The Financial Oversight Report for the period April to September shows us that the Department has underspent by R26, 3 million.
Administration however overspent by R4, 2 million which went to compensation of employees. Compensation of employees has been discussed at length during the debates over the last few days. Increasingly there will be tough competition amongst the programs of the department fighting for scarce resources. Over expenditure on personnel in the long run will have a negative impact on service delivery and we need to keep very tight control over personnel costs.
It is of great concern that the Department consistently struggles to spend its allocated budget.
Cultural Affairs underspent by R4, 7 million, Library and Archives underspent by R14, 6 million and Sport and Recreation underspent by R11, 2 million.
My colleague in Gauteng, Kingsal Chabalala, in a recent speech stated and I quote, “Spending less than what has been budgeted may seem more favourable to a small household but when a government department does it, it deprives the residents, especially school going kids of essential opportunities!” close quote.
As recommended by our committee in the report before you – the Department has to provide us with clear strategies to prevent this under expenditure. There are always excuses and sometimes unconvincing answers but the truth is this is not a new finding and under expenditure is simply unacceptable.
Also of great concern is the R18, 7 million irregular expenditure incurred by the Department as mentioned in the report. Although this is down from R49, 6 million last year irregular expenditure is equally unacceptable. The committee will be watching closely to see what actions are taken against officials responsible for this irregular expenditure.
Another finding deals with the focus School Sport Pilot Project entered between the Department and Dale College. It is not clear exactly how Dale College was identified, how much money is actually being spent and who the beneficiaries are.
Minister Mbalula stated in his budget speech earlier this year that the National Department was going ahead with an initiative to register at least two schools per sporting code per province as specialist sports schools.
I would like to suggest to our Provincial Department that they keep these projects as transparent as possible.
The process of selecting schools and beneficiaries must be well advertised. If not the Department will create huge problems for itself. Schools will ask how can you assist this one and not the other? The challenge is to be transparent and results of both the projects and beneficiaries must be well advertised.
As we are heading towards school holidays I don’t believe the Department is doing enough to ensure that children are exposed to recreational and educational opportunities over this holiday period.
The start of the school holidays brings a much needed break for learners and educators across the province but it is also a period where a lot of our younger residents in the province are at risk of becoming involved in negative social behaviour, often because they are unsupervised.
The Western Cape Government announced recently the various programmes on offer by the Departments of Community Safety, Cultural Affairs and Sport, Education and Social Development to provide opportunities that young people can access at various institutions and with the help of various partners.
This is a wonderful initiative as the programs are aimed at keeping children positively engaged, entertained and safe. I would like to suggest that the Department work towards holiday programs in the New Year.
In conclusion let us say a silent prayer for all those young boys who are about to start their initiation program. Let us say a silent prayer for all those travelling on roads over the festive season. Let us say a silent prayer for all those who have just written matric exams and are about to enter the world outside school.
May all of you here today have a wonderful Christmas break with your families.
The DA supports the report.