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ARTS AND CULTURE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
16 October 2007
DEPARTMENT ANNUAL REPORT 2006-2007 BRIEFING
Chairperson: Ms T Tshivhase (ANC)
Documents handed out:
Department of Arts and Culture. Annual Report 2006-2007[available at www.dac.gov.za]
Department of Arts and Culture. briefing on the Annual Report 2006-2007
Audio recording of meeting
The Committee met with a delegation from the Department of Arts and Culture, which briefed the Committee on the Department’s 2006-2007 Annual Report. The report included detailed descriptions of the vision and mission of the Department and the work in the various programmes throughout the year. The collaborative efforts of the Department, and the work of some of its reporting entities were also described. The comments made by the Auditor General were examined and explained in depth, and it was noted that steps had been taken to correct the problem areas.
Concerns raised by Members included the Department’s role in gender equality, job creation and poverty alleviation, the need for better provision of libraries, museums and cultural services to impoverished rural areas, and greater awareness and respect for the national anthem. It was suggested that it would be useful to hold a workshop on social cohesion.
The Chairperson congratulated the Department’s new Director-General, Mr Themba Wakashe, on his appointment. She commented on the number of males in the delegation.
Annual Report 2006/07: Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) Briefing
Mr Themba Wakashe commented that the Committee would obtain a different picture of the gender profile of the Department when it met a broader spectrum of the Department’s management, and noted that the Department was paying serious attention to its gender profile.
Mr Wakashe said the Annual Report and the presentation had already been circulated to Members. The presentation addressed the Department’s vision and mission, its broad legislative mandate, and the performance of its six programmes: administration; arts and culture in society; national language services; cultural development and international cooperation and investing in culture (previously known as poverty alleviation); heritage promotion; national archives and records, meta-information (libraries) and heraldic services.
The Department had received a strong directive from Government to conclude the matter of name changes within a period of two years, and was now ready to come to Parliament to table its legislative and policy reviews.
Mr Wakashe noted that coordination programmes sought to align and integrate the Department’s activities within the broad Government Programme of Action, to integrate planning and intergovernmental relations in the arts and culture sector, and identify issues for policy development or review. The Department participated in three clusters. In the social cluster, where it was concerned with social cohesion and national identity. In the international relations cluster it was concerned with the role of arts and culture in diplomacy, and he cited some international examples. Engagement with the diaspora was regarded by the African Union as very important. The third cluster involved collaboration with the Department of Communications. It further collaborated with the National Religious Leaders’ Forum on the subject of moral regeneration.
Mr Wakashe detailed the main achievements of the various programmes. The administration programme sought to ensure improved competency levels, to build a culture of high performance and ensure compliance with human resource legislation. 65% of vacant posts in the Department had been filled. The Department had implemented employee training and personal development plans, and an approved human resource structure was in place. The implementation of performance management and development frameworks was being continuously improved.
The Operations Unit assisted the Department to achieve its service delivery objectives through a number of tabled initiatives. The Department’s visibility was promoted through marketing and campaigns. The Department set up a safe and healthy working environment for all employees and efficient provision of appropriate and adequate service.
Financial management structures were effective, efficient and economic, and aimed to improve the organisation’s compliance with financial legislation, policies and procedures, and effectively implementing the Public Finance Management Act (PMFA). An accrual accounting and reporting system had been installed. Liaison between programmes ensured effective management of budgets. A new standard chart of accounts was maintained. There was synergy, coordination and liaison among programmes to manage their budgets effectively. The highest standard of professional ethics was promoted and maintained. Deficiencies in financial and supply chain management (SCM) principles had been identified and corrected. The particular steps and training programmes were outlined, and it was noted that 70% of the training of relevant personnel on financial and SCM framework had been achieved.
The Department had achieved 80% in the promotion of affirmative procurement as prescribed by the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act (PPPFA). The Department was continuously auditing and reviewing all contracts within the Department and ensuring implementation of the assets management policies.
The Report of the Auditor-General had included a qualified opinion on asset management. This was because the Department’s asset register had still reflected the assets of the Department’s old building, when it was still combined with the Department of Science and Technology. With the National Treasury’s assistance, the Department was migrating to the LOGIS system and would use that system also as an asset management system. Implementation should be completed by mid November 2007, in time for the interim audit.
The Auditor-General had also given a qualified opinion on leave provision. The Department was in process of reconciling leave records between PERSAL and actual leave as per employee files. This was to be completed by the end of November 2007.
The Auditor General had commented also on artworks. The first audit of the artworks was done in 2005 when the missing artworks were discovered, and in this year the South Africa Heritage Resources Authority (SARHA) also commenced an audit of cultural objects, including all artworks in all government departments, parastatals and embassies. The SARHA auditors had been informed of the missing artworks. Mr Wakashe specified the steps taken to deal with and protect artworks.
In respect of Corporate Governance matters, public entities (that accounted for about 60% of budget) had submitted 95% of quarterly reports and strategic plans on time. 73% had unqualified reports, and there were seven clean audit reports in 2005/06. The financial position of the public entities was generally healthy and compliance was good.
The Legal Services Directorate participated in the development of draft conventions at the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) on the protection of intellectual property rights for traditional knowledge, traditional cultural expressions and genetic resources.
The Information Technology Directorate managed business agreement and service level agreements, facilitated security mechanisms and ensured compliance to the relevant regulatory framework. Specific achievements in this unit were listed. An IT security policy was incorporated in the IT policy manual.
Service delivery achievements of the Internal Audit unit were the development and approval of a risk management strategy, the establishment of a risk committee, approval of internal charters, and approval and implementation of a fraud prevention plan and strategy.
The Department’s Communication Directorate had provided media relations and public relations services at a number of events, in collaboration with provincial governments.
Mr Wakashe noted a number of events, which included the Annual Community Arts Centres Awards, aimed at promoting skills development, job creation and community development. Financial support was given by the Department to arts and culture festivals and playhouses. The support ranged from sporting programmes, through choral music to youth enrichment.
The National Language Services programme sought to develop, promote, and protect the 11 official languages of South Africa to allow citizens to realise their language rights.
The Telephone Interpreting Service for South Africa (TISSA) supported the training of 47 interpreters at the University of the Witwatersrand to provide interpreting services in all 11 official languages of South Africa. Sign language interpreters were also being trained. The aim was to extend its service to all government departments and to include foreign languages by 2010.
The Department sought to improve economic and other developmental opportunities for South African arts and culture nationally and globally through mutually beneficial partnerships, examples of which were given (see presentation). South Africa had hosted an African Conference on Cultural Diversity for Social Cohesion and Sustainable Development. It had already ratified the convention on the promotion and Protection of Cultural Diversity in 2006.
There had been a successful book fair in June 2006/07, and the newly named South African Book Development Council (SABDC) aimed to include all players across the book value chain. A research study on the cost of books had been commissioned. The Department had hosted the African Film Summit as a contribution to the New Economic Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) Cultural Industries Programme. It had also played a leading role in the establishment of the African World Heritage Fund to assist African countries to manage and protect their world heritage sites more effectively. It improved the safety and security of museums. National Archives had run the oral history conference, establishment of an automated archive retrieval system, publication of a policy manual for keeping of records. The National Council for Library and Information Services initiated consultation on the Library Transformation Charter in 2006. Other achievements included a workshop on the Copyright Act and the four national and information services Acts administered by the Department administers. A new site for the Mdantsane community library project had been identified and approved. A World Library and Information Congress was held in Durban in August 2007. It was co-publishing a book on celebration of national systems and heritage.
A number of Members congratulated the Director General on his appointment and expressed appreciation for the presentation.
Mr Wakashe thanked the Chairperson and Members for their congratulatory messages. He appreciated the warm welcome that he had received, and looked forward to a productive working relationship with the Committee in promoting the portfolio of arts and culture. He would prioritise rectification of the gender imbalance of the Department.
Mr Gololo (ANC) asked firstly about supply chain management, and to how many companies the Department had awarded tenders. He asked if those tenders were awarded specifically to black economic empowerment companies.
Mr Dumile Vokwana, Chief Financial Officer, DAC, then added that the Department was complying well with the government’s overall strategy. It had a database, and reported to National Treasury. The Department was going to participate in national imbizos. He added that all private companies with which the Department had dealings were required to participate in the black economic empowerment process. The Department was willing to provide the Committee with all information required about procurement and supply chain management. All companies were required to participate in the bidding process. The Department did not subsidise or fund companies.
Mr Gololo asked about the Department’s achievement in terms of affirmative action. He requested some examples.
Mr Vokwana noted that he did not have the figures with him but could send information.
Mr Gololo asked about heritage promotion and about application to UNESCO for status as world heritage sites.
Mr Gololo asked if the Department could give national flags to the Committee for Members to distribute to their constituents.
Mr B P Biyela (IFP) said that the matter of fair representation of women in the Department was very important.
Mr Biyela suggested that the Department and provincial authorities needed to monitor the impact of community arts centres on local communities.
Mr Wakashe noted that community arts centres were a vexing issue. The Department had built them on the understanding that provincial authorities would maintain them, and local government authorities would contribute programming. On the whole, little had been forthcoming, except in Gauteng, Eastern Cape, and Limpopo, which had two arts centres. Most buildings fell into disrepair when not used. The Department was examining the budget of investing in culture so that some of it could be redirected to activities in community arts centres. Issues of monitoring and evaluation would be crucial.
Mr G Lekgetho (ANC) said that the Department should make a greater effort towards eliminating poverty by 2014. He felt the Department should do more to fill vacancies.
Mr Wakashe noted that the Department was filling posts in the Department and outside, especially in certain external programmes, to alleviate poverty. The Department considered it an investment to fight poverty in the nodes.
Mr Lekgetho recalled a Departmental survey of libraries, and asked whether libraries were administered by the provinces or by local government. Placing libraries under local authorities would expedite provision of library services to local communities.
Mr Wakashe replied that the Constitution had not given the mandate for library provision to the local authorities, and he did not think that the Department could obtain a constitutional amendment to do so. However, the Department had created conditional grants to the provinces specifically for spending on local libraries. He thought that it was a challenge that the Department could meet.
Mr B Z Zulu (ANC) asked what measures the Department was adopting to encourage individuals to establish museums in the rural areas.
Mr Wakashe noted that rural museums could do much to support social development, but the building and maintaining of museums was an expensive exercise. It was a matter of repossessing cultural heritage and identity. Mr Wakashe requested the opportunity to continue conversation on the subject after the meeting and to invite Mr B P Zulu to work with the Department on the matter.
Mr Wakashe said that there was need to co-ordinate the government’s heritage and tourism strategies.
Mr Zulu asked about indigenous music institutions, which he said were not accessible to the rural people.
Mr S E Opperman (DA) asked about the needles of Cleopatra in New York and London, which had been taken from Alexandria. The British Museum in London was filled with artefacts from Africa. He asked what was being done to return those works back to Africa, where they belonged. It was not possible to have an African Renaissance if these wonderful artefacts remained outside Africa. It was important for the Department to expedite an inventory of the cultural assets of the country.
Mr Wakashe said that repatriation of art objects had long been a subject of discussion. It was part of the question of how to decolonialise African heritage. It was a broader political question. He said that major exhibitions of Nigerian art had been held in the United Kingdom and in the United States of America, but never in Nigeria. This sent a message to Nigerian children that their own culture was insignificant. However, for British children, the hosting of such exhibitions sent a message that their own heritage had had an impact all over the world and hence ‘the arrogance of colonialism’ continued. Mr Wakashe did not know how soon Africa, as a continent, could achieve repatriation of its cultural assets.
Mr Opperman asked, with reference to the espAFRIKA briefing on 9 October, what were the criteria for funding private companies.
Mr Opperman asked about the 126 municipalities that had changed their coats of arms.
Mr Opperman also asked about language rights.
Ms P Tshwete (ANC) commented that the presentation should be paginated. She also objected to use of “disabled person”, saying that it was preferable to use the term “people with disabilities”.
The Department acknowledged concerns with terminology designating people with disabilities.
Ms Tshwete asked about illegal trafficking of heritage resources, and if the Department had a policy in this regard.
Mr Wakashe noted that there was no specific policy on trafficking in heritage objects.
Mr M J Bhengu (IFP) commented that ‘social cohesion’ and ‘social capital’ were interesting terms. ‘Social cohesion’ was the core of the Department and he suggested that a Committee workshop on this topic would be beneficial.
Mr Wakashe would welcome discussion of social cohesion and looked forward to an invitation from the Committee to make a presentation on the subject.
Mr Mzukisi Madlavu, Chief Director: Arts & Culture Co-ordination, DAC spoke about integrated planning and the macro-social challenges, which were related to social mobilisation. Social cohesion was part of the Department’s mission statement, but the Department was unable, by itself, to achieve that goal. Social cohesion and mobilisation were part of the broader perspective of government. He was sure that the Members were familiar with the Department’s social cohesion strategy. The Department had a sub-committee on local content indicators that dealt with the messages to which South Africans, especially children, were exposed, and how that issue should be addressed. The National Religious Leaders’ Forum was a partner with the Department in its efforts to address the issue of moral regeneration.
Mr Bhengu asked what were the criteria for funding or not funding museums.
Mr Wakashe responded that the criteria for funding or non-funding of museums were vexing. There was a formula established by a previous chief executive officer of the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) but the Department was uncomfortable with it and intended to review it.
The Chairperson asked about the Department’s relationship with the Departments of Education, Communications, and Environment and Tourism.
Mr Wakashe noted that the Department assisted with national symbols. It was sharing a joint cluster.
The Chairperson raised the question of moral regeneration with regard to films and television. She was concerned that children could see graphic sexual activity on television, and would act in accordance with what they had watched.
Mr Wakashe and the Director General of the Department of Communications shared these concerns. Television channels between 20:00 and 22:00 would tend to show violent programmes depicting guns, and this had surely led to the increased use of guns in South Africa. The Department of Communications was being asked to look into alternative content.
The Chairperson asked about the decline in use of libraries by older community members for story to the young, and if the Department had any plans to promote libraries for that purpose and encourage story telling.
Mr Wakashe agreed that while discussing the youth, it was important not to forget the children. South Africa was not investing enough in children.
The Chairperson also commented that the people in rural areas were left out. Libraries and museums were predominantly in the cities and towns. She wanted the Department to pay attention to rural communities’ cultural needs.
Mr Wakashe said that the Department wanted to improve provision of libraries and museums in rural areas; a separate discussion was warranted.
Mr M R Sonto (ANC) asked firstly about the Department’s strategy on macro-social challenges. He asked what was the Department’s turnaround strategy. Secondly, he asked about corporate governance. He did not necessary see a reported surplus as a good thing, as it could mean that something had been left undone, and did not necessarily indicate that an entity’s financial standing was healthy.
Mr Wakashe said that turn around strategies must address the need to invest in children. In response to the comment on the financial surpluses of some entities, Mr Wakashe said that these surpluses were hardly remarkable. Where they existed, they showed creativity and enterprise.
Mr Wakashe said that the Department’s approach to 2010 was to invite all the managers of the host cities to sit around the table and discuss with the Department ways and means of promoting the social histories of the host communities. It was important to use social history to affirm the communities’ identities. It was also important to encourage an awareness of social history to remind those communities that they were responsible for protecting their own heritage. While the concept of economic indicators was well established, the concept of social indicators was not. The Department wanted to promote the concept of social indicators and emphasise quality of life. The Human Sciences Research Council was working with the Department in this regard.
Mr Sonto asked how the Department navigated through the emerging township lingo that the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) was promoting. He noted that the Committee had hoped to achieve synergy between the PAN SA Language Board (PANSALB) and the National Languages Service through a workshop, and asked when it could take place.
Mr Wakashe said that he thought that the National Languages Service and the Pan South African Languages Board (PANSALB) should be combined into one organisation. There was tension between the two because of duplicated mandates.
Mr M Matlala (ANC) asked about investment in culture. The North West Province was one of the provinces that should benefit from that project. He praised the programme for Parliament’s new emblem. However, the old emblem still appeared in various documents. He found it a disgrace, while working in his constituency, to find that many people hardly knew how to sing the national anthem. He asked if the Department had a joint programme with the Department of Education to inform the public about the national anthem.
The Chairperson said that the national anthem was a national symbol that must be respected.
Mr Wakashe requested the opportunity to provide an answer to Mr Matlala’s question at a later date. Parliament’s new emblem was something he could not comment upon because of the separation of powers between the legislature and the executive. Parliament was an institution on its own, and he, as a civil servant, could not speak for Parliament. He said that the question of the national anthem was a critical one that had been raised a number of times. It was also a kind of a prayer, for which there was an appropriate etiquette. It was important to consider the language used in the national anthem; perhaps it was necessary to simplify it to make it more meaningful. In this context one could ask how ‘social cohesion’ could be translated into South Africa’s various languages. He acknowledged the good work done by the Department of Education to promote national symbols and distribute relevant materials in schools.
Ms N D Mbombo (ANC) said that the Committee found the archives in KwaZulu-Natal to be well kept, but the staff complained about the inadequacies of the ventilation system, which resulted in damage to the books and documents. She asked that the books and documents be removed to a safer place for conservation with sufficient space and good ventilation.
Mr Wakashe said that all archives had been devolved into the provinces. The KwaZulu-Natal archives did not appear in the Department’s budget. However, he would follow-up the matter and ascertain if there was any understanding between the National Archivist and the KwaZulu-Natal archives administration.
Ms Tshwete said it was a matter of urgency to address gender equality in the Department. She asked whom the Department was training in sign languages.
Mr Wakashe said that the Department was not conducting training in sign languages in the Department. He requested the opportunity to reply to the Committee subsequently.
The meeting was adjourned.
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