ATC170307: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Arts and Culture on the visit to the Perfomring Arts Centre of the Free State, 02 December 2016, dated 07 March 2017
REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON ARTS AND CULTURE ON THE VISIT TO THE PERFOMRING ARTS CENTRE OF THE FREE STATE, 02 DECEMBER 2016, Dated 07 March 2017
The Portfolio Committee on Arts and Culture (the Committee) having conducted an oversight visit to the Performing Arts Centre of the Free State, in Bloemfontein, reports as follows:
The Portfolio Committee on Arts and Culture conducted an oversight visit to the Performing Arts Centre of the Free State (PACOFS) on 2 December 2016. The PACOFS is a Declared Cultural Institution, in terms of the Cultural Institutions Act, Act No. 119 of 1998. Declared Cultural Institutions are managed by a Council which is appointed by the Minister of Arts and Culture for a term of three years. The Minister may extend the term of Council or reappoint current members of Council for an unlimited term. The Council acts as an Accounting Authority and it is responsible for the appointment of staff of the institution.
The Performing Arts Centre of the Free State (PACOFS) is a performing arts institution and is a relatively new institution within the family of the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC).
The Committee had previously visited PACOFS in November 2014 to understand the challenges faced by the institution to find ways to deal with them. In this current oversight, the Committee focused on, among others, the following crucial areas:
- Management issues;
- Labour relation issues;
- Wasteful expenditure in the entity; and
Relations between management and employees;
As part of the oversight, the Committee received briefings from the Council of the entity, the interim CEO and listened to the workers.
This report provides a summary of the key issues that emerged from the interaction with Council, interim CEO and the workers as well as the Portfolio Committee’s deliberations, observations and recommendations.
- COMPOSITION OF THE DELEGATION
- Members of the Portfolio Committee
The delegation consisted of the following members:
Hon Ms. NK Bilankulu (ANC); Hon Mr. JL Mahlangu (ANC); Hon Mr. T Makondo (ANC); Hon Ms. SP Tsoleli (ANC); Hon Ms. XS Tom (Chairperson and leader of delegation); Hon Dr. A Grootboom (DA) and Hon Mr. Rabotapi (DA).
- Parliamentary support staff
Ms. A Mtiya (Committee Secretary); Mr. J van de Westhuizen (Committee Assistant) and Mr. L Komle (Content Advisor).
- Department of Arts and Culture
Ms. T Maloa (Director: Entities Management); Mr. R Mudua (Parliamentary Liaison Officer); Dr. S Tyiso (Chief Director: Coordinator, Monitoring and Evaluation and Governance); Ms. M Mogotsi (Deputy Director); Mr. S Nkanunu (Parliamentary Liaison Officer) and Ms. L Moeng (Portfolio Manager).
- Preforming Arts Centre of the Free State
Ms. A Msimang (Council Chairperson); Mr. F Wetes (Council Member) and Ms. A Lebethe (Interim Chief Executive Officer).
- PERFORMING ARTS CENTRE OF THE FREE STATE
The Performing Arts Centre of the Free State is the Theatre with high level recording studios. The Theatre is at the Centre of Bloemfontein and is responsible for the development of the performing arts.
The Committee observed the following:
- Appointment of an Accounting Officer
The Committee observed that to date the organization has not appointed a Chief Executive Officer. The constant appointment of Acting Chief Executive Officers created instability within the organisation such that PACOFS matters have deteriorated. Infighting is continuing at PACOFS.
- Non- Compliance with Good Governance and Labour Laws
The Committee further observed the institution had violated the labour laws by altering the conditions of employment of workers without proper consultation with the affected workers. The affected workers were “transferred” from the kitchen to household services/ cleaning services. This means that their contracts had to be changed so that it relates to their current work.
The Committee further noted that the entity does not follow proper processes in dealing with the suspensions and dismissals. This is so because the entity does not have a disciplinary code, which they should use to give duration of suspension and share that duration with the suspended employees. This is against the LRA (section 185), which states that every employee has the right not to be unfairly dismissed or subjected to unfair labour practice, therefore the suspension of these employees is deemed a sanction and that is unfair labour practice.
- Lack of Monitoring and Evaluation by the Department of Arts
The Committee observed that the Department did not provide adequate monitoring over the institution. If the Department had performed its monitoring over the entity then the matters raised during the oversight could have been resolved amicably between staff and management.
- Lack of Leadership and Communication between Management and Staff
The Committee observed that there was no communication between management and staff. There were no recorded staff meetings or a meeting calendar for engagements between staff and management. Accounting Authority could not produce minutes of meetings were decisions were taken.
There was also a culture of distrust and colluding amongst staff and managers in different camps. This could have been compounded by the fact that some managers were members on a recently established union (SALIPSWA). It was alleged that managers targeted those who do not belong to this new union.
- Lack of Accountability form the Accounting Authority
The Accounting Authority was represented by two members and this did not constitute a quorum. The Council members who were absent had not submitted written apologies. The Committee observed that the Council did not have a healthy working relationship, which would ultimately affect decision making on the part of the Accounting Authority.
The Committee recommends the following:
- The entity should appoint a permanent Chief Executive Officer for the stability of the organisation;
- The entity should not violate labour laws and flout procedures;
- The entity should develop a disciplinary code that is in line with the Labour Relations Act;
- The entity should ensure that the Human Resources Unit is capacitated to deal with labour issues;
- The Department should ensure that it strengthens its monitoring and evaluation systems over its entities;
- Management should host regular staff meetings and the meeting calendar has to be submitted to the Department;
- The entity should look at the issue of the new union as it does not have a majority to be recognised. The union can only be a forum in line with the Labour Relations Act;
- Management should consult unions in their decision making and not only inform them of their decisions, as this may lead to unnecessary conflicts; and
- The institution should build a corporate culture.
Report to be considered.
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