by Safiyia Stanfley MPL – DA alternate provincial spokesperson on Sport, Arts & Culture
Date: 27 June 2017
Type: Speech Extract
Note to editors: The following speech was delivered in the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature today by the Democratic Alliance’s alternate provincial spokesperson on Sport, Arts & Culture, Safiya Stanfley MPL, during the debate on the budget of the Northern Cape Department of Sport, Arts & Culture.
The Department sets itself the goal of creating a prosperous province united in the advancement of its sport, recreation, heritage, libraries, arts and culture. As the Democratic Alliance, we support this vision and mission. Within sport and cultures lies the potential for the development of communities and the expansion of opportunities for our youth.
Following the presentation, the Department provided additional reports to the Portfolio Committee. The Department’s quick response is commendable and appreciated; however, the reports raise more questions than answers.
For example, the Department’s plans explicitly state that no funding will be transferred to the Northern Cape Academy of Sport as it now forms part of the Northern Cape Sport Authority. Yet the reports include a business plan from the Academy for this financial year. The Honourable MEC must please clarify why an agency which does not exist anymore is budgeting for departmental transfers.
If the Academy will perform functions on behalf of the Northern Cape Sport Authority, we also need clarity around the rationale behind its budget allocations. No money is allocated for support to sport focus schools and the amount allocated for training is barely enough for a two-day conference.
The business plan from the Northern Cape Sport Authority also does not fulfil the obligations imposed by the Northern Cape Sport and Recreation Authority Act. The Act refers to the financing of mass participation events for learners and broader communities, athlete support services as well as training camps, but the business plan only budgets for meetings and travel allowances. Inasmuch as the Authority requires a board, its main objectives are to promote, develop and finance sport and recreation in the province. Since the induction of the board is projected for completion in this financial year, we expect that next year’s budget will include more than meet, greet and eat sessions.
Considering the limited resources, it was refreshing to hear the McGregor Museum describe its three-pronged approach to funding, which may help to reduce its dependence on departmental transfers. We appreciate that the entity demonstrates its willingness to do more with less and to seek alternative sources of income. But it remains a concern that McGregor Museum still lacks the necessary human resource capacity to ensure compliance with the Public Finance Management Act. In the previous financial year, the Department committed to establish a shared service to alleviate the capacity constraints at the McGregor Museum. The Honourable MEC must please clarify what happened and why this commitment is not honoured.
For the promotion of sport and culture in the province, it is crucial that entities deliver on their mandates. A decision was taken to incorporate the provincial heritage resources authority into the Department with effect from April 2017, but the Department’s plans do not include targets which speaks to the functions carried out by authority. The proper rationalisation of an entity encompasses more than just instructing staff to report to a different office building. If the authority is to be incorporated into the Department efficiently, the Department has to repeal the provincial act and must plan to carry out the functions assigned to the authority.
The Department also needs to ensure that it carries out the functions assigned to it. None of the duties imposed on the Department and the Honourable MEC by the Northern Cape Use of Official Languages Act are provided for in the Department’s plans. Many provincial departments are currently busy reviewing their organisational structures; when you ask if they make provision for a designated language official, as required by the Act, you get a sense that they’ve never heard of the Act before. For language to be promoted and protected by the provincial administration, we need this department to take its duties seriously.
The Department also needs to ensure that infrastructure is managed properly. During the presentation, the Department stated that the Northern Cape Theatre will be opened officially after the installation of sound and lighting equipment. It is good to have clarity on this matter, as the Department has previously denied that the equipment formed part of the renovations.
We would appreciate further clarity from the Honourable MEC on which libraries are scheduled to undergo maintenance this year. The list in the Annual Performance Plan is completely different from the list submitted in the reports by the Department.
Properly maintained facilities are important to the promotion of sport, arts and culture in our communities. We encourage our people, especially our youth, to become more involved in the activities and events from the Department.
The Democratic Alliance supports the budget vote.
Safiyia Stanfley MPL
DA alternate provincial spokesperson on Sport, Arts & Culture
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