by Harold McGluwa – DA Northern Cape Provincial Chairperson & Chief Whip of the Provincial Caucus
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Date: 04 April 2018
The DA is concerned about the trend in the underspending of the community library services grant in the province.
The recurrence of underspending came to light during a National Treasury presentation to the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature just before the Easter Weekend.
According to the presentation made by National Treasury, the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture had once again underspent the community library services grant by utilising only 57% of the budget allocated. At the end of the previous financial year, only 88% of the community library services grant had been used.
The department’s inability to properly utilise the grant means that they are failing to procure books for libraries as well as providing maintenance at existing libraries.
Towards the end of September last year, the department had only managed to reach half its annual goal of 60 000 library materials procured.
Promises for maintenance to be completed at various libraries have also yet to be realised. The Inase Harry Moshoeu Library in Barkley West has been closed for over a year with no definite answer from the department.
Under expenditure of grants puts the province at risk of losing valuable money that could enhance service delivery.
In fact, the impact of the underspending can already be seen in the respective department.
The budget for 2017/18 showed an overall decrease of R7.710 million. This emanated from a reduction in the Community Library Services Grant and rollovers.
The MTEF for 2018/2019 shows that there will be a further decrease in the community library services grant in the new financial year.
Libraries enable societies to gain access to information that will improve their social and economic situation. They also increase opportunities for lifelong learning and social development to all communities in the province by providing access to free, equitable and sustainable library and information services.
The DA will probe the matter at the upcoming budget presentation of the department. We want to know what the real reasons for underspending are, as libraries seem not to be taken seriously.
The DA values the critical role that libraries play in improving and assisting education in our province and we therefore need to prioritise the functionality of libraries.
DA Northern Cape Provincial Chairperson & Chief Whip of the Provincial Caucus
082 440 1779
079 2260 991