFI was also charging them for the training and this was a way of fundraising.

Ms Mpaka (ANC) asked what outreach programmes the NFI had and what the communities' response was to these outreach programmes.

Mr Makolo said they were trying to get children in the rural areas to come to museums and see the setting of a museum and get accustomed to it. They were also helping other museums around the country to be sustainable institutions.

Ms Mpaka (ANC) asked what learnership programmes the NFI had in place to encourage students to study in the relevant fields.

Mr Makolo said once the students had been trained they would look for funding from the Government so that they could absorb them into the organisation in the long run. There was a need for a proper development plan.

Ms Mpaka(ANC) asked who was training the Tanzanians since Mr Makolo had said that they had a human capital problem.

Mr Makolo said the training was "in situ" training. They would be trained as the workers went about their daily duties.

Mrs Mbombo noted that Mr Makolo said they would be going to universities to look for future employees. She said that there was a huge pool of unemployed graduates and asked if they were trying to use them as well.

Mr Makolo said they had not looked into that specifically but the plan was to identify people who could work in the heritage sector. There was a need to get motivated young people at the end of the day because this was a highly specialised area.

Mr Sonto (ANC) asked what research had been done into the preservation of indigenous flora and what "indigenous flora" entailed.

Mr Makolo said that in terms of indigenous flora they were only engaged in generic research for the moment.

Mr Sonto (ANC) asked whether relocating artefacts would not result in a clash with the conservation mandate the NFI had been given.

Mr Makolo said that conservation was the core business of the institution but what they were trying to do was to contextualise the exhibitions. They wanted to present artefacts that had not been seen by the public before.

Mr Sonto (ANC) asked how the NFI was linked to the National Heritage Council.

Mr Makolo said there was a need for a conference that would define the roles of each organisation and prevent overlapping. The National Heritage Council's role was advisory whereas they worked solely with museums.

The meeting was adjourned.



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