Medium Term Expenditure Framework 2005/6: briefing by Department

Arts and Culture

16 November 2004
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Meeting report


16 November 2004

Mr S Tsenoli (ANC)

Documents handed out:


Presentation on Medium Term Expenditure Framework 2005/6

Department of Arts and Culture website:

The Department of Arts and Culture briefed the Committee on the planned Medium Term Expenditure Framework for 2005/6. The Committee was not satisfied with the absence of evaluative comments next to projected expenditures in the presentation document nor did it provide adjustments to the estimates nor account for the expenditures of last year's budget.

Funding was extremely short of target for co-ordinating the World Heritage Meeting in South Africa next year. Heritage institutions, such as the Nelson Mandela and Albert Luthuli Museums, had complained to the Department of inadequate funds. The Department reported that unexpended but contracted funds on the Freedom Park project would roll over into the next financial year. Other issues raised was the financing for National Language Services and the Mass Participation programme, specifically the community arts centres.

The Chair concluded that question marks hung over the relationship between the Department and its public entities; the expenditure patterns of institutions and the Department's evaluation of their performances; the sustainability of Heritage Month over three years; and the view of the Department whether the total budget allocation was sufficient to fulfil its functions.

The Department delegation consisted of Ms T Cetsebe: Chief Financial Officer; Mr J Kwadi: Chief of Operations; Mr J Van Zyl: Director, Financial Management; and Ms X Dondashe: Parliamentary Officer. Ms Cetsebe briefed the Committee on the Department submission (see attached document).

The Chairperson asked if the Department was satisfied with the pace of budget expenditure (2003/4) as of September. How had the Department managed with upgrading staff since becoming independent from Science and Technology? The document contained no evaluative discourse, how was the Committee expected to defend the budget to Parliament without mitigating information? What challenges to budget implementation could the Department report?

Ms Cetsebe replied that expenditure in the current financial year had been hampered only in respect of Poverty Alleviation and the Freedom Park project. Freedom Park funds were to be rolled over to next year, because of unfulfilled contracts, which had to wait the completion of phase one development.

Mr Van Zyl responded that staff additions had risen steadily but not unmanageably since 2000/01.

Mr Kwadi replied that the Department was often unable to respond to requests from institutions for more funding. The Nelson Mandela and Albert Luthuli Heritage Museums reported inadequate funds to carry out their functions efficiently. A key challenge to the Department was to maintain Robben Island at the level of a World Heritage Site.

Mr B Zulu (ANC) and Mr S Siboza (ANC) were perturbed that budget expenditures were not included in the document. Ms Cetsebe assured them that these would appear in the annual report.

Ms Van De Walt (DA) asked the Department to explain the various stages and documentation for submitting budgets to Parliament. Members could not be expected to know which Document accounted for which stage of the process. She added that she would not support this submission until the Department could provide evidence that justified it. What was the breakdown of Ministerial and Administration programme costs that totalled R52million? The condition of municipal libraries was unacceptable; the R33 million allocated to libraries should go into upgrading these libraries first?

Mr Van Zyl explained the budget cycle in terms of the planned MTEF, the adjusted estimate budget, and the expenditure budget of the previous financial year. The document before the Committee was the planned MTEF for 2005/6, which did not factor adjusted estimates, nor expenditures of the 2004/5 budget. Ms Cetsebe added that this budget contained no adjustments except for 6% increases to salaries, as was the standard.

Mr M R Sonto (ANC, Western Cape) wondered which public entities were being targeted by the MTEF. He noted that an allocation of 6% of the total budget to the National Language Service (NLS) was surprisingly low, bearing in mind that it was a chief objective of the African Renaissance. What explained this allocation, and greater allocation to other items? Within the NLS nearly R29 million was budgeted for Language Planning and Development, and only R7 million for Translating and Editing. How did the Department explain this disparity?

Mr Kwadi replied that implementation of the NLS was not solely the responsibility of the Department. Provincial and Municipal Government also had a duty to roll out the respective policies and fitting the costs. Last year the Department had questioned the distinction of PANSALB and the NLS. There was speculation whether the NLS should be part of this Department at all, and if the Department should revisit legislation on PANSALB to interrogate the role and scope of the programme.

Ms D Motubatse asked for clarification over the different levels of spending on the NLS. How was the PANSALB project integrated into the NLS? How had the split from Science and Technology impacted on Arts and Culture?

Ms Cetsebe answered that the previous year the Department had requested additional funds from the National Treasury for the NLS, at which it appeared there was confusion over the functions of the NLS and PANSALB. This year the NLS did not request additional funds though PANSALB had.

Mr Kwadi replied that Arts and Culture had previously shared administration and infrastructure costs with Science and Technology. The new Ministry was created with a zero-based budget. In accordance with the Minister's Handbook the Department created 16 new staff positions to serve the Minister and his Deputy, with extremely limited funds.

Mr. C Gololo (ANC) wanted the Department to elaborate on the roll over funds that had proceeded from the Freedom Park programme.

Ms Kohler-Barnard (DA) recalled the Director General's meeting with the Committee last week, at which he complained about the difficulty to secure funds to organise the World Heritage Meeting, to be hosted by South Africa next year. Was it additional funds that the DG had requested from the National Treasury or was it funds refused by the Department? Secondly, how would allocation of R359 million to 'Mass Participation in Arts and Culture' be implemented?

Mr Kwadi responded that the Mass Participation programme had envisaged community arts centres, but maintenance of these centres had proved challenging. The provinces and municipalities had not assisted with the programme as had been expected, claiming that it fell outside their mandate. A major challenge was facing the Department to ensure the sustainable operations of these centres.

Ms Cetsebe replied that Cabinet had approved the Department's strategy for the World Heritage Meeting but National Treasury had permitted only R5 million of the R55 million additional funding requested for it. This was the problem facing the DG, who had to try and raise the remaining funds somehow.

The Chairperson noted R165 million allocated to 'Cultural Development and International Co-operation.' Given that the department was new, and working to a three-year plan, how did it foresee growth in this area? He could not accept that the Department could not evidence their answers. Question marks hung over the relationship between the Department and Public Entities; the expenditure patterns of institutions and the Department's evaluation of their performances; the sustainability of Heritage Month over three years; and the view of the Department whether the total budget allocation was sufficient to fulfil its functions.

The meeting was adjourned.



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