ATC120322: Report on oversight visit to public entities in the Eastern Cape Province from 3 - 4 August 2011, dated 28 February 2012
Report of the Portfolio Committee on Arts and Culture on an oversight visit to public entities in the Eastern Cape Provincefrom 3 - 4 August 2011, dated 28 February 2012
The Portfolio Committee on Arts and Culture having conducted an oversight visit to the Nelson Mandela Museum and the South African Library for the Blind in the Eastern Cape Province reports as follows:
The Portfolio Committee on Arts and Culture, inspired by its Constitutional mandate and Rules of Parliament to ensure effective oversight and greater accountability of entities funded through transfers from the Department of Arts and Culture, embarked on an oversight of entities residing under the auspices of aforementioned government department in the Eastern Cape Province for the period 3 - 4 August 2011.
2. Terms of Reference
The entities that the Committee conducted oversight over were the Nelson Mandela Museum (NMM) and the South African Library for the Blind (SALB).
The objective of the oversight was multifold. The visit sought to:
· Ensure that entities were carrying out the mandates for which they were established.
· Improve transparency within government operations and enhance public trust in government.
· Assess whether entities complied with Government Priorities.
· Assess the challenges that entities experienced.
Core to all of the above, the Committee’s intention was to detect and prevent abuse, arbitrary behavior or illegal and unconstitutional conduct of the abovementioned entities.
The delegation consisted of:
Hon Ms TB Sunduza (ANC) - Chairperson and leader of the delegation
Hon Ms LN Moss (ANC) - Committee Whip
Hon Ms TE Lishiva (ANC)
Hon Mr DW Mavunda (ANC)
Hon Ms MR Morutua (ANC)
Hon Ms FF Mushwana (ANC)
Hon Dr A Lotriet (DA)
Hon Mr P Ntshiqela (COPE)
Hon Ms HS Msweli (IFP)
Hon Mr SZ Ntapane (UDM)
Hon M Mandela (ANC)
Department of Arts and Culture (DAC)
Ms T Malao - Deputy Director
Provincial Department of Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture (DSRAC)
Mr L Xalabile - Manager, Cultural Affairs
Mr S Mdlangazi - Assistant Manager, Cultural Affairs
Mr J Van Der Westhuizen - Acting Committee Secretary
Mr V Muhadi - Committee Researcher
Ms N Mnyovu - Committee Assistant
4.1 Nelson Mandela Museum (NMM)
The Nelson Mandela Museum was officially opened on 11 February 2000, at a function that coincided with the tenth anniversary of the release from prison of Nelson Mandela in 1990.
The Nelson Mandela Museum is located in the authentic landscape of Mr Mandela’s early and later life. This is the landscape that Mr Mandela documents in his autobiography and is attested by all research and social narrative into his life.
The establishment of the Museum in terms of the Cultural Institutions Act as a national heritage institution by the Ministry of Arts and Culture is to honor Mr Mandela’s wish that an accessible home be found to preserve and safeguard gifts that he received from well – wishers across the world, a home that could become a catalyst for development.
The Museum operates at two sites, in the historic Bhunga Building in Mthatha and the built for purpose Youth and Heritage Centre inQunu. In addition, the Museum maintains strong links to the villages of Mvezo (where Mr Mandela was born) and Mqhekezweni where after leaving Qunu as a boy, he was raised by the Regent, Jongintaba.
The Nelson Mandela Museum received most of its funding from the subsidy allocations from National Government through the Department of Arts and Culture. Total revenue collected by the Nelson Mandela Museum for the year under review increased by 11.75% from R 20 197 813 million to R 22 571 767 million. The subsidy from the Department of Arts and Culture accounted for 65.38 % of the total revenue while 0.38 % was from donor funding, 32.74 % from project funding recognized as revenue, 1.84 % realized as the Museum’s own income generated through interest bank investments of the amount received from various project funders, rental of conference venue and charges for accommodation at the Qunu Youth and Heritage Centre. The operating expenditure for the year under review was R 22 596 964 million eliciting an increase of 3.55 % from that recorded the previous year.
4.1.1 Nelson Mandela Museum, Bhunga Building, Mthatha
Upon arrival at the Nelson Mandela Museum in Mthatha the Committee was welcomed by the Chairperson of the Nelson Mandela Museum Council, Ms P Madiba who was accompanied by Mr K Mpumlwana, Chief Executive Officer, Nelson Mandela Museum; Mr MWMdludlu, Chief Financial Officer; Mr DZ Mgamelo, Human Resources Manager; Ms N Tetani, Senior Manager, Marketing; Ms P Mandela, Education, Development and Outreach Manager; Ms FN Mashalara, Accountant; Mr T Mkhohliwe , Financial Controller; Ms B Qotoyi, Program and Education Officer and Mr S Mdlangazi, Assistant Manager, Provincial Department of Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture .
The Museum and its grounds was wheelchair accessible. The Committee was taken on a tour through the various exhibitions that depicted Mr Nelson Mandela’s life as a child and an adult. Among these was also their security control room where the Chief Executive Officer explained to the Committee that they had just recently upgraded the security equipment.
He proceeded to lead the Committee to their basement. He explained to the Committee that the Nelson Mandela Museum had secured permits from the South African Heritage Resources Agency to undertake renovations to their basement which they would be utilizing as archiving facilities. He explained that the Nelson Mandela Museum would be closed for a period of 30 months to enable the envisaged renovations.
The Chief Executive Officer concluded by encouraging Members of the Committee to purchase curios from their craft shop.
4.1.2 Nelson Mandela Youth and Heritage Centre, Qunu
The Committee proceeded to drive to the Qunu Youth and Heritage Centre. This component of the Nelson Mandela Museum was located 500m from the N2 road that connects large cities from Cape Town via Port Elizabeth, Grahamstown and East London to Durban.
The Qunu component of the Nelson Mandela Museum was accessible through a paved road, from an off ramp situated on the N2. Visitors were directed to travel 600m to the end of the road where the Museum was situated.
The centre was located near Nelson Mandela’s home and forms part of the story told and shared by the Museum through its exhibitions and programmes. The story was further enriched through visiting the family’s historical sites that form part of the “Footprints VillageTours”.
The Committee was taken on a guided tour by Mr Gamakulu, of the facilities at the Heritage Centre. The facilities included the Primary School that Mr Nelson Mandela attended, and also where he was named Nelson. The Museum, it was mentioned, was built on land where as a child Mr Nelson Mandela looked after his father’s cattle. Other facilities included a viewing/ contemplation deck and a sliding stone where Mr Mandela enjoyed traditional youth games by sliding down the gigantic stone, located a few meters down the hill.
The Centre comprised of a community based craft project named the “Ithemba Arts and Craft Project”. They made and sold quality crafts that included beads, hats etc. The project had initially been funded by the Government of Lower Saxony. The Chief Executive Officer pointed out that the Craft Centre was funded at the time by the National Lotteries Distribution Trust Fund (NLDTF). The project had trained 15 to 20 women thus far.
The Committee proceeded to a comic exhibition hall. The exhibition hall contained comics of Mr Nelson Mandela.
The Youth and Heritage Centre also comprised of Conferencing and Accommodation facilities that had the capacity to cater for 600 delegates and 60 guests’ respectively. The site was popular for business functions, retreats, team building, weddings and festivals.
The Chief Executive Officer explained to the Committee that the facilities at the site was graded by the South African Grading Council as a 3*** star. He pointed out that they were aggressively pursuing editorial space in publications such as the “You, Huisgenoot, Sunday Times and Sunday Tribune publications”.
4.2 South African Library for the Blind (SALB)
The South African Library for the Blind originated from humble beginnings in the then tiny Eastern Cape township of Grahamstown during the height of the 1918 global Influenza pandemic.
While nursing local influenza victims, Josephine (Josie) Wood met Miss Comber, a British nurse who wished to establish religious study groups for the Blind. Later and having been recalled to England, Miss Comber, who had developed a personal collection of 100 braillevolumes, convinced Josie Wood to develop an accessible library for the visually impaired.
Her acceptance marked the beginning of the library for the visually impaired in South Africa and led directly to the proudly South African institute today. The Library was declared a Cultural Institution and National Library for the Blind in 1968.
The South African Library for the Blind’s mandate is subject to, and operates in accordance with the South African Constitution and the South African Library for the Blind Act 91/1998. It is legally committed to the values upon which the democratic South African state is founded and in particular to those of equality, human dignity, the advancement of human rights and freedoms, non-racialism, non-sexism, accountability and democracy. In addition to aforementioned, it strives to make a contribution to Africa by being an available resource of advice and expertise in its focus areas.
The Committee was welcomed by Mr Francois Hendricks, Director, South African Library for the Blind and he was accompanied by Ms BGornall , Chief Financial Officer; Mr N De Lange, Head: Human Resources; Ms R Greaves, Head: Circulation Section; Ms B Mbiyo, Head: Collection, Development and Cataloguing; Ms K Marechal, Manager: Production Support Services; Mr M Kivits, Manager: Audio Productions; Mr J Nel , Manager: Technical Support; Ms N Yona, Manager: Braille Production and Ms P Alden, National Braille Consultancy.
The Chairperson of the Committee facilitated introductions of members and staff of the Committee, Department of Arts and Culture and the Library for the Blind. She invited the Director to proceed with his presentation on the functions of the South African Library for the Blind.
Mr Hendricks, Director, South African Library for the Blind welcomed the Committee and proceeded to outline the historical highlights and mandate of the Library for the Blind.
He pointed out that the membership of the South African Library for the Blind totaled 3700 both locally and internationally and that they were the only Library for the Blind on the African continent.
He proceeded to explain to the Committee that the realities for persons who were blind or visually impaired was that there were no or few books available which culminated in no or very little sharing of knowledge. He explained that there was not much reading material for people who were blind or visually impaired and that the amount of reading material for the blind equated to 5%. He explained that it was a battle to improve the 5%.
He mentioned some of the interventions that the SALB had embarked on or attempted to improve the 5% as follows:
· Conversion of audio cassettes from analog to digital
· The production of tactile pre- school collections
· The development of an indigenous language collection
· Printing of a Braille newspaper
· The establishment of a tele reading club
· Digital mini libraries and service points
· Cooperation in the establishment of a Global Library for the Blind
· Reaching out to the rest of the African continent
Mr Hendricks proceeded and pointed out that the South African Library for the Blind comprised of different sections and they were:
· Library Services
· Audio Productions
· Braille Productions
· Production support services
· Braille consultancy
· Information Technology and Technical Services
· Management Services
Their library services consisted of circulation (audio and braille) and cataloguing. The section was responsible for the following:
· Managing and maintaining the electronic library management system of the library.
· Liaising with library members and issues and receiving library material and reading devices.
· Developing and maintaining the library collection through the selection of quality material.
· Administrating copyright management matters.
· Cataloguing library material to make it accessible.
· Administrating interlibrary loans from international suppliers.
The audio production section was responsible for the:
· Production and copying of newly narrated reading material to accessible audio formats based on acceptable quality standards.
· Converting the existing analogue audio collection to a more accessible and user- friendly digital audio medium.
· Converting, producing and copying of various print magazines to the digital audio medium.
· Supplying the Library Services Section with sufficient number of audio copies.
· Research alternative sources of audio material to be incorporated into the Library’s audio collection.
· Incorporating the use of new and existing specialized technologies, systems, equipment and audio formats to enhance the reading experience of their blind and visually impaired readers.
The Braille production section was responsible for:
· Producing high quality Braille material in all the official South African Languages according to applicable standards.
· Training of staff to master the scarce Braille skills.
· Printing, binding and repairing of Braille books.
· Research and implement the most appropriate technologies to produce Braille material.
He explained that it was an expensive exercise to reproduce books in Braille. He indicated that the production cost of a Braille book was R 630.81. He informed the Committee that one printed book page equated to 1.4 Braille pages.
Mr Hendricks briefly gave the Committee an introduction to the Daisy system. He explained that Daisy referred to Digital Accessible Information Systems. It was a means of creating digital talking books for people who wished to hear and navigate written material presented in an audible format. It utilized the latest compression technology that allowed a single CD- Rom to store more than 50 hours of speech. The system he said was also a navigation control file that enabled users to move smoothly between files while synchronization between text and audio was maintained. It was a standard protected specialized reading format that did not breach copyright law (both national and international). He explained that the production cost for one Daisy master file was R963, 37.
He explained that the responsibilities of the Production Support Services were the following:
· Appointing, training, monitoring and coordinating all volunteers and temporary staff assisting the Library with the production of audio and Braille titles.
· The control of print copies received, distributed and catalogued.
· Ensuring the quality control of production (new and analogue to digital titles), best practices and the work flow to the Braille and Audio Production sections.
· Keeping abreast with the latest software and hardware in Braille and audio production and providing advice where applicable.
· Dealing with all external clients who need material to be produced in Audio or Braille, on a commercial basis.
Mr Hendricks explained that the production support service was also responsible for the Braille Transcribers Examination and that they were the link between the Audio and Braille Production Sections. The section was also responsible for the coordination of conversions from analogue to digital.
Mr Hendricks explained that the Library’s statutory mandate went beyond the production of Braille. It encompassed an additional function of standard setting and included the following:
- In collaboration with the standard setting body of Braille, the Library for the Blind also developed and aligned Braille Systems according to International standards.
- Drafting, researching and publishing of reference manuals and bulletins containing rules and information about the production ofbraille.
- Assisting production houses, schools and educators with technical braille production problems.
- Promoting and supporting braille as a tool for literacy and communication.
- Facilitating and overseeing the production of tactile books.
Mr Hendricks proceeded to outline the functions of their Information Technology and Technical Services as the following:
· Repairing analogue and digital playback devices as well as any other electronic equipment.
· Building maintenance and liaison with the Department of Public Works (DPW).
· Managing and administering the transport and vehicle needs of the library.
· Ensuring that the library complies with the Health and Safety Act 85 of 1993.
· Supporting the technological requirements of the Library and its users.
· Guiding the Library on new IT developments to be implemented.
· Liaising with external IT providers on services and products.
The Library’s Marketing Section he said was responsible for the:
· Marketing and promotion of the Library’s products and services;
· Producing and distributing marketing material and newsletters;
· Overseeing the production of outsourced marketing material; and
· Participation in public events to raise the profile of the Library.
Mr Hendricks indicated that the Library for the Blind had a quarterly newsletter named
“Makwenzeke” and that they were also marketing the Library for the Blind through their webpage, Radio Stations like Moutse Radio, Radio Khwezi, Jozi FM and social media platforms with specific reference to Twitter and Facebook.
The Management Services Section was primarily responsible for providing support to the South African Library for the Blind Board, the Director and all Section heads of the Library. It was responsible for the recording, reporting and provisioning of relevant information required by the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) and various other legislation relating to Finance and Human Resources. The Section comprised of Financial Management and Fundraising, Human Resources and Development and Administration and Cleaning Services.
Mr. Hendricks indicated that the Library of the Blind received 92% of their funding from the Department of Arts and Culture. The remainder of their funding they received from private donors. He explained that the Library for the Blind had registered as a Public BenefitOrganisation. He indicated that the Library for the Blind reported on a quarterly and annual basis to the Department of Arts and Culture.
Mr Hendricks proceeded to highlight the challenges and progress that they had made in this regard to the Committee as follows:
1. Scarce skills
Continuous training both internally and externally
2. Organisational structure
The Library submitted a proposal to the Department of Arts and Culture and advertised the new and vacant positions. The filling of the positions would be phased in.
3. Building constraints
Made a proposal to the National Department of Public Works and was awaiting a response
The Library for the Blind introduced downloading services.
5. National funding priority
The Library for the Blind had made proposals to the Provincial Library Services
6. Expensive and imported technology
The Library for the Blind had made proposals to Vision Australia and negotiated more competitive rates with their suppliers
7. Target market expansions
The Library for the Blind developed a more comprehensive membership strategy
8. Copyright and access to reading material
The Library for the Blind is a member of most major National and International initiatives
9. Onerous legal compliance requirements
Liaison with the Auditor – General and the Department of Arts and Culture
The Director pointed out that their audit fees had increased by 500%. He said that the increase was putting a strain on their infrastructure. He emphasized that their budget was smaller than other DAC entities, but that they were required to pay the same amount for auditing fees.
Mr Hendricks thanked the Committee for the opportunity to present and welcomed questions by the Committee. Members wanted to know if the South African Library for the Blind had approached the National Lotteries Distribution Trust Fund (NLDTF) for funding; what the timeframe for the filling of the 12 vacant posts were; if the Library for the Blind was also producing Braille in the indigenous languages of South Africa and if the Library for the Blind had internship programmes.
Mr Hendicks indicated that they had approached the National Lotteries Distribution Trust Fund, but that they were not sure what the closing date for applications were. He assured the Committee that they would continue approaching the National Lotteries.
Ms Mbiyo indicated that they had thus far only managed to produce four indigenous languages in Braille, but that they were looking at increasing it to include all the indigenous languages.
Mr Hendricks said that the Library for the blind would follow a phased approach in the filling of vacancies, but estimated it to be in the 2012/2013 financial year.
Mr Hendricks responded that the Library for the Blind had an internship programme that they were conducting in partnership with the South African Council for the Blind. He explained that they were targeting blind and visually impaired matriculants to serve internships and that they served their internships over a period of six months.
Mr Hendricks indicated that there were 21 schools for the Blind in South Africa. He explained that the Library for the Blind had raised funds and assisted in the implementation of technology associated with people who were visually impaired and blind. He also pointed out that all major tertiary institutions in South Africa had special facilities that accommodated all students who were blind or visually impaired.
Upon conclusion of deliberations the Director, Library for the Blind invited the Committee on a physical site visit of the facilities at the South African Library for the Blind. The Committee was shown their 4 soundproof studios which they utilized for the narration of books. The narration of the books was done on a voluntary basis. It was explained that an average of 531 titles was produced per annum. He pointed out that the Library for the blind had 8000 books on cassette.
It was also pointed out that their Braille book storage comprised of 12000 titles. The Director indicated that the Library for the Blind had two Braille printers and that it printed 600,000 pages per annum which equated to 267 titles. Their audio collection storage amounted to 12,000 cassettes.
The Director then pointed out their postal area. He indicated that the postal trucks delivered on a daily basis and that the service was offered free. He said that 131,814 items were circulated per annum.
The Committee was then shown the Collections, Development and Cataloguing Department where it was indicated that the whole process starts in the Department and also ended there.
The Committee observed that the Nelson Mandela Museum at Qunu should be made more accessible to people living with disabilities. They indicated that the ongoing refurbishment was commendable. The Committee also encouraged the NMM to embark on a more robust marketing strategy of the Museum.
The Committee encouraged the South African Library for the Blind (SALB) to engage with the Department of Education and the Department of Science and Technology. The Library for the Blind was also encouraged to utilize the services of the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) to enable them to pass scarce skills that pertain to the development of Braille services to the youth.
The Committee recommends that the Minister of Arts and Culture should ensure that:
· The Nelson Mandela Museum is advised to embark on a more robust marketing campaign for the Museum.
· The Nelson Mandela Museum foster closer relations with the Provincial Department of Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture and the National Department of Tourism.
· The South African Library for the Blind foster closer relations with the Department of Basic Education, Department of Higher Education and Training and the Department of Science and Technology to assist them with the purchasing, development and implementation of technology associated with people who are blind or visually impaired.
· The South African Library for the Blind utilize the services of the National Youth Development Agency to facilitate the transfer of scarce skills, to young people, associated with the technology needed in the production of Braille services.
· The South African Library for the Blind approach the National Lotteries Distribution Trust Fund (NLDTF) for more funding.
Report to be considered
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