by Harold McGluwa, MPL – DA Northern Cape Provincial Chairperson & Chief Whip of the Provincial Caucus
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Date: 14 June 2018
Note to editors: The following is an extract of the speech delivered today by the DA Provincial Chairperson, Harold McGluwa, MPL, during the debate on the budget of the Department of Sport, Arts & Culture at a sitting of the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature held in Colesburg.
The Northern Cape Department of Sport, Arts and Culture has proven itself to be a department of “good intentions”, but these “good intentions”, however, never materialize. What makes this so worrying, is the fact that this department, next to Education, has the future of our youth in its hands. I am therefore not just here to highlight the shortcomings of this department; or dictate to this department how to do its job. I am also here to speak on behalf of our forgotten youth, who have unending potential but no opportunities.
In this regard, I must be the voice of:
• The sportsmen and women of this province;
• The singers, songwriters, poets and storytellers; and
• The unemployed youth, whose future has been indefinitely put on hold.
Our youth are suffering under the inaction of this department. They do not receive the support they deserve to represent the province nationally and internationally. We have athletes like powerlifter Ricardo Fitzpatrick, for example, who struggled to finance his participation in the Commonwealth Games earlier this year. Our own Magareng Young Stars Football Club participating in the ABC Motsepe League play-offs, but we know they will require much more support in order to represent the province in the National First Division.
It should not have to be necessary for Bloem Celtic to move to Kimberley in order for the Northern Cape to be represented in the highest levels of our soccer leagues!
The lack of support and development starts with the poor provisions made for school sport in the province. A challenging relationship between this department and the Department of Education, is to a large extent the reason why school sport is suffering.
The MEC of Education said in her budget speech that she will promote mass participation through sports at school cluster level in collaboration with the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture to strengthen our efforts and to ensure participation on provincial, national and international level.
A total of 166 ordinary operational schools in this province are without sports facilities! The erratic drop in the number of officials trained to deliver school sport programmes, especially affects the status of school sport. My plea is that development, especially in rural areas, should not continue to lag behind, as it currently does, due to the inability of government departments to work together. What happened with the motto- “a child in sport is a child out of court”?
Sport is often the only beacon of hope and encouragement in poor and neglected communities. Through sport, we are able to change attitudes and behaviours, and make the Northern Cape a better place.
In order to effectively invest in the youth of the province, I propose that the department should review the value of its current strategy to celebrate national focus days, like Youth Day, through the hosting of one-day events.
The long term benefits of luring rent-a-crowds to expensive rallies, with the promise of takeaways and T-shirts, is questionable. It’s high time that this department strives to be more than just an event planning company. After all, money is scant. Yet the Dawid Kruiper Local Municipality spent R230 000 on one day, at an Easter event while clubs struggle with funding to keep the youth active.
This department can instead invest in the future of our youth by providing equal access to sports fields. Hier in Colesburg in Lowryville word sokker nog steeds op grond gespeel. Hoekom? Omdat die opgradering nie plaasvind nie. Inderdaad benodig ons jeug toegang tot tennisbane, swembaddens, opgeleide sport administrateurs en entoesiastiese afrigters.
Our youth and sport urgently need attention, just like the McGregor Museum needs better upkeep and the growing number of dysfunctional libraries in this province need maintenance.
The McGregor Museum’s annual budget is a mere R3 million. This entity has reported that it has very limited funding for programmes and that the condition of museum collections is fast deteriorating due to the lack of qualified staff, the inability to attract and retain skilled staff and operational funds that have to be utilized for the compensation of contract workers, which amounts to R44 million! One major concern is the budget allocation of a mere R406 000 for museum maintenance, that makes sufficient repairs at all of the province’s 14 museums, seem way out of reach.
Also out of reach, is the operationalization of all Northern Cape libraries.
The province currently has more than 10 dysfunctional libraries. Two of these libraries are the worst within South Africa. The majority of these libraries are situated in impoverished communities, and some have already been closed for more than a year.
The DA has tried to guide the department, by pinpointing where it needs to focus their attention in order to effectively carry out its mandate. More specifically, we have repeatedly emphasized that more time and money needs to be invested in libraries.
It is thus shocking to learn is that out of the 10 dysfunctional libraries in the province, only the Inasee Harry Moshoeu Library has actually met the department’s criteria to undergo maintenance.
Die opening van die Ritchie biblioteek het Maandag weerens bewys, hoe belangrik dit is om n biblioteek naby ons skole en in ons agtergeblewene gemeenskappe te hê. Dis ook belangrik vir Lowryville, Riemvasmaak en Rosedale om n biblioteek te kry instede om dorp toe te loop.
My question is, what about the rest? And what about the learners, students and jobseekers from Windsorton, Platfontein, Perth and Schmidtdrift and Batlaping, amongst others, who just want to read and require information for school projects, for their studies and for job applications? On Monday the Premier said that we need vibrant libraries because it stimulates the learners. Inderdaad bevorder lees taalvaardigheid en beter begrip, kommunikasievaardighede, logiese denke, beter konsentrasie en dissipline.
Unfortunately, the simple answer is that this department is failing them, time and time again.
For this financial year, the Library Services Conditional Grant allocation has been cut by almost R40 million over the next three years. At the same time, the budget allocation for the construction of new libraries is bigger than that of maintenance of both current and container libraries.
The department has also admitted that its relationship with the Department of Education remains a challenge. This challenge has, in my view, contributed to the fact that there are an astonishing 373 schools without libraries in the Northern Cape. In effect, this means that only 168 schools in the province actually have libraries while only 101 schools have stocked libraries. Libraries have a critical educational role to play, especially amongst the youth. It is therefore tragic that their importance is too often underrated and that they are not given the attention that they deserve.
Do not get me wrong, I am not implying that other social responsibilities of the department should be brought to a halt. Instead, I am pleading that libraries gain priority status. This is essential, considering the growing rate of unemployment in this province.
The MEC and her senior managers may not want to admit it, but the Northern Cape Department of Sport, Arts and Culture is in serious trouble.
It is increasingly uncertain, how this department will ensure that it honours its commitments to especially the young people of this province. Nonetheless, one thing is sure – this department still has a lot of work to do. However regrettably, this work is not adequately outlined in the department’s Annual Performance Plan.
We trust that the department will take heed of the concerns we have raised, and will act to create a budget which, Go bula ditshono go batho botlhe ba Kapa Bokone (opens opportunities for all the people of Northern Cape).
Consequently, the DA cannot support budget vote 7 in its entirety.
Harold McGluwa, MPL
DA Northern Cape Provincial Chairperson & Chief Whip of the Provincial Caucus
082 440 1779
071 251 5558