Arts, Culture, Science & Technology: Budget & Programmes for 2001; National Council for Library & Information Services Bill: br

Meeting Summary

A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.

Meeting report


7 March 2001

Chairperson: Mr Kgware

Relevant Documents:
National Council for Libraries and Information Services Bill [B44-00]
Cultural Laws Amendment Bill [B45-00]
Cultural Laws Second Amendment Bill [B46-00]
Legislative programme (see Appendix)
Arts and Culture Budget: Vote 13

The need for funding for libraries became evident from the discussion. The cause of the problem is the constitutional provision which states that libraries are the responsibility of the provincial governments. However provinces lack the funding to deal with them.

As the Portfolio Committee is still discussing the amendments to the Cultural Laws Amendment Bill, the Select Committee could not deal with these yet.

In their budget presentation, the Department discussed the estimated expenditure in the areas of Arts and Culture, Science and Technology, National Archives and National Language Services and the priorities of each programme. A legislative programme for 2001 was also distributed.

The Chair stated that the National Council for Libraries and Information Services Bill should take priority, as it will be passed on the 27 March. Director General, Dr Rob Adam, noted that the Cultural Laws Bills would be looked at only briefly as they are still in the process of undergoing changes in the National Assembly.

National Council for Libraries and Information Services Bill
Ms R Cillie (Chief of Meta-Information) stated that the framework for the provision of Library Services can be found in Schedule Five of the Constitution. Libraries other than National Libraries are now a provincial competence. The functioning of the Council should be seen against this background and it should be stressed that its functioning is merely advisory.

The Minister has the mechanisms with which to deal with the different spheres of government. At a provincial level, the advice is tabled at MINMEC. This applies to the Department of Arts and Culture but will also apply to the Department of Education and Recreation if the issue affects school and university libraries as well. The Council’s function is therefore to advise both Ministers.

Ms Cillie then briefly read the following clauses: Clause 3 (Objects of Council), clause 4 (functions of Council), clause 5 (composition of council), clause 6 (Chairperson and vice-chairperson), clause 7 (nomination procedure), clause 8 (criteria for membership of council), clause 9 (tenure and vacation of office of members of council), clause 10 (meetings of council), clause 11(committees of council), clause 12 (secretary and staff), clause13 (finances) and clause 14 (annual report).

The Director General added the first issue that will come before the Council deals with the constitutional provision that services of libraries and museums are the responsibility of the provincial government and not the local government. This actually amounts to the reversal of the status quo as local government spends thrice the amount on libraries that provincial governments do. Local governments have now seized this opportunity to end their involvement in libraries. The problem however is that provincial governments do not have the money to deal with libraries. He stated that the Council is going to need ‘solid’ advice in this regard as this situation poses a serious threat to provincial and local libraries. It is therefore evident that the Council is not just a body dealing with ineffectual matters.

Ms F Mazibuko (ANC-Gauteng) asked whether any of the budget had been allocated to the provinces.

The DG replied that the Department had asked for a conditional grant as a short-term measure, but this request had been denied. The National Treasury was of the opinion that the provincial treasuries could fund libraries from their equitable share.

Ms Mazibuko asked what say the provinces have in the Council or if the Councils also exist at provincial level.

The DG stated that the Council was a national body whose function it is to advise the national ministers. MINMEC already serves as a sub-committee representing the provinces. Representing the provinces on the Council as well would therefore amount to duplication.

The DG said that apart from the need to upgrade the existing infrastructure, there is also a need for new libraries.

Ms Cillie stated that CONECI Corporation in the US has given South Africa funding for the establishment of libraries. The current president of the corporation is interested in making further funding available on the condition that it funds new services i.e. the establishment of new libraries. The guidance and technical support provided as part of the project will be ongoing. She estimated that approximately R80m would be made available for Library Services. The final decision as to which provinces get the money will be made in June this year.

Mr K Panday (IFP-KZN) asked if the Municipal Structures Act conflicts with the Constitution.

The DG said that the Act did not conflict with the Constitution. The constitutional provision just made things more difficult.

The Chair stated that the question of funding was very important. Since they were dealing with a S75 Bill they should, as a Select Committee, be able to influence the debate.

Mr Beukes (Law Advisor) stated that it was important to remember that the Council is a separate body whose only purpose is to give advice and not disseminate funding. He then read the Memorandum of the Bill. Thereafter he discussed Clause 13 which he said referred merely to in-house expenses and that the body would not fund other institutions.

Mr Panday asked whether it was a policy decision of the National Assembly or the NCOP to publish the Bill only in English and Afrikaans. Mr Beukes responded that these languages were chosen in order to comply with the constitutional requirement that legislation should be published in two official languages. He stated that they were looking at translating legislation into four official languages in future.

Cultural Laws Amendment Bill
Mr Beukes said that this is an S75 Bill and he referred to the Memorandum which outlines the legislation being amended by this Bill. These include amendments to the Heraldry Act, 1962; the Pan South African Languages Board Act, 1995; the National Arts Council Act, 1997; the National Archives of South Africa Act, 1996; the National Arts Council Act, 1997; the National Film and Video Foundation Act, 1997; and the South African Geographical Names Council Act, 1998.

He noted that the Portfolio Committee is still discussing this Bill. The amendments resulting from these discussions will then be presented to the Select Committee for further input.

Ms Mazibuko suggested that the Committee should deal with some of the amendments being discussed by the Portfolio Committee immediately.

Mr Beukes said that this was not possible, as the Portfolio Committee has not yet voted on the amendments. He preferred to come to the Select Committee with a full set of amendments.

Ms Mazibuko wanted the Department to give the Committee a briefing on the amendments and not necessarily get involved in a discussion.

The Chair agreed with Mr Beukes that it would be best not to pre-empt what the Portfolio Committee would decide.

The DG noted with regard to Boards generally, that members wanted some kind of honoraria. This was not because they wanted to get rich by serving on the Board. One has to take into account the fact that some board members own businesses and often need to take time off these businesses as they serve on more than one board. He therefore proposed that board members should be paid approximately R1000 per meeting. Since there are usually only four meetings per year, this amount could hardly be regarded as being exorbitant.

Cultural Laws Second Amendment Bill
It was briefly noted that this is an S76 bill which amends the Cultural Institutions Act, 1998 and the National Heritage Council Act, 1999.

Budget Presentation
The DG said presenting the budget is very complex. This is because very different functions - archives, science and technology, arts and culture, libraries - all have to be incorporated. The cluster system used by government has been very useful.

He dealt briefly with the corporate goals - diversity, empowerment, economic growth and social development – and mentioned the instruments by which these goals would be achieved.

In dealing with the estimate of the expenditure of the Department, the presentation was broken down as follows: 90.37% of the Funds are allocated to Transfer payments and the remaining 9.63% to National departmental expenses.

The catastrophe of the closure of the state theatres was due to the Chief Executive Officer and other officials misdirecting funds. The DG explained that this money had come from his department’s budget. Thus, the responsibility of the Chief Financial Officer will be to set ‘an early warning system’ in institutions receiving payments.

The question as to how funds are accessed is complex. Some councils and bodies falling under areas such as Arts and Culture or Science and Technology are in this department’s budget, while others fall under other departments’ budgets.

Arts and Culture Programme
This programme includes items such as declared Cultural Institutions, Conservation Bodies, Promotion of Arts and Culture in SA, National Arts Council, SA Geographical Names Council, Capital Works and Administration. The total expenditure will be R362 577 000.

The Department has tried to encourage the private sector to get involved in the funding of the Arts institutions. The Arts and Culture programme focuses on encouraging the private sector to match contributions made by the Department.

The Department has also adopted a poverty relief programme in terms of which arts and crafts serve as a source of income for the poor.

With regard to the promotion of Arts and Culture internationally, the Department received much less from the Treasury than requested. The amount that they have to work with is insufficient because the work in this area is becoming increasingly important as other countries are showing interest in South African arts and culture.

The amount needed for legacy projects has decreased as much of this work has already been completed. The Department will however need more funds for the Freedom Park project.

National Archives of South Africa Programme
The budget may have to be increased over the next few years. The DG expressed the view that the functions of archives should be extended to monitoring information.

National Language Services Programme
More than one half of this budget is allocated to the Pan South African Language Board (PANSALB). The Department is looking at finding ways for this body to fund itself.

The focus on National Terminology is particularly important as the absence of terminology means that a concept cannot be expressed. One of the EU successes has been the application of technology to translation and education. The use of automated methods is vital but not possible in SA at this stage due to the lack of terminology.

Science, Technology and Meta-Information Programme
Sixty per cent of this Budget has been allocated to Science. Prior to 1994 the focus of Science had been on military dominance and national food security. Presently the focus is on globalisation and the quality of life. Research in the area of quality of life has been very successful.

The Department will give between R1m and R5m to technology. The funding would not be made to one particular organisation but to a consortium of organisations. The condition would be that they work together and present one proposal on a particular problem.

With regard to their priority goals, the promotion of technology transfer and diffusion for economic growth is particularly important. They would, for example, work with SADC countries. There would also be work with NASA to monitor issues like how a bush fire in Angola affects the pollution levels in South Africa.

The Department has been asked to develop a biotechnology strategy by the end of June. The concept of genetic modification could be examined as a possible solution to underdevelopment, even if it is not adopted.

Ms Mazibuko asked whether any of the transfer payments referred to have been allocated to the provinces.

The DG said that the conditional grants had not been given. Some of the funds allocated to the archives have devolved to the provinces. This is however not a general trend.

Ms Mazibuko asked what the Declared Cultural Institutions are.

The DG stated that these have been gazetted by the Minister as being Declared Cultural Institutions.

Ms Mazibuko asked what PANSALB was doing to entitle them to such a huge chunk of the budget.

The DG said that it has a wide range of functions, two of which are research and language development. They are also mandated to perform various functions, which the Department had performed but had never been mandated to do.

Ms Mazibuko noted that the panel of department officials consisted of four whites and two blacks of whom one was female and five were male. She was concerned that this was how the Department was constituted.

The DG referred to the document dealing with the transformation of the Department. Although the Department had not had time to talk to this document, it was clear from statistics given that the Department had more than met the requirements as to representivity at both management and other levels.

A committee member (ANC-KZN) asked how the Department ensures that Councils like PANSALB serve the interests of the people on the ground so that those from historically disadvantaged communities in particular can also benefit.

The DG replied that there is a formal system of monitoring. With regard to management, there are key performance indicators. The councils also have to submit annual reports, business plans and information on their budget. He however admitted that their system of monitoring is not ideal. Unfortunately one could just trust that the people on the Councils are implementing the Minister’s wishes.

The Chair asked whether Arts and Culture is working with the tourism industry and recommended an integrated approach in this regard.

The DG stated that bodies dealing with tourism and culture, which have a very strong connection, work very closely. This was evident in the Robben Island and Nelson Mandela Museum projects. Although the National Symphony Orchestra had never been the responsibility of this Department, they have always dealt with it. The private sector had criticised the Department most severely at the ending of the Orchestra. The Department is however inviting the private sector to ‘come to the party’ and make their contributions.

Another Department official referred to the new focus of the Department with regard to cultural institutions. Previously the practice had been to ‘bus’ people to the institution and then back home. This ‘bussing’ of large numbers of people was then reflected on the attendance register of an institution. Large groups of people had therefore come to view exhibits to which they were unable to relate. The Department has therefore started an outreach programme in terms of which exhibits would be introduced to people. The Budget had previously not enabled the Department to make such purchases.

The Chair suggested that the Department create the climate for events that would encourage nation building at the level of the children.

The Department official agreed to this proposal and stated that there are already projects with the Khoi and San groupings in the Northern Cape.

The meeting was adjourned.

Legislation to be submitted to Parliament in 2001:
Cultural Laws Amendment Bill and Cultural Laws Second Amendment Bill: Amending the Cultural Laws to bring the legislation in line with new Government policy and more effective service delivery.

Natural Scientific Professions Bill: To transform the natural scientific professions Council in line with Government policy and more effective service delivery.

The Science Academy of South Africa Bill: To establish a Science Academy of South Africa for the better co-ordination of the various science disciplines and for more effective service delivery.

The Africa Institute Bill:
To transform the Africa Institute for better co-ordination of research on African affairs and for more effective service delivery.

Indigenous Knowledge Systems Bill: To establish regulatory mechanisms for the protection of IK.

The Institute for the Promotion of Science Bill: To transform the current Foundation for Education, Science and Technology for better co-ordination of science activities and service delivery.

National Advisory Council on Library Information Services Bill:
To establish a council to advise the Minister on the better co-ordination of Library Information Services.

The National Museums Bill: To transform the Museum system to accommodate a system of National Museums separate from the current Cultural Institutions systems.

The Science Laws Amendment Bill: To amend the National Research Foundation Act, the National Advisory Council on Innovation Act and the Legal Deposit Act.

South African Language Bill: To
establish a national language policy and plan for the use of all the official languages.

(SA) Language Practitioners Council Bill: To establish a professional body for regulating and protecting language practitioners.


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