ATC131023: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Arts and Culture on an oversight visit to public entities and historical sites in the KwaZulu-Natal Province from 31 July 2012 to 2 August 2012, dated 16 October 2013

Arts and Culture

Report of the Portfolio Committee on Arts and Culture on an oversight visit to public entities and historical sites in the KwaZulu-Natal Province from 31 July 2012 to 2 August 2012, dated 16 October 2013

The Portfolio Committee on Arts and Culture conducted an oversight visit to the Msunduzi Museum, KwaZulu-Natal Museum, Luthuli Museum and declared gravesites of liberation stalwarts JT Gumede, JL Dube, Albert Luthuli and Bertha Mkhize in the KwaZulu-Natal Province.

1. Introduction

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 by public finance embarked on an oversight visit to entities and historical sites that are funded by the Department of Arts and Culture in KwaZulu-Natal from 31 July 2012 to 2 August 2012.

2. Terms of Reference

The entities and historical sites that the Portfolio Committee visited were the Msunduzi Museum, KwaZulu-Natal Museum, Luthuli Museum and declared gravesites of JT Gumede, JL Dube, Luthuli and Bertha Mkhize in the KwaZulu-Natal Province.

The objectives of the oversight visit were as follows:

  • To detect and prevent abuse of public funds;
  • To prevent illegal and unconstitutional conduct on the part of the government;
  • To protect the rights and liberties of citizens;
  • To hold the government accountable on how taxpayers money is spent;
  • To make government operations more transparent and increase public trust in government;
  • To assess whether the entities complied with government priorities; and
  • To assess challenges that the entities were faced with.

3. Delegations

The delegation consisted of the following:

Committee Members:

Hon Ms TB Sunduza (ANC)                    Chairperson and leader of the delegation

Hon Ms LN Moss (ANC)                         Committee Whip

Hon Mr. DW Mavunda (ANC)

Hon Mrs. TLP Nwamitwa - Shilubana (ANC)

Hon Mrs. FF Mushwana (ANC)

Hon Mr N van den Berg (DA)

Hon Mr. P Ntshiqela (COPE)

Hon MS HS Msweli (IFP)

Hon Mr. SZ Ntapane (UDM)

Parliamentary Officials

Mr. J van der Westhuizen                                   -           Acting Committee Secretary

Ms A Mtiya                                                       -           Committee Secretary

Dr H Baloyi                                                       -           Committee Researcher

Ms V Magadana                                                -           Executive Secretary to the Chairperson

Mr. S Mokoena                                      -           Parliamentary Media Liaison Officer

Department of Arts and Culture (DAC)

Mr. S    Tsanyane                                              -           Deputy Director, Heritage and                                                                                                    Knowledge Preservation

South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA )

Mr. T Phili                                                         Coordinator, Burial Grounds and Graves Unit

4. Findings

4.1 Msunduzi Museum, Pietermaritzburg

The Museum’s main building was originally the Long Market Street Girls Primary School- until 1974, when the school moved to its current premises. It was built in 1905 according to a design by architect AE Dainton, who modelled it on schools in England and Europe.

The building was declared a National Monument in 1975. In 1985 the building became the property of the Voortrekker Museum and since October 1995 had been used as such. The main focus of the Museum was the history of settlement during the nineteen century which includes the Voortrekkers, English Settlers, Zulus, Coloureds and Indians. The Museum attained a clean audit for the 2010/2011 financial year.

Upon arrival at the Museum the Committee was welcomed by Prof Z Khumalo (Chairperson of the Museum Council);  Mr. M. Ngubane (Museum Director); Mr. G Torlage (Deputy Director); Mr. P Mvubu (Chief Financial Officer); Mr. R Wood (Head of Department: Exhibitions); Ms R Mulder (Chief Education Officer); Mrs. E Olivier (Research Officer); Mr. M Zungu (Research Officer); Ms N Bujela (Outreach Officer); Mr. D Ngobese (Manager: Ncome Museum); Ms P Ngubane (Personal Assistant to the Museum Director) and Mr. T Khumalo (Administration Officer). The Committee was also accompanied, in the spirit of cooperative governance by the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Arts and Culture Hon Mrs. VV Tambo, MPL, KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Legislature.

Mr. M Ngubane took the Committee through a presentation. He briefly outlined the vision, mission, values and strategic goals of the Museum. He outlined their governance structure and compliance imperatives. He pointed out that the Msunduzi Museum also had the Ncome Museum as a satellite and that their total staff complement consisted of 38 staff members.

He outlined their internal control measures as follows:

·         Internal audits were carried out twice per year

·         Management meetings were held on a monthly basis

·         Head of Departments also met monthly

·         Staff meetings were also held monthly

·         Strategic meetings held annually

·         Their risk policy that they had in place was reviewed on an annual basis

·         They have a Supply Chain Management policy in place

·         Their disaster management plan was also reviewed periodically

·          A Health and Safety Committee was in place

·         They also had 24 hour security which was linked to an armed response company.

He gave a financial overview of their income which comprised of government grants, operating grants, transformation grants, operating expenditure, income from investments, salary increases, grant increases and the Department of Public Services and Administration salary increases.

Mr. Ngubane highlighted their challenges as follows:

·         Relative to the size of the institution and its staff they were the most poorly funded of all cultural institutions.

·         Annually ratio personnel to their operational funding increased rapidly and it would result in:

Ø  Ever diminished service delivery; and

Ø  Further compounded by the fact that the Msunduzi and Ncome Museums had in recent years been supplied with additional buildings, but no additional staff or funding to administer/ fully utilize them.

·         The Ncome Museum had been provided with buildings which included a community hall, library, staff offices, staff and tourist accommodation and a restaurant, but yet no furniture, equipment or staff to utilize/administer them had been provided or budgeted for.

·         The road to the Ncome Museum (+/- 25 Km) was a gravel road and during the rainy season it was difficult to utilize.

·         National Treasury had steadily been increasing the compliance requirements and in order for them to fulfil these requirements it required additional expenses and time commitment. No additional funding or staff had been provided, resulting in more pressure on the administration and professional staff.

He explained that all of abovementioned had an adverse effect on the Museum’s core activities. Notwithstanding all of their challenges the Museum also had some successes. He outlined these as follows:

·         They had successive clean audits;

·         The Museum had been transformed from a single theme museum to a multi-cultural one;

·         The Museum had a new name;

·         The Museum was celebrating its centenary;

·         The Museum had a unique and well preserved collection;

·         The Museum had well preserved historic buildings;

·         The Museum was well maintained;

·         The Museum had a committed staff complement;

·         The Museum had successfully secured considerable funding from the National Lotteries Distribution Trust Fund for designated projects;

·         The Ncome Museum and Blood River Heritage Site was envisaged to be linked by a “ Reconciliation Bridge” ; and

·         The Museum was in the process of publishing a comprehensive history book

In terms of job creation, rural development and the Museum’s impact on tourism he highlighted the following:

·         The Museum was in the process of filling seven internship positions. They would provide specific training and four of the interns were from the rural areas;

·         The Ncome Museum Phase two development contracts was launched in June 2012. The value of the contract was R39 445 558 96 and it had a labour component of 48 from the local rural community;

·         Monthly craft markets were held on the Msunduzi Museum premises with free space provided for to vendors;

·         Regular crafts training was provided at the Msunduzi Museum;

·         The Msunduzi and Ncome Museums were marketed in various ways that included the Internet and Facebook;

·         A major museum item collection project was in the process of being launched in the Ncome area. It would provide for an injection of funding in the area; and

·         An annual dance festival was held at Ncome with prices totalling over R50 000 which could be won by local community members.

Mr Ngubane informed the Committee that the Museum was commended for submitting financial statements that were free of material misstatements. In terms of their internal controls, leadership, governance and financial and performance management systems there were no material findings noted.

He highlighted the projects that the Museum had currently undertaken as follows:

·         Voortrekker Complex:

Ø  New exhibitions

Ø  The Church of the Vow publication

·         Pietermaritzburg Exhibitions (local history):

Ø  Street name changes

Ø  The history of sport in the city

·         Discovery Centre:

Ø  The development of sound and dance exhibition

·         Centenary Book:

Ø  The design and printing of the centenary book

·         Ncome Museum:

Ø  The collection of Stone and Iron Age, Rock Art Museum Items

Ø  The refurbishment of exterior exhibitions

·         Functions/Commemorations:

Ø  Heritage day celebrations

Ø  Two Women’s Day functions

Ø  Reconciliation Day Commemorative functions

Mr. Ngubane thanked the Committee for the opportunity to present on their challenges and successes at the Museum. He invited the Committee to accompany him on a tour of the museum premises.

The Committee was taken on a tour of the facilities. The exhibitions consisted of the tapestry of cultures that included the “Coloured exhibition, Zulu exhibition, Indian exhibition, Prince Imperial, Musical instruments, Bambatha exhibition and the Cattle in cultures”. The ground floor and reception area had the Birth of democracy, the Nelson Mandela exhibition, political violence in Pietermaritzburg and the Road to democracy as part of the display.The Voortrekker Complex consisted of the Church of the Vow, the Andries Pretorius House and the Collection Building.

4.2 Grave site of JT Gumede

In his 2012 State of the Nation Address, the President Jacob Zuma identified the unveiling of museums and centres, homes and graves of liberation struggle stalwarts, memorial sites as key priorities in the Arts and Culture sector. The Department of Arts and Culture had thus responded to this call by introducing the “Liberation Heritage Route” which would include the graves and homes of liberation struggle stalwarts.

It is Parliament’s primary role to scrutinise and oversee the executive in terms of the delivery of these priorities. The Committee thus embarked on these visits to satisfy itself that progress had been made in the KwaZulu- Natal Province in terms of delivery of the Legacy Projects.

The Committee was welcomed by Mr. Troy Phili; Manager; Burial Grounds and Graves; South African Heritage Resources Agency. He indicated that graves older than 60 years could not be altered and that it was protected by the South African Heritage Resources Act. He pointed out that they were in constant consultation with the Provincial Heritage Resources Authority (PHRA) to obtain the necessary permits.

He informed the Committee that the timeframe associated with the upgrading of the graves of all liberation struggle stalwarts was 31 September 2012. He indicated that the maximum amount associated with the upgrades was R250, 000.00 and that an interpretative plaque was still to be placed at the headstone of JT Gumede. The South African Heritage Resources Agency had not developed Management Plans for the maintenance of the graves, but the families had been informed of the implications of the declaration of the grave sites.

4.3 KwaZulu-Natal Museum

Upon arrival at the KwaZulu-Natal Museum the Committee was welcomed by Mr. L Maphasa (Museum Director), and he was accompanied by Ms N Zondi (Personal Assistant to the Museum Director); Dr C Thorp, (Assistant Director: Department of Human Sciences); Ms B Johnson, (Acting Assistant Director: Exhibitions); Ms R Mayaza(Chief Technical Officer); Professor D Brothers ( Council Member); Dr EM Zungu (Council Member); Mr. M Mazibuko (Manager: Finance and Administration); Mrs. V Frank (Chief Public Relations and Marketing Officer); Ms V Dlomo (Chief Librarian); Mrs S Mchunu (Assistant Director: Education). The Committee was also joined by a Member of the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Portfolio Committee on Arts and Culture, Hon Dr U Roopnarian and she was accompanied by Ms M Madondo, Committee Co-coordinator, Provincial Portfolio Committee on Arts and Culture.

Mr Maphasa explained that the Museum had celebrated 100 years of existence. The Museum was also celebrating 150 years of Indentured Indians in the RSA. He gave a brief background on the institutional mandate and their strategic focus. The Museum has the following focus areas for the next five (5) years:

·         Nation Building and Social Cohesion;

·         Economic Development;

·         Skills Development;

·         Preservation, development and promotion of heritage; and

·         Access and preservation of libraries and archives.

He explained that the Museum had drafted a new organisational structure, but that they were still awaiting approval from the Department of Arts and Culture. The current Council has also not been inaugurated. The Museum had a record of 87000 visitors for the 2011/2012 financial year.

The Museum also had challenges with regards to the following:

·         The Budgets for the 2008/2009-2011/2012 financial years;

·         Economic Development;

·         Skills development and retention;

·         Public Works Projects; and

·         Transformation

The Department of Arts and Culture has allocated R500 million for the renovation and upgrade of the Museum Building. They requested the Department of Arts and Culture to allow themselves to put the whole project out to tender as opposed to allowing the National Department of Public Works to facilitate the whole process.

4.4 Grave site of JL Dube

The grave site is situated on the premises of the Ohlange Institute. Mr Nelson Mandela casted his vote at the institute in respect of Dr. JL Dube. The Department of Arts and Culture established a steering committee to facilitate the renovation of the grave site. They had to apply for a permit from the provincial heritage body, Amafa AkwaZulu-Natali in order to improve the gravesite. The Department of Arts and Culture also planned to purchase a house on the premises of the Institute and planned in converting it into an interpretive centre. There has however been a delay with the National Department of Public Works on its purchase. The purpose of the interpretation centre would be to narrate Dube’s life story. An amount of R3 million has been allocated for the whole project and would be administered by a Project Management Team.

4.5 Albert Luthuli Museum

The oversight to the Museum was preceded by a wreath laying ceremony at the grave site of Chief Albert Luthuli. The ceremony was conducted by Rev Faith Nomvete. The Committee was welcomed by Mr Jabulani Sithole (Chairperson of the Albert Luthuli Museum Council). He was accompanied by Mr B Xaba (Museum Director); Dr Albertina Luthuli (Council Member); Mrs Nozuko Yokwana (Council Member); Mr.TP Mapipa-Ndlovu (Council Member); Mr. T Ncwane (Finance Manager); Mrs. Heidi Gibson(Marketing Manager); Mr Sinothi Thabethe (Museum Curator) and Mr. T Phili from SAHRA.

Mr Xaba gave a brief background to the vision, mission and strategic objectives of the Museum. The Museum planned on undertaking steps to engage the surrounding community on the role of the museum in the community was and its limitations on adding value to the lives of the community of Groutville. They also planned on engaging other parties like the South African Police Services that is responsible for sectoral policing and the local Municipality to strengthen working relationships.

The Museum had a high turnover of professional and technical staff in the positions of Research, Education, Curatorial, Marketing and finance. The high turnover hampered work continuity and institutional growth. The Museum envisaged approaching the Human Resources Council and the Remuneration Committee to determine if there was a need to incentivize or develop a staff retention policy, with emphasis on those positions that were deemed critical to the core functions of the Museum. The current staff complement was 16 staff members.

The Museum also has funding constraints related to the limited grant funding which present a risk in the advancement and profiling of the Museum and the legacy of Chief Albert Luthuli. This constraint impacted negatively on their operational capacity and made it difficult for them to meet their legislative mandate. As an interim measure the Museum planned on developing a business case for submission to the Department of Arts and Culture and National Treasury for the review and increase if their funding grant. They were currently using investment funds to achieve some of the institutional mandates.

In addition to the abovementioned the museum also had the following challenges:

·         Operational Space/ facilities constraints

·         Funding sustainability

·         Lack of proper museum signage on the N2 and R102 highways leading to the museum

·         Insufficient museum acquisitions

·         High community expectations and aspirations

Notwithstanding the challenges they were faced with they experienced the following successes:

·         Increased support from the local community

·         The increase of their National footprint or profile

·         Positive external audit outcomes since 2009/2010

·         The digitization of the museum collections and the establishment of the museum online catalogue

·         Greening of the Luthuli Museum (COP17)

Report to be considered.


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