ATC170330: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Arts and Culture on an oversight visit to the National Arts Council
Report of the Portfolio Committee on Arts and Culture on an oversight visit to the National Arts Council and the Ditsong Museums of South Africa Satellite Sites ((Willem Prinsloo Museum; Sammy Marks Museum; Pioneer Museum; Natural History Museum; Tswaing Crater Museum; Paul Kruger Museum; Cultural History Museum and the Military History Museum)
The Portfolio Committee on Arts and Culture, having undertaken an oversight visit to the National Arts Council and the Ditsong Museums of South Africa Satellite Sites (Willem Prinsloo Museum; Sammy Marks Museum; Pioneer Museum; Natural History Museum; Tswaing Crater Museum; Paul Kruger Museum; Cultural History Museum and the Military History Museum) , reports as follows:
- The Portfolio Committee on Arts and Culture conducted an oversight visit to the National Arts Council and the Ditsong Museum of South Africa Satellite Sites ((Willem Prinsloo Museum; Sammy Marks Museum; Pioneer Museum; Natural History Museum; Tswaing Crater Museum; Paul Kruger Museum; Cultural History Museum and the Military History Museum) from 27- 30 March 2017.
- The purpose of the oversight was to assess governance, financial management, working conditions as well as labour related issues of the aforementioned entities. The Committee assisted in pinpointing challenges faced by the entities and in finding effective solutions.
1.4 As part of the oversight, the Committee met with the Council, Management, Union and the staff of the National Arts Council to gain first-hand information of the state of governance and challenges faced by the National Arts Council. The Committee visited eight satellite sites of the Ditsong Museums of South Africa namely Willem Prinsloo Museum; Sammy Marks Museum; Pioneer Museum; Natural History Museum; Tswaing Crater Museum; Paul Kruger Museum; Cultural History Museum and the Military History Museum.
1.6 This report provides a summary of the key issues that emerged from the interaction with stakeholders, officials of the national department as well as the Portfolio Committee’s deliberations, observations and recommendations.
- National Arts Council
- Portfolio Committee on Arts and Culture: Hon X Tom, MP (ANC) (Chairperson), Hon JL Mahlangu (ANC), Hon T Makondo (ANC), Hon SP Tsoleli (ANC), Hon P Mogotsi (ANC), Hon NK Bilankulu( ANC), Dr. GA Grootboom (DA), Hon MW Rabotapi (DA)
Apologies: Hon PWA Mulder (FFP) and Hon JA Esterhuizen (IFP).
- National Department of Arts and Culture: Dr. S Tyiso (Chief Director); Ms. T Maloa (Director); Mr. P Phaahla (Deputy Director)
- National Arts Council: Mr. H Ngoato (Council Chairperson); Mr. Z Mkiva (Council Member); Ms. J Dlamini (Council Member); Prof McLean (Council Member); Ms. A Joffe (Council Member); Ms. M van der Spuy (Council Member); Ms. R Mangope (Chief Executive Officer); Mr. D Dhlamini (Chief Financial Officer)
- Staff Members: Ms. AE Mtiya (Committee Secretary), Mr. J van der Westhuizen (Committee Assistant).
- Ditsong Museum of South Africa Sites
- Portfolio Committee on Arts and Culture: Hon X Tom, MP (ANC) (Chairperson), Hon JL Mahlangu (ANC), Hon T Makondo (ANC), Hon SP Tsoleli (ANC), Dr GA Grootboom (DA), Hon MW Rabotapi (DA), Dr. PWA Mulder (FF Plus).
Apologies: Hon NK Bilankulu (ANC), Hon VP Mogotsi (ANC), Hon JA Esterhuizen (IFP), Hon F Mokoena (EFF).
- National Department of Arts and Culture: Dr. Sakiwo Tyiso (Chief Director), Mr S Nkanunu (PLO: Ministry).
- Ditsong Museum: Ms. K Rapoo (Council Chairperson); Mr. B Daniels (Council Member); Mr. M Raolefatane (Council Member); Adv. D Mushwana (Chief Executive Officer)
- Parliamentary Staff: Ms. Ajabulile Mtiya (Committee Secretary), Mr. J van der Westhuizen (Committee Assistant).
- Oversight and Monitoring Visit at National Arts Council
The NAC is a national agency mandated by the Department of Arts and Culture, with the responsibility of developing South Africa’s creative industry by awarding grants to individuals and organisations in the arts. This is embedded in their mission, which is to develop and promote excellence in the arts. The NAC invites applicants to submit their project proposals and applications for bursaries once per annum, in which an independent panel of experts in each of the seven arts disciplines adjudicates on each application and makes recommendations to Council. The Committee has communicated with the Minister of Arts and Culture regarding the issues that have been raised with the Committee regarding the maladministration in the entity which includes personal notches of the Chief Executive Officer and the Chief Financial Officer and the allocation of R1.9 million to the Lalela Project. Subsequently, the Minister instituted an investigation into these allegations and the report is expected to be finalised by 31 May 2017.
- Committees Observations:
- Coercion of appointment of audit committee members: The Committee discovered that during the induction of the Council the Department of Arts and Culture imposed the appointment of audit committee members without the Council knowing the candidates. The Committee found that the Department did not have appointments as an agenda item, such that Council members chose audit committee members without knowing their proper credentials.
- Alignment of salaries to the DPSA: The salaries of staff at the National Arts Council were not aligned to the DPSA salary framework as required by law.
- Performance Bonuses: The pay out of performance bonuses to staff was not consistent. It emerged that some staff members who had performed did not receive their bonuses. Staff members who were on the same level and had performed equally were not paid the same amount. The bonuses were paid out in cash.
- Human Resources Matters: The entity does not have a Human Resources Manager. Recently a 70 year old pensioner, who is a friend of the CEO was appointed on a 12 month contract as a HR Manager. Currently there is no wellness programme in place to assist the staff with their health issues. The Committee also found that the organogram of the entity was not properly constituted and had not been approved. The staff indicated that there were no clear policies in the entity and that some staff members were reprimanded because they were not in the good books of the managers while other staff members did as they please. The Committee also found that there was a staff member who was found to have been in possession of an illegal substance but was not disciplined and there was not repercussions for the misconduct. The Committee also observed that contracts of staff members were changed without consultation and staff had to accept salary decreases.
- Equitable allocation of resources: The allocation of funds was not equal across provinces and the rural areas are neglected. The Committee found that the services were not being extended to the outer provinces and this left a lot of artists at a disadvantage.
- Allocation of funding to the orchestras: The Committee found that the National Arts Council was a conduit for the Department to fund the orchestras. There was no clear legal reason as to why the NAC was performing the allocation on behalf of the Department.
- Personal notches to the CEO and CFO: The CEO and the CFO salaries were increased without approval from the Council. The CEO approved notch increase for herself and the CFO when she was the Accounting Authority.
- Investigation into the Lalela project: The Committee found that the Lalela project was owned by the CEO’s friend. The funding of the Lalela Project came from the CEO’s and not from the National Arts Council funding unit. The Committee also found that the Lalela organizers had received funding previously from the entity but had not accounted for a R50 000.00 allocation. The Lalela project then received R1.9 million without proper processes being followed.
- Communication: There was no communication between the senior managers and middle managers. The staff indicated that at times they were left in the dark such that sometimes they would find out on issues on their own because the managers were not on speaking terms.
- Intimidation: The Committee found that there was a lot of intimidation in the entity and the staff members were afraid to raise issues of concern because they were afraid to be victimized by the CEO.
- Committees Recommendations:
- Coercion of appointment of audit committee members: The Council should at all times be aware when the audit committee members are going to be appointed and the Council should know the audit committee members credentials.
- Alignment of salaries to the DPSA: The Department and the entity should ensure that salaries of staff at NAC are in line with the DPSA salary framework.
- Performance Bonuses: The National Arts Council should ensure proper processes are followed in the payment of performance bonuses. Employees at the same level and performing equally should receive the same bonus.
- Human Resources Matters: The entity should appoint a qualified HR Manager with the requisite skills as soon as possible and simultaneously, the contract of the pensioner who is employed as a HR Manager should be terminated. The HR Unit should relook at the contracts of all staff members and urgently rectify the inconsistencies in those contracts..
- Equitable allocation of resources: The entity should ensure that resources are allocated equally across all provinces so that artists that are in the far flung rural areas are not disadvantaged.
- Allocation of funding to the orchestras: The Department should clarify the role played by NAC in disbursing funds to orchestras. The Department should table the policy that governs the funding allocation of the orchestras to the Committee.
- Personal notches to the CEO and CFO: Notch increases of the CEO and CFO should be reversed as they were done illegally. The Department of Arts and Culture should thoroughly investigate how the CEO awarded herself and the CFO the notches. The investigation should be concluded as soon as possible and the Department should share the findings with the Committee.
- Investigation into the Lalela project: The investigation should be concluded as soon as possible and the Department should share the findings with the Committee.
- Communication: The NAC should have proper communications lines so that all employees are kept abreast about the programmes and projects in the entity.
- Intimidation: The Management should ensure that there is freedom of speech in the entity and that employees are able to express their views without fear of victimization.
- Oversight Visit at Ditsong Museum Satellite Sites
Ditsong was established in 1999 through the Cultural Institutions Act, 1998 (No. 119 of 1998). It is an amalgamation of 3 national museums and 5 historical sites (which are discussed here below) and it is overseen by a Council of Trustees appointed by the Minister of Arts and Culture.
- Willem Prinsloo Museum
Willem Prinsloo Agricultural Museum was donated to the National Museum of Cultural History by the Prinsloo family in 1976 and the rest of the property was obtained in 1980. The site is therefore part of the collections of the NMCH. One of the most important objective of the Museum is be seen in a wider perspective namely that of an Agricultural Museum which reflects the South African agricultural history in a socio-historical context and where possible in a true life setting. The Museum portrays the development of Agriculture from the stone-age until the 19th century.
- Sammy Marks Museum
The Sammy Marks Museum is a Victorian mansion, situated about 23km outside Pretoria. The 48-room mansion belonged to 19th century agricultural, industrial and mining tycoon Sammy Marks. The estate became a museum in 1986 and the life of the Marks family is remembered today in this carefully preserved house museum and is one of the tourist attractions in South Africa that showcases some of the country's old world charm. With the help of the National Cultural History Museum, and later the Ditsong Museum, the house was successfully preserved and turned into a museum. A tour of the estate today provides candid insight into the splendor and opulence in which the so-called Randlords of the time lived.
- Pioneer Museum
Pioneer Museum (Afrikaans for the Pioneer Open-air Museum), is a cultural and "living" museum in the eastern suburbs of Pretoria that reflects the lifestyle of early pioneers or "Voortrekkers" of the early 19th century. It is housed in the oldest building in Pretoria, the 1848 House, and the museum is operated by Ditsong Museums of South Africa. The main tour of the museum follows the history of the 1848 House and the people who inhabited the original farm.
- Natural History Museum
The Ditsong National Museum of Natural History formerly known as the Transvaal Museum was founded on the 1st of December 1892. The Museum has since then acted as custodian and documentation centre of South Africa’s natural heritage. The Museum’s collections and exhibits include hominid fossils from the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site and associated fauna, including Mrs Ples [the nickname attributed to a fossil skull believed to represent a distant relative of all humankind]; fossils, skeletons, skins and mounted specimens of amphibians, fish, invertebrates, reptiles and mammals. It is the only institute in South Africa that offers the local, national and international community the opportunity to view its collections including original fossil material usually denied the public.
- Tswaing Crater Museum
The Tswaing Meteorite Crater is situated some 40km north-north-west of Pretoria. The Crater represents one of the youngest and best-preserved bowl-shaped meteorite impact craters in the world and is also known as the Pretoria Saltpan, or Zoutpan Crater. The name Tswaing stems from the Tswana word meaning place of salt. Tswaing is 2000 ha and also hosts the ruins of a salt mine, parts of which date back 100 years. A variety of game species are found at Tswaing and the site is very popular with birders whim enjoy the diversity of bird species found at Tswaing.
- Paul Kruger
The Kruger house, built in 1884, was the original home of Paul Kruger. The house has been refurbished to reflect the time when the President and his wife, Gezina Kruger, lived there. International admiration for Paul Kruger and the struggle for freedom from British imperialism, his journey to Europe and his exile, are illustrated in the exhibitions. Adjacent to the Kruger Museum is the former Bantu Commissioner’s Office Building, erected in 1932 on the same site as the old Native Pass Office.
- Cultural History Museum
The National Cultural History Museum explores South Africa’s cultural diversity in various permanent and temporary exhibitions. The Art Gallery presents an overview of South African culture through time, using cultural objects, crafts, sculpture and paintings and an exhibition on Marabastad is a true example of a cosmopolitan and fully integrated rainbow nation before apartheid.
- Military History Museum
In 1940, Captain J Agar-Hamilton was appointed official historian of the Union Defense Forces. The formation of a Historical Research Committee that same year was to ensure the preservation of documents and military memorabilia and lay the foundation for the establishment of a museum. The Military History Museum was previously known as the South African National Museum of Military History and its scope included the history of all military conflict in which South Africans have played a part. The Museum also serves as a popular and unusual venue for conferences and other functions.
In 1999, following the restructuring process of national museums, the Museum was amalgamated together with the Transvaal Museum of Natural History and the National Cultural History Museum into the Northern Flagship Institution. This institution was renamed Ditsong: Museums of South Africa in 2009 and the Museum is now called the Ditsong National Museum of Military History.
The Museum is also regarded as the spiritual and symbolic home for all soldiers and veterans in South Africa. As a result, a number of veterans’ organizations use the Museum as their headquarters.
- Committees Observations:
- Infrastructure: The Committee observed that the buildings were old and that they needed to be properly maintained in order to preserve the original state. The Committee further observed that even though they were not properly maintained by the Department of Public Works the entities tried to keep them in good condition.
- Security: The Committee observed that there was a need for proper security at the museums to safe guard all valuable artefacts.
- Committees Recommendations:
- Infrastructure: The DAC with the Department of Public Works should ensure that they assist the Museum to keep the buildings in good condition.
- Security: All museums should appoint credible security companies in order to keep the valuable artefacts safe.
The Committee indicated that a report would be generated on the oversight and monitoring visit and findings and recommendations contained in the report would be communicated to the Minister of Arts and Culture and the entities for their attention and implementation.
The delegation, led by Hon XS Tom MP (Chairperson: Portfolio Committee on Arts and Culture), thanked Officials from the National Department of Arts and Culture for the support given during the oversight visit. All the planned visits were conducted and all stakeholders accommodated the delegation and the Committee is grateful for this.
Report to be considered.
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