by Harold McGluwa, MPL – DA Northern Cape Provincial Chairperson & Chief Whip of the Provincial Caucus
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Date: 17 April 2018
The DA is to probe the state of libraries in the Northern Cape amidst concern that library services in the province remain neglected.
A reply to a parliamentary question last year revealed that the Northern Cape had ten dysfunctional libraries with the worst libraries situated in the poorest areas of the province.
These ten libraries have been closed for more than a year with no definitive answer on reopening or maintenance from the department. These libraries have suffered vandalism, staff shortages, arson during protests and building upgrades that have yet to be completed.
The number of dysfunctional libraries is of grave concern to the DA as it has an impact on the pass rate of students in the affected communities.
Community members have appealed to the department to reopen the libraries as the closure of the facilities has a knock-on effect on quality education for learners. Learners have no immediate access to information and have to pay to travel to the closest facility or to obtain information, and jobseekers are also being denied access to free internet services.
The DA has submitted a parliamentary question to ascertain whether anything has been done concerning the large number of dysfunctional libraries in the province, as it is increasingly evident that the department is not committed to ensuring that the province has functioning community-based libraries.
Evidence of this is the reduction in the Community Library Services Grant as a result of slow spending patterns.
The DA believes that libraries are a vital community resource and we will continue holding the department accountable to ensure that all dysfunctional libraries in the Northern Cape are properly fixed and reopened as a matter of urgency.
Harold McGluwa, MPL
DA Northern Cape Provincial Chairperson & Chief Whip of the Provincial Caucus
082 440 1779
079 226 0991