Department of Arts and Culture 2010/11 Annual Report briefing
Department of Arts and Culture Annual Report 2010/2011[awaited]
cohesion and nation building, skills development, economic development, development, preservation and promotion of Arts, Culture and Heritage, and preservation of access to information. The DAC had achieved an unqualified audit, although the Auditor-General had raised instances of unauthorised, fruitless and irregular expenditure. The DAC currently had a vacancy rate of 27.6%, and this presented a challenge to its ability to do its work. It had managed to spend 92% of the budget.
Members asked about the inscriptions on monuments at various sites, and asked how the DAC attempted to present a more balanced version of history, including the renaming of buildings, roads or other sites. They enquired about the use of consultants, and why they had been appointed in particular projects. They wanted to know more about the Investing In Culture programme, which was being investigated, and the moratorium placed on further projects, and about the under-utilisation of the community arts centres in the provinces. Following on the problems with the previous programmes, they asked how the DAC was now monitoring projects to ensure that corruption and fraud did not recur and what it was doing to discipline those involved in mismanagement. They asked about the learnerships, and how the bursary holders were being monitored, as well as what the DAC was now doing to ensure that entities would report quarterly. They asked what the DAC was doing to build the South African brand and reputation, noted that there was a need to ensure that everyone knew the anthem, that the flags were being displayed, and what its involvement was in particular festivals. Members were also interested in how DAC was developing skills, particularly newcomers into the film and performing arts industries, and what it was doing to try to counter piracy. Questions were asked about the management and maintenance of fan parks, stadiums and other structures that were put up for the World Cup, and what the relationship was with the Department of Sport and Recreation. Members also requested information on certain personnel matters from the Annual Report, National Archives, library upgrades, translation of documents into “African languages”, funding of museums, whether the DAC received National Lottery funding, maintenance of monuments and staff remuneration, and discrepancies in the figures. Many of the questions remained to be answered in writing. In particular, the Committee wanted a full explanation on the terms and timelines for the SIU investigations, a detailed written report on the spending patterns in the provinces, details of legacy projects in provinces, and a presentation would also be required on the World Cup projects and legacy.
Department of Arts and Culture 2010/11 Annual Report briefing
Mr Sibusiso Xaba, Director-General, Department of Arts and Culture, introduced the members of the delegation from the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC or the Department).
The Chairperson asked why the Chief Financial Officer was not present.
Mr Xaba replied that the Chief Financial Officer was making a presentation to the Portfolio Committee on Arts and Culture.
Mr W Faber (DA, Northern Cape) said that this problem of having a split delegation and simultaneous meetings had occurred previously, and should be addressed.
Mr Xaba noted that this issue had been raised with both Committees, but neither the Select Committee nor the Portfolio Committee had been willing to reschedule.
Mr Xaba summarised that in the 2010/11 financial year it was discovered that many provinces showed deteriorating spending patterns when compared to the previous financial year, notably on unauthorised and wasteful expenditure. Issues such as legacy projects from the 2010 World Cup, the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) investigations, and worsening spending patterns by provinces still needed to be addressed. In respect of these matters, written replies and reports would be provided to the Committee by the Department.
Mr Xaba then started with the main body of the presentation, noting the vision, Constitutional mandate and the outcomes of the Department (see attached presentation for details). He pointed out specifically that the Constitutional mandate referred to the Department having to promote freedom of the press and other media, in line with section 16(1)(a) of the Constitution, which was particularly relevant because of the protests outside Parliament on the previous day.
Mr Xaba noted that in 2010/11 the Department of Arts and Culture had introduced four Bills into Parliament: the South African Language Bill, the South African Language Practitioners Council Bill, the South African Community Library and Information Services Bill and the Cultural Laws Third Amendment Bill. The 2010 World Cup also led to various projects in which the DAC became involved.
Mr Xaba outlined that DAC’s work was aligned to five main priorities of government, which were social cohesion and nation building, skills development, economic development, development, preservation and promotion of Arts, Culture and Heritage, and preservation of access to information.
Mr Xaba noted that the DAC received an unqualified audit in the 2010/11 financial year. However, there were issues raised by the Auditor-General in relation to unauthorised, fruitless and irregular expenditure. These were fully explained in the presentation (see attached document for full details).
Mr Xaba outlined the vacant posts, appointment and terminations in relation to human resources. He also presented the racial, gender and disability make-up in the Department. The current vacancy rate of 27.6% presented a challenge to the proper functioning of the Department.
Mr Xaba concluded that there the DAC had performed reasonably well, in the light of the challenges that it had faced. He added that 92% of the budget had been spent and the unqualified Audit Report was a significant achievement. However, the reporting on predetermined objectives, and other issues raised in the Auditor General’s report, the high vacancy rate in the Department, and under-expenditure on some projects posed significant challenges to its work.
Ms B Mncube (ANC, Gauteng) noted that there was a monument at the Battlefield in Isaldwana. The monument referred to ‘Queen’ and related to South Africa’s past as a British colony.
Mr Xaba replied that history could always be seen as skewed, depending on who had written about it. Legacy projects attempted to address this, hence the building of other museums. The other, older museums would stay, because they were also important, but the other side of the story should at least be told. For example, there would be a road between the Voortrekker Museum and the Freedom Park, which would link South Africa’s different national histories.
Ms Mncube noted that the DAC appointed consultants for various projects. She asked for details of those projects.
Mr Xaba replied that there were three areas where consultants were used. Firstly, they were used where work was for a short duration, such as the 2010 World Cup. Secondly, they were employed when other skills were absent, such as for the development of econometric models. Thirdly, consultants were used where capacity could be developed through using them.
Ms Mncube commented on the Investing in Culture programme and the moratorium on further projects.
Mr Xaba answered that there were over 339 community art centres in the country. Most of them were administered by local governments. Most were in a state of disrepair, and were not being used properly, with their use largely limited to holding funerals and weddings there. The DAC was conducting negotiations with National Treasury to develop a conditional grant for community art centres. Metropolitan art centres were operating much better.
An ANC Member commented on the DAC’s participation in Expanded Public Works Programmes (EPWP) programmes as well as learnerships, and asked for more information on these.
Mr Xaba replied that the EPWP programme was the Investing in Culture Programme, which had already been elaborated upon. Learnerships were being implemented in the next year, but had not been available in this year owing to budgetary constraints.
An ANC Member commented on the moratorium on further projects that had been mentioned in the presentation, and asked for more details on this as well.
Mr Xaba commented on the Investing in Culture programme. There were allegations of corruption and fraud in that programme. The programme had been scaled down and was being managed through Pretoria and provincial offices. Other projects had also been adversely affected by the investigation into this programme. At the end of this financial year, funds would be redirected to other programmes of the DAC.
Mr T Mashamaite (ANC, Limpopo) commended the DAC on the improvement shown in this financial year, especially the actions taken when officials had been found to be corrupt. He asked for more details of the Department’s strategy when dealing with misconduct.
Mr Xaba noted that programmes such as the Investing in Culture would in future be managed centrally. The DAC did not have provincial offices, so previously such programmes had been managed through other provincial structures, but this would not be done again in future. The DAC had also looked at the budget allocations. There would no longer be a ‘pot’ of money but instead there would be allocations per project, which should improve management and reduce misconduct.
Mr Mashamaite noted that there were some entities that had not reported on a quarterly basis, and asked how this could be improved.
Mr Xaba replied that there had been a change in the relationship with some of those institutions. Joint planning was now being done, and there were other measures in place that improved their working relationships.
Mr Sakiwo Tyiso, Chief Director: Co-ordination, Monitoring and Evaluation, DAC, added that forums had been established and planning was being done on a more co-operative basis. Most institutions had improved their reporting. For example, the Nelson Mandela Museum in the Eastern Cape had improved its reporting, despite moving buildings in the past year.
Mr M de Villiers (DA, Western Cape) asked whether the DAC consistently engaged in activities to build South Africa’s reputation around the world, especially in light of activities in the World Cup.
Mr Xaba noted the ‘Indian season’ last year, and the ‘French season’ that would happen next year. The World Cup was a unique opportunity, but the Department was also engaged in promoting South Africa and its culture at other events such as the Rugby World Cup and the Olympics in London.
Mr De Villiers asked what the DAC involvement was with regard to the Kaapse Klopse and other cultural groups in the Western Cape.
Mr Xaba replied that the funding was uneven. The Department did not manage festivals itself, but would support others to do so. In future there would be two calls for proposals within the financial year, which would help the DAC to plan properly.
Mr De Villiers was concerned with skills development, and asked what the Department was doing to assist people such as script writers, especially newcomers into the industry.
Mr Xaba replied that there were programmes to build screen writers’ capacity, from both a writing perspective and from a business point of view. The problem appeared to be that not every script became a viable film. There were very few good scripts that were being written in South Africa. Interestingly, South African scripts happened to be popular overseas, such as Tsotsi and Jerusalema. For the first time last year a South African film was featured at the Cannes Film Festival.
Mr De Villiers commented on post graduate bursaries, and asked how the Department would monitor the performance of bursary holders.
Mr Xaba noted that this was something that the DAC should look into.
Ms D Rantho (ANC, Eastern Cape) wanted to know whether World Cup fan parks were being maintained after the World Cup, and also asked what had happened to the big screens after the World Cup.
Ms Rantho commented that her constituency required the help of the DAC.
Ms Rantho noted that the national anthem needed to be popularised and a method of behaviour needed to be promoted in schools in South Africa. Furthermore, she indicated that many schools in South Africa did not have the national flag. This needed to be addressed.
Mr Xaba replied that this was a concern. He agreed that not enough people knew the anthem. The DAC had produced CDs and the South African symbol ‘passport’. Mr Xaba believed that the responsibility of the DAC was to make these available, but he believed that it was the patriotic duty of every South African citizen to know the anthem. Adults must know the anthem, and nobody should, as had happened recently, be paid to sing the anthem but not do so properly.
Mr Xaba added that community dialogues were started in 2010. In 2011 there were dialogues in all provinces. For example there was a campaign called ‘South African at Heart’ which came out of those dialogues. The DAC was also working with Brand South Africa to promote South Africa and ‘South African-ness’.
Ms Rantho suggested that the DAC needed to work with the Department of Sports and Recreation to utilise the facilities that had been built, which were currently lying under-utilised.
Mr Tyiso noted that there needed to be a change in thinking at the design phase of all of these projects. They needed to be designed to be used by the communities in which they existed, which had sometimes not been the case in the past.
Ms Rantho referred to someone whose duties had been terminated as a result of illness, referred to in the Annual Report, and asked that more information should provided by the Department.
Mr Xaba explained the independent evaluation of people who were granted temporary disability leave. Some of these people were no longer able to work, and as such had effectively retired.
The Chairperson noted that there was a budget for 100 bursaries, but the Department was reporting 119 bursaries. She asked where those extra funds were found.
Mr Xaba noted that funding was made to the institutions, who in turn funded the specific bursaries. There was a greater demand than was envisaged, and funds had to be reallocated to fill that demand. The Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) did specify the criteria that bursary allocations needed to follow.
The Chairperson wanted further information on the National Archives. She thought that a great deal of money was being wasted, and buildings were lying idle.
The Chairperson also noted that national symbols were a problem. The example of Ventersdorp was raised, where the AWB flag was found in the hospital. She asked how this could be regulated.
Mr Xaba noted that not all South Africans respected the symbols of South Africa, and some people did not know how to display the flag correctly. South Africa needed to be tough, and to uphold the law.
The Chairperson noted that there was a mention in the presentation of upgrading libraries. She asked what this would entail. She pointed out that many of the libraries currently were merely standing as empty buildings.
Mr Tyiso noted that upgrading revolved around infrastructure and operations. In some provinces money had been diverted to other projects instead of being used for libraries, and this needed to be monitored in future.
Mr Xaba noted that there had been reasons for under-expenditure and non-delivery. Some grants had been given, but libraries had not been built. The biggest problem was that the DAC and provinces relied on the Department of Public Works, and that latter department did not see the DAC as a priority. Discussions were ongoing as to how DAC itself could build capacity, especially in the provinces, and the DAC was also working with the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) on different programmes.
The Chairperson referred to the translation of documents into ‘African languages’ and asked why there was no specific reference to the languages that were being used.
Mr Tyiso noted this concern. The Department would in future correct this aspect of their reporting.
The Chairperson referred to current investigations currently being conducted by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU). She asked when these would be finalised so that outstanding issues could be completed.
Mr Xaba noted that final reports were still being written. The DAC was engaging with the management of the SIU because this affected the performance of the DAC.
The Chairperson asked for more details on the Departmental presentation related to employees with disabilities.
Mr Xaba noted that employment of more people with disabilities remained a problem. Space and personnel budgets did not exist to address this problem, but the Department would do the best that it could to achieve the targets set.
Mr W Faber (DA, Northern Cape) commented that all the financial problems in the Department were under investigation.
Mr Faber asked whether or not the Department applied to the National Lottery for funding.
Mr Xaba answered that the DAC did not get funded directly from the National Lottery. The funding system with the Lottery was a challenge. The DAC was engaging with the relevant authorities to help to mainstream that funding to help the DAC.
Mr Faber asked whether there was a specific model or criteria for funding models for museums, and how the funding would be calculated.
Mr Xaba replied that size was the most important factor. There was funding for operations and for infrastructure. From time to time, special exhibitions were also funded. An audit of all of the Department’s buildings had been conducted, and the DAC was currently working on an infrastructure and maintenance plan for all of those buildings. At the moment, the Department tended to respond to direct requests only, but in future, once the plan was in place, the Department would be able to be more proactive.
Mr De Villiers wanted to know whether there was a specific plan for monuments maintenance in all provinces in South Africa. For example, he wanted to know about the maintenance plan for Freedom Park.
Mr De Villiers commented on staff remuneration, in relation to senior personnel, and asked whether the 43.8% increase that was shown in the Annual Report was expected to continue, year-on-year. He also called for a full explanation on this figure.
Mr Xaba replied that middle management was where most of the actual work got done. The higher number of people who received performance rewards meant that it was middle management who had been rewarded.
Mr De Villiers spotted a difference in the figures of the Annual Report, noting that the figures on page 223 of the Annual Report did not match with other figures cited earlier.
Mr Xaba noted that this was obviously a mistake in the report. This would be amended and the corrected figures would be sent through to the Committee.
Mr De Villiers noted page 227 of the Annual Report, and asked if there was a problem with the workload that resulted in staff taking excessive leave.
Mr Mashamaite commented on the situation in the provinces, noting that unauthorised and irregular expenditure had increased. He wanted to know how the Department was managing this and hopefully taking steps to ensure that it did not recur. He pointed out that KwaZulu Natal (KZN) topped the list in regard to irregular expenditure, and he wanted to know how this, in particular, was being addressed.
Mr Mandla Langa, Director of Financial Administration, DAC, replied that this was being monitored and condonation for the irregular expenditure had been requested where applicable.
Ms Mncube commented on geographical name changes and statues. She noted that a Discussion Document had been developed. She asked who bore the responsibility for dealing with statues and buildings that may remind people of a different version of history.
Mr Xaba replied that often name changes were challenged and not agreed to by the communities involved. He noted that the removal of statues from national buildings firstly required the approval of the Heritage Resources Agency.
Ms Mncube noted that under-spending was a problem in most of the provinces’ activities.
An ANC Member commented that piracy was a problem, and wanted to know how the DAC was dealing with piracy of works, which was affecting South African artists.
Mr Xaba replied that the Migration Unit in the Department of Home Affairs had been investigating a great deal of the piracy in South Africa. Much of the pirated material had emanated from outside South Africa’s borders and work was being done by various agencies to prevent this pirated works reaching South Africa. There were public awareness programmes. However, as long as a market existed for these products, it would be difficult to stamp out piracy altogether.
The Chairperson noted that there were many outstanding issues that needed to be addressed in writing.
The Chairperson was not convinced by Mr Xaba’s explanation regarding the SIU’s investigation. Terms of reference and timelines should have been set and should be adhered to.
The Chairperson requested a detailed written report on the spending patterns in the provinces, as raised by Mr Mashamaite, saying that reports on the ground were not often the same as reports that were given to the Committee.
The Chairperson also said that it was important for the Committee to receive details of legacy projects in provinces, in writing. The Chairperson stated that it was worrying that provincial spending patterns were not being monitored. Provinces needed to take their work more seriously and needed better monitoring
Ms Mncube reminded the Committee that the DAC still needed to make a presentation on the legacy of 2010, and the World Cup projects of the DAC in particular.
The Chairperson requested punctuality in starting the meetings in future.
The meeting was adjourned.