Arts & Culture Department Annual Report 2005/06

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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report

Education and Recreation Select Committee

5 September 2007

Chairperson :
Mr B Tolo ( ANC, Mpumalanga)

Documents handed out:
Briefing on Department of Arts and Culture Annual Report
Department of Arts and Culture 2005 / 2006 Annual Report (available at

Audio recording of meeting


The Department of Arts and Culture presented its Annual Report 2005/06 and provided the highlights and budget performance of each of its six programmes:
- Arts and Culture in Society
- National Language Services
- Cultural Development and International Co-operation & Investing in Culture
- Heritage Promotion
- National Archives, Records, Meta-Information and Heraldic Services
- Administration.
Points made was the need to address how far the country had gone in terms of decolonizing the heritage landscape and the National Film and Video Foundation had been given a large grant. Some the problems mentioned by the Department included an overlap of responsibilities between it and PANSALB and the issue of name changes.

Members sought clarity on what happened to the R11 million unspent from the budget but were told this was 1,08% of the budget and was for ongoing capital works projects mostly to its public institutions. Other concerns were the need for African literature books in schools and libraries and the number of vacant junior posts in the Department.


Mr Thembinkosi Wakashe, appointed by Cabinet that day as Director General, Department of Arts And Culture (DAC), presented the Annual Report for 2005/06 period. He stated that the aim of the Department is to develop and preserve South African culture, to ensure social cohesion and nation-building. The Department’s activities were divided into six programmes: Administration, Arts and Culture in Society, National Language Services, Cultural Development and International Co-operation, Heritage Promotion and National Archives, Records, Meta- Information and Heraldic Services.

He noted highlights from each of these programmes such as its TISSA (Telephone Interpreting Service of South Africa) project had created 67 new jobs and it had established a Language Research and Development Centre for each of the official African languages. The National Film and Video Foundation had been allocated R 34, 720 million and the highlight for that sector was the nomination and winning of various international awards by local films. Cultural development and international co-operation had brought about good results for South Africa as many people have received employment through relationships such as the one that the Department has with the Swedish. DAC was doing well in building libraries for communities.

The Department was pleased to report that 76% of its public entities had good and effective governance and had received unqualified Audit Reports. The only emphasis of matter for the department by the Auditor General was inadequate asset management and supply chain management.
The division of actual expenditure amongst the programmes was illustrated. The under-expenditure represented 1,08% of the budget and most if it was due to ongoing capital works projects.

Despite the good work, DAC had a number of problems during the period in review. One of the challenges it faced was with name changes of towns and other heritage landscapes. DAC could not meet their aims as some of the proposed name changes were being contested in courts. DAC was also struggling to find African Classic Literature but was making progress because some publishers were starting to approach the Department.

Another problem that DAC faced was that of not being able to fill all the vacancies in the Department because they are competing with other institutions.


Mr Sulliman noted that both the Departments of Arts and Culture and of Home Affairs were both dealing with films and publications. He asked if a relationship existed between the two departments on these matters and were their ideas the same.

Mr Wakashe (recently Deputy Director General, Heritage, Archives and Libraries) replied that their relationship with Home Affairs was stipulated in the Legal Deposits Act, because any book, film or publication published in South Africa had to be deposited in the legal library. However there was absolutely no relationship on the matter of content. 

Ms Masilo asked how the Department assisted cultural performance groups in the communities.  This she asked because she had seen a cultural group which was struggling because of items such as uniforms at one of the events she went during this year.

Mr Wakashe replied that the funding of community groups is a continuous challenge and the responsibility to fund community groups mostly rested with National Arts Council and the Arts and Culture Councils in the provinces also provide funding. The Department did at times provide funding to community groups and this is guided by their poverty alleviation program and the Department also received recommendations from provincial Arts and Culture Councils.

Ms N Madlala-Magubane (ANC, Gauteng), asked the Department to explain what the relationship was between the Pan South African Language Board (PANSALB) and the TISSA project. This she asked because she saw an overlap of activities between the two bodies.

Mr Wakashe replied that the relationship between PANSALB and the Department of Arts and Culture was a relationship of overlap, in the sense that the Act that established PANSALB gave PANSALB a very broad mandate. At times PANSALB felt that the Department was stepping on their toes and the Department felt the same at times. However this matter was being addressed.

Ms F Mazibuko (ANC, Guateng) asked about the Auditor-General’s complaint that DAC did not have a proper framework to manage the process to finalise their performance management information.

Mr D Vokwana (Chief Financial Officer, Department of Arts and Culture) said that they had received an unqualified report but which emphasised three matters such as Asset Management and that was because of certain issues which Mr Vokwana did not specify. 

Ms Mazibuko asked if the Department offered any conditional grants to the provinces.

Mr Wakashe replied that the Department did give conditional grants to provinces for specific circumstances and conditions. It was not the norm to give these grants because provinces got their own budget allocation. An example of a conditional grant was that for the construction of community libraries.

Ms Mazibuko asked if the Department had identified literature books in African languages which it could prescribe for schools and also for municipal libraries because she had seen a lack of books in African languages. She also asked the Department to explain what it meant by classic African literature.

Mr Wakashe replied that they were going to encourage municipal libraries to acquire African Literature, and when they spoke about classic books, they spoke about books such as Ityala LamaWele and writers such as J I Jolobe and others. He apologized for mentioning only Xhosa books and explained that he was not very familiar with books that were in other African languages because of a lack of exposure to these books.

Ms Madladla-Magubane mentioned that at the last meeting they had with PANSALB, PANSALB complained that they were being neglected by the Department of Arts and Culture and that they did not even have a Liaison Officer in Parliament. She asked was being done by the Department in terms of maintaining the relationship.

Mr Wakashe found it strange that PANSALB wanted a liaison officer in Parliament. He said that what had created problems was that PANSALB was founded through the Constitution. It was not that PANSALB was not receiving attention from the Department. There needed to be a legislative plan for the two to work effectively together. Even though the Department voted PANSALB’s budget, PANSALB did not want to report to them. They rather wanted to report to Parliament. The framework under which PANSALB was established, needed to be re-looked at to normalise the relationship. However he was not saying that the Constitution should be re-visited.

Ms Mazibuko asked how the Director General had received an unqualified audit report, as the Department itself had mentioned that they did not have a proper policy and procedure framework to manage their performance management process. And what had happened to the money that was left over?

Mr Vokwana responded that the R11 million unspent related to about 1.8% of their budget in 2005/06. This was as a result of capital works projects that were not finalised. With regards to the performance information, it was with the Minister at that time as he wanted to scrutinize it. However they had started to keep copies of information which they gave to the Minister.

Ms Mazibuko wanted to know how the Departments of Arts and Culture was going to obtain the classic literature it had spoken about.

Mr Wakashe replied that in some cases they were going to struggle because some publishers had disappeared. However there had been certain catalogues that had been transferred to the University of Fort Hare, and at times he was approached by publishers such as McGraw.  The Legal Deposit Act was going to also save them as the Act required that any book published in the Republic of South Africa should be lodged in the archives. However another challenge was that the Act was like a toothless bulldog as it did not force compliance, so a level of non compliance with the Act existed.

Mr B Tolo (ANC, Mpumalanga), asked if the Department had made any contribution in the syllabus of Arts and Culture in Education.

Mr Wakashe replied that they did not have direct input in the educational content, but the Department of Education did visit their institutions such as museums to get material for educational content and they were consulted in terms of policy. Their colleagues in Education understood that they were not educators, but artists and the Department of Education’s curriculum was framed in a particular way.

Mr Tolo asked what had happened to the agreement that had been made between the Department and the Committee about putting on art exhibitions in Parliament on certain anniversary days, because he had not seen them doing it.

Mr Wakashe replied that he was not aware of the agreement and may he be excused from answering the question, however they could develop a framework for this. He added that he did not think that they could have exhibitions for all national anniversary days.

On the matter of building libraries, Mr Tolo asked if one library would be sufficient for everyone in Mdantsane as the Department had mentioned that Mdantsane was South Africa’s second largest township.

Mr Wakashe replied that they were aware that one library was inadequate. Linked to the library in Mdantsane would be mobile libraries to meet the demands of the community and the library was also going to cater for the blind.
In the presentation the Department of Arts and Culture had spoken about name changes and Mr Tolo commented that there were still so many colonial names in the Eastern Cape. It sometimes seemed as if one was in England whilst in the Eastern Cape. He asked if there was a time frame for the name changes.

Mr T Setona (ANC, Free State) backed Mr Tolo on this question by asking if there was a legislation framework on the matter.

Mr Wakashe replied that the fundamental point of departure was how did they decolonise African heritage, because if one looked at the heritage landscape of the country, the map of South Africa looked like a colonial outpost in Africa. Yet at the same time, people have been contesting name changes with a lack of knowledge. The matter needed to be approached with sensitivity as the issue was very political. The Cabinet had given the Department 18 months to address the issue; however they were delayed by court interventions.

With regards to the Anti-Apartheid collection Mr Tolo asked if the Department of Arts and Culture had started doing collections for movements such as Umkhonto weSizwe and APLA.  

Mr Wakashe said that the ANC and other liberation movements had handed over their archives to Fort Hare which was looking after them. What he did not know was the comprehensiveness of the collection. Some of the material with regards to liberation movements on the continent was with the OAU (Organisation of African Unity).

Mr Tolo asked why there were still so many junior posts open in the Department but yet many people were out of jobs and have an education.

Ms M Kushipilwe (Deputy Director General: Human Resources Management) commented that there had been an improvement even though the Department was faced with the challenge of competition from other institutions for example language practitioners were being lobbied by Parliament, the SABC and also the private sector. However they were developing a strategy to address the matter as no strategy had been developed since the split with the Department of Science and Technology.

Meeting adjourned.



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