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ARTS AND CULTURE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
24 October 2006
DEPARTMENT; BUSINESS AND ARTS SOUTH AFRICA AND NATIONAL ARCHIVES ADVISORY COUNCIL 2006 ANNUAL REPORTS: BRIEFINGS
Chairperson: Mr M Sonto (ANC)
Documents handed out:
Annual Report of the Department of Arts and Culture, 2005/2006: presentation
Annual Report 2005/2006: Presentation to the Portfolio Committee based on the Department’s Performance Report
Annual Report of the Department of Arts and Culture, 2005/2006 [available later at www.dac.gov.za]
Annual Report of Business and Arts South Africa, 2006
The Committee was presented with the annual reports and financial statements of the Department of Arts and Culture and Business and Arts South Africa. The National Archives Advisory Council was unable to provide a report as it had encountered various challenges and disputes, which it communicated to the Committee. The annual reports of the Department of Arts and Culture and Business and Arts South Africa primarily detailed their performance and an overview of the financial statements.
The Committee agreed that both parties to the disputes in the Council would provide their cases in writing before the end of the parliamentary session on 16 November. Members also questioned why the Department was not making any progress in reviewing old legislation and providing new legislation for multilingualism; the state of cultural centers and about support for indigenous language writers.
The Chairperson, Mr M Sonto (ANC), noted apologies from Mr H Maluleka (ANC) who was in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Annual Report of the Department of Arts and Culture, 2005/2006: presentation
Prof I Mosala, Director-General of the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC), presented the annual report on behalf of the department. His discussion primarily detailed the programme performance and the financial report of the DAC. Prof Mosala placed particular emphasis on the Vision and Mission Statement of the DAC. The primary objective of the DAC was the development and preservation of arts and culture through the promotion of national and social cohesion. He further provided an account of the programme performance of the DAC in the following areas: Administrative and Corporate Services; Arts and Culture; National Language Services; Cultural Development and International Cooperation; Heritage Promotion; National Archives, Records, Meta Information and Heraldry Services. It was further emphasised that the DAC had been exposing national artists abroad and was also engaged in a Policy Review Process.
Prof Mosala provided details of the financial statements of the DAC, noting particularly that the DAC had adhered to the under-spending guidelines of the National Treasury. Furthermore, the DAC had received an unqualified audit report. However, the Auditor General had issued “emphasis of matter” in the following areas: asset management; supply chain management and the validity of non-financial performance information. Prof Mosala emphasised that the latter issue referred to the absence of a single quarter’s financial reports due to the absence of a Chief Operations Officer.
Ms D Van der Walt (DA) mentioned that she had written to the Minister regarding the language and culture issue. The particular matter, which she spoke of, was that it was often Afrikaans-speaking people who utilised the platforms to express concerns regarding language and culture issues. Ms Van der Walt questioned whether or nor other cultural groups were aware of the forums available to them.
Dr N Mgijima (Chief Director: National Language Service) replied that this matter related to the Commission for the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL) under the Department of Provincial and Local Government. That is was predominantly Afrikaans speakers who utilised this platform she described as a phenomenon. Dr Mgijima stated that she was uncertain as to the reasons why other cultural groups were not being reached. She added that there was research being conducted into this matter as there were certain indications of a shift towards preference for the English language amongst more people.
Ms Van der Walt raised the matter of the National Lottery forms being published only in English. She further expressed concern that the O R Tambo signage in the name changes initiative had in fact been misspelled.
Prof Mosala replied that both matters raised would be taken up by the DAC.
Ms Van der Walt further noted the Committee had not received any legislative proposals or Bills from the DAC for some time. She enquired when the DAC anticipates it will be amending or revisiting legislation.
Mr Themba Wakashe (Deputy Director-General: Heritage and National Archives) replied that the delay in amending legislation had occurred due to the Policy Review Process being undertaken by the DAC. As the recommendations of the process would impact on the legislation, it was decided to complete it prior to legislative amendments. He added that the DAC had been interacting with a service provider that is in the process of reviewing 18 pieces of legislation. The service provider is due to provide a report to the DAC next month.
Ms Van der Walt further expressed her concerns regarding the “emphasis of matter” items from the report of the Auditor General. She advised that the DAC should ensure that such issues are rectified. She commented that the Community Arts Centres which the DAC had initiated were not successful in all areas of the country.
Mr M Matlala (ANC) questioned whether or not the DAC has a programme that is planned beyond 2010.
Ms N Mbombo (ANC) commented on the state of some Community Arts Centres, citing the Eastern Cape as a specific example. She asked why it is that some are well equipped and others are constructed well, but the people for whom they are supposed to cater do not have activities that they can undertake. Such people are thus left to themselves, without education or facilities. Ms Mbombo questioned specifically the Education Training Models that are being used and stated that they are not being applied where they are most needed.
Mr B Zulu (ANC) asked why it is that the Community Arts Centres are found in only three provinces when there are in fact nine provinces.
Ms R Mangope (Chief Director: Arts, Social Development and Youth) replied that it is in fact the donors of the initiative that select where funds are allocated. Furthermore, she emphasised that the Arts Centres had been a pilot project. There were two educational models that were being applied: one in arts education and training targeting schools; the other aimed at training artists with skills and capacitating them. The latter involved the provinces. However, it remains to be clarified as to whose constitutional mandate it is to support the Training Centres.
Mr Zulu commented that funding should be given to people to assist them in providing the services that they are skilled to provide. With regard to book publishing, Mr Zulu questioned the reasons behind the lack of books published in local languages.
Mr T Motsepe (DAC Chief Director) replied that the problem was that books are largely published internationally. However, research is being done into the possibility of local publishing activities.
The Chair enquired into the matter of the National Lottery and whether or not members of the public understood the reasons if they are disqualified from the process.
The Chair further asked how the DAC intends to ensure that less emphasis is placed on the use of the English language and instead towards the use of indigenous languages.
Prof Mosala replied that the DAC had proposed legislation on multilingualism, but it had been rejected by the Cabinet. Instead, the Cabinet had advised the DAC to follow a route that would not require legislation in effecting a policy of multilingualism. The issue raised by the Cabinet was that the country would not have the capacity to ensure that the legislation is a useful tool.
The Chair commented that it appears as though the Cabinet was scared to challenge the status quo. He advised that the Committee should pursue the matter of multilingualism legislation to ensure that transformation objectives are achieved.
Dr Mgijima stated in response that there is an effort being made into the redress of this matter. The issue at hand is that of legislating multilingualism in South Africa. Furthermore, resources are a major constraint. She provided an example of the translation service being offered by the DAC that is suffering from a lack of capacity. Dr Mgijima stressed the importance of revisiting the strategy adopted for multilingualism and effecting legislation in this regard.
The Chair enquired into the approach used by the DAC to encourage local writers to write in indigenous languages.
Mr Motsepe replied that the Book Policy of the DAC would address this matter as there has been much engagement with writers nationally. Furthermore, there would be a roll-out of consultations to implement the Policy Review of indigenous languages.
The Chair mentioned that he had visited the Eastern Cape Province and there had seemed to be only one library in the Mdantsane region. He had noted that the library had mostly old, irrelevant materials and questioned the DAC on what they would do about this.
Dr G Duminy (Chief Director: National Archives of South Africa) replied that the DAC was engaged in the matter and a proposal had been put forward for a pilot of a new type of library to be offered around the country. These libraries will include facilities for the blind and handicapped.
Ms Van der Walt added that the problems with libraries have been battled since the 1990s. She noted that the libraries in the rural areas are a major challenge as children require certain facilities that they do not have access to in their households. Ms Van der Walt stated that one cannot expect people to learn how to read if the material is not offered in their own languages. She added that the concept of mobile libraries is not effective.
Mr J Maake (ANC) asked what the relationship was between the DAC and the provinces on geographical name changes.
Mr V Ndima (Chief Director: Heritage) replied that there are challenges that arise in provincial committees involved in the changing of names as there is an absence of secretariats at that level. As the South African Geographical Names Committee relies on their information, the current Policy Review Process is addressing this matter to ensure that name changes are fast-tracked.
Mr Maake commented that the matter of donors of the Community Arts Centres determining the allocation of funding is an issue as it alters the course of the roll-out process. Furthermore, as there is a lack of standardisation in the structure and processes of the Community Arts Centres in provinces, the outcome is that they differ substantially.
Mr Maake added, with regard to libraries, that there is a backlog of facilities to the extent that one finds computers that use the old floppy disks.
Dr Duminy said that Treasury had granted R1 billion to the DAC for libraries. Currently, the DAC is developing a funding model and intended to utilise libraries as vehicles of transformation. He added that books for the youth would be a point of emphasis to generate more literature in indigenous languages. The purpose of improving libraries will be to improve children’s reading. Dr Duminy further stated that the National Council for Library and Information Services is developing a charter that will include details on the role of municipalities.
Prof Mosala ended the briefing of the DAC delegation by highlighting the matter of national anniversaries that had to be commemorated, without the requested budget. He mentioned that the DAC had requested R38 million but had received R5 million from Treasury. As a result the DAC had to reprioritise its budget.
Prof Mosala stated that it should be noted that the notion of free basic services refers to water and electricity and does not include libraries.
In terms of the Policy Review Process, Prof Mosala articulated that there had been issues relating to the 28 institutions that carry out the plans of the DAC. The problem with regard to the institutions is that as they have jurisdiction over their own budgets, they may act independently of the desires of the DAC. Furthermore, these institutions are advised by external experts and may therefore go ahead in investing in activities such as advancing people in the arts who are already successful rather than those who most require the support.
Annual Report of Business and Arts South Africa, 2006: presentation
Ms N Danby, Chief Executive Officer of Business and Arts South Africa (BASA), provided details regarding the activities of BASA for 2006, including the financial report. During the presentation, it was mentioned that the Board of BASA serve on a voluntary basis. In terms of the organisation itself, it complied with the Companies Act and the Public Finance Management Act.
Ms Danby provided information regarding the following areas of BASA: membership; projects; bank accounts; staffing; funding; and project activities. With regard to the funding, BASA received R4.3 million from the DAC for the financial year. Part of the funds of BASA was invested in courses offered by the University of South Africa (UNISA) to skill BASA staff members.
In terms of the activities of BASA, Ms Danby highlighted the grant scheme that is focused on sponsorships for supporting the arts. She stated that the purpose of this scheme is to provide funding to value-added initiatives and also to assist arts organisations to source funding. Furthermore, various other projects are being undertaken in partnership with corporate entities in order to fulfill the mandate of BASA. Ms Danby further emphasised that the objective of BASA is the mainstreaming of arts and culture in order to conscientise the South African public. Among many initiatives, BASA is engaged in projects with the media to address the issue of media coverage of the arts.
Ms Danby dealt with a literary project that had been started in partnership with the Daily Sun. She explained that BASA had struggled to involve credible writers as they attached a stigma to the Daily Sun. However, another literary project aimed at schools had been initiated. This project, known as Room 13, would create a physical reading space for children in schools. The intention is not only to encourage reading, but to also allow children to develop entrepreneurial skills by seeing to the administration of their reading space.
Ms Van der Walt commended BASA on a coherent report.
The Chair proposed that no discussion should take place in the interests of time.
Mr Sikkie Kajee (BASA Director) requested the Committee to lobby the Minister of Finance with regard to tax incentives for businesses participating in arts and culture initiatives.
Annual Report of the National Archives Advisory Council, 2005/2006: presentation
Dr G Duminy (Chief Director: National Archives of South Africa) explained that there had been problems which were encountered with the report of the National Archives Advisory Council (NAAC). Dr Duminy detailed the history of the NAAC with particular reference to its predecessor, the National Archives Commission that had been dissolved. He then informed the Committee that the Chief Justice Pius Langa has appointed Justice Shongwe as the Chair of the NAAC. However, it would be the acting Chairperson, Dr E van Harte, who would detail the annual report.
Dr E van Harte (NAAC: Acting Chairperson) stated that the NAAC had not prepared an annual report. She expressed that concerns had been raised verbally with regard to the issues faced by the NAAC. Mention was further made that the NAAC was disempowered and thus an investigation should be undertaken to assist the NAAC in moving forward.
Prof J Guy (University of KwaZulu-Natal: Research Fellow) spoke about how the malfunctioning of the NAAC was affecting its effectiveness. He cited a project concerning the centenary of the Bambata Rebellion that he had initiated that proved to be successful, thus illustrating the importance of the role of the NAAC. Prof Guy mentioned particularly that the publication in honour of the centenary had received the support of provincial departments and was thus distributed widely to schools and through print media.
Prof Guy expressed concern that there has been a collapse in the NAAC that was caused by a lack of continuity. The need for a dedicated coordinator was stressed in this regard. He further emphasised that it is essential to revive the NAAC in order to continue with the programmes that engaged local writers. Prof Guy stated clearly that he was not seeking to blame particular parties for the problems however.
Prof Guy added that a specific problem at the NAAC is security. Although the staff is helpful, staff is often not trained well enough. Part of the issue was digitising resources as companies privatised public resources. He concluded that there should be more cohesion between national and local government.
Ms P Mokgopo (NAAC Council Member: Gauteng Representative) stated that the issue in the NAAC is continuity. The Council is stagnant to the extent that meetings are often cancelled and thus the problems are not resolved.
Ms T Hlatywayo (NAAC Council Member: Public Nominee) explained that the NAAC delegation was presenting itself to the Committee as it was looking to formulate a solution. She expressed the concern that the NAAC had to overcome its backlog and find a way forward. Ms Hlatywayo further questioned the involvement of the Minister in appointing a new Chairperson. In terms of the budget of the NAAC, she explained that it is not controlled by the NAAC itself.
With regard to the NAAC’s relationship with the National Archivist, she stated that although the National Archivist is an ex-officio member of the NAAC, he in fact counsels the NAAC. As a result, she suggested that the NAAC must improve its relationship with the National Archivist, which is currently not amicable.
Dr van Harte apologised to the Committee for the lack of preparation on the part of the NAAC. The cancellation of meetings had in fact been initiated by the National Archivist, who has expressed that it would be preferable to stall matters until such time that Judge Shongwe comes into the position of Chairperson of the NAAC. She then concluded the presentation of the NAAC by expressing deep regrets.
The Chair suggested that the delegation from the NAAC should be more specific about the issues that it had put forward. He made particular reference to the following: identifying the National Archivist; explaining the structure and the functions of the NAAC; and elaborating on the details of cancelled meetings. This he explained would assist the Committee in assessing which structures to pursue the issues with.
Dr van Harte stated that the National Archivist is in fact Dr Duminy. In terms of the NAAC, she informed the Committee that members are nominated and then appointed. With regard to the powers and duties of the NAAC, she requested that Dr Duminy provide the Committee with this information.
Dr van Harte emphasised that the problems had been evident for some time, dating as far back as the period of Judge Moloto’s chairmanship. Lastly, she explained that the NAAC had a coordinator (a Ms Zulu) who had been appointed. Ms Zulu had been part of the communication process with Dr Duminy in the event that he would forward apologies for his absence at meetings.
Mr Matlala suggested that the NAAC should submit a report to the Committee detailing matters that can be pursued with the relevant structures.
Ms Van der Walt agreed with Mr Matlala and proposed that Dr Duminy should present his version too. She proposed that the NAAC be excused after the input of Dr Duminy in order to allow the Committee to make recommendations on the way forward.
Mr Zulu expressed concern at the information regarding the privatisation of archive material as such information should belong to all South Africans. He suggested that the NAAC should include such issues in its report to the Committee and matters relating to its mandate.
Ms Van der Walt interjected and requested the Chair to clarify the process that would be followed.
The Chair replied that Dr Duminy would have the opportunity to express his views. Following this, the Committee would then be better informed on a way forward.
Presentation by the National Archivist
Dr Duminy outlined that he would address the following matters: the appointment of a Chairperson for the NAAC; the budget of the NAAC; the matter relating to the coordinator; and the cancellation of the bosberaad that was due to take place during the forthcoming weekend.
In terms of the chairpersonship, Dr Duminy explained that when Judge Moloto moved from the position of Chair of the NAAC, it was thought that another judge would be appointed to this position. Although not a statutory requirement, this decision was taken as the material with which the Chairperson of the NAAC will have to engage is of a legal nature. Dr Duminy referred specifically to the role of the Chairperson of the NAAC to advise the Minister of Justice and service the Department of Justice. He further alluded to the fact that legislative amendments were being explored to reserve the position of Chairperson of the NAAC for a judge.
Dr Duminy explained that the budget of the NAAC is found in the DAC, mentioning that the nature of the relationship between the two structures is similar to that of the DAC and the Geographical Names Commission.
Dr Duminy stated that the issue regarding the coordinator is that her duties overlap between too many structures. In terms of the bosberaad, he explained that the date proposed by Ms Zulu had been inappropriate. As a result, he had asked Ms Zulu to communicate this information to Dr van Harte.
Dr Duminy added that there were issues concerning the appointment of the members of the NAAC. He stressed that the nine provincial members that should be appointed through a public process had in fact either been appointed by the MEC (seven members) or the process had not necessarily been of a public nature (two members).
The Chair requested that it be clarified as to whether or not the NAAC had met at all since its appointment.
Dr van Harte replied that the NAAC had met. However, the meetings had been few.
Prof Guy expressed concern regarding the approach of the Committee to have “two sides of a story” in relation to the issues of the NAAC. He cautioned that this was not an adversarial matter and should not be treated nor referred to as such.
Ms Van der Walt called Prof Guy to order, stating that the Committee was simply following the procedure through which it had set a precedent to request a written report in such matters.
The Chair agreed with Ms Van der Walt in this regard and emphasised that the Committee would require a written report.
Prof Guy sought to clarify that for the record, he had made no allegations.
Dr van Harte expressed gratitude to the Committee for welcoming the feedback. In terms of the cancellation of the bosberaad, she stated that the National Archivist had not communicated effectively. However, she stated that she would be wilingl to engage in the required dialogue with Dr Duminy.
Mr Matlala called the discussion to order, stating that a written report had been agreed to as it had been previously done with other entities. In light of the discussion, he added that the Committee cannot interrogate an unwritten report and it would rather engage with a documented report.
The Chair agreed with Mr Matlala and asked Dr van Harte to make closing remarks.
Dr van Harte agreed with the proposal of a written report.
The Chair asked when the report would be ready.
Dr van Harte stated that the National Archivist would have to be consulted in order to provide the Committee with a date for the submission of the report.
The Chair notified Dr van Harte that contact should be made with the Committee Secretary once the date is finalised.
Following this, it was noted by the Committee that its activities end on 16 November for the current year and that the report would therefore be required before such time. The NAAC was further advised to communicate with the Committee Secretary in advance to ensure that the agenda for the remaining year could factor in the discussion of their report.
The Chair stated that the minutes would be revisited at the next Committee meeting. The matter that the Chair wished to discuss instead was that of the invitation presented to the Committee regarding an official visit to Vietnam. The Chair stated that he had requested the Committee Secretary, Ms T Cawe, to communicate with the relevant structures that the Committee would accept the invitation. As such, a response was expected from the Vietnamese Embassy within the next day or two.
Mr Matlala asked when the visit would be taking place.
The Chair replied that it would most likely be taking place in 2007, but it could be undertaken at any time. He added that the purpose of the visit is an exchange programme on culture.
Ms Van der Walt felt the proposed date should not be during constituency periods or after the opening of Parliament in 2007. She proposed that the Committee should embark on the visit in January of 2007 and asked how long it would be.
The Chair answered that the visit would take place over a period of a week or less.
Ms Cawe (Committee Secretary) explained that she had communicated with the Foreign Affairs Department with regard to the visit. In terms of the funding of the visit, this matter would require investigation as the Committee would be required to motivate the use of funds for international travel. Ms Cawe noted particularly that Committee budget might require a re-prioritisation process as a result.
Mr Maake requested that more details should be provided regarding the visit, referring particularly to the number of delegates that would be expected.
Ms Cawe explained that although the invitation had been sent to Committee Members, it would be forwarded once again. In terms of the number of delegates, she explained that five Committee Members are expected: three Members from the majority party and two Members from the opposition.
The Committee accepted that Ms Cawe would liaise with Members in order to finalise the visit.
The meeting was adjourned.
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