Speech notes by Nosimo Balindlela MPL, speaking on the budget vote for the Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture, 17 May 2017

Honourable Premier of the Eastern Cape, Honourable Speaker, Honourable MECs, Honourable Members of the Legislature, Ladies and gentlemen

The role of this Department stretches much further than sport, recreation, arts and culture. It stretches to the future generations; it influences the quality of people produced by our lovely province.

Sport, we all know what sport is and most of us at some time on our lifetime have played a sport. I want you to think back to when you were part of a team that engaged in friendly competition against another team. The spirit of teamwork, the celebration with your peers, the discipline to achieve a common goal together, the excitement and anxiousness and preparation, the pure joy of doing something that you enjoy.

The before-mentioned is merely some of the social and personal benefits of sport; I did not even touch on the health benefits. Is this not what our children deserve? Do they not deserve to feel what it is like to celebrate a victory on the soccer field? Do they not deserve to be cheered on by a community of excited spectators on the side of the rugby field? Do they not deserve to be given the opportunity that a sport discipline could provide? This is what the Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture can provide for the people in our province.

Now imagine our province 50 years from now. Most of us sitting here are memories to our loved ones. Where do our children and grandchildren and the children and grandchildren of our province go to learn and relive, in their own way, the history, the diverse culture, the heritage and the arts of times gone by?

By investing time and care, innovative ideas, following through with implementing and maintaining operational plans, DSRAC can provide that for the people of this province. Let us not let ourselves and the future generations down. In order to do that, we need to pull up our sleeves, work hard, be open to new views, be relevant to the times and people, and change some ideas that have become repetitive failures within DSRAC.

ADMINISTRATION

The administration of a Department can be seen as the heart of the Department. If the administration is not efficient, the likelihood of the Department running efficiently is not promised. Most of the budget in DSRAC goes towards the administration of the department.

But yet, the Department possesses many flaws in its administration. I am not going to repeat all of them as you have just heard them being read out, but we need to commit to deadlines given such as the 30-day deadline given by the committee for the Department to provide a list of consultants. Madam Speaker, surely this is a somewhat effortless task for the MEC if her Department is organised?

In the same breath, I would like to point out and congratulate the MEC in her efforts in addressing gender parity. We have hardworking, dedicated and capable women in our province. Let them rise!

CULTURAL AFFAIRS

As pointed out in the report, the Department has set aside R6-million to refurbish dilapidated museums. On 9 May 2017, I wrote to the MEC regarding the dire needs of the Middelburg Museum. The matter was brought to the attention of the Department in 2014. The museum is still awaiting a response from the Department. Madam Speaker, I urge the MEC to please respond to my letter as soon as she can, in order to save the history of Middelburg and surrounding areas.

LIBRARY AND ARCHIVE SERVICES

I am happy to see that the budget for Library and Archive Services has been increased. Most children and adults in rural areas do not have access to the internet. In today’s age, we can run to Google or Wikipedia to gain information, but if you are living in a rural area and do not own a computer or a smartphone, your only other option to gain information is a library.

When I was young, I was told stories by my grandmother, mother and father. In today’s world, many children do not have the luxury of always having their parents and grandparents around as everyone has to work. The responsibility of creative literacy now falls on the libraries and therefore, on DSRAC.

I must thank the MEC for the Mgwali public library. We look forward to its official opening as this community has played a very important education role during the time of Tiyo Soga.

SPORT AND RECREATION

It was stated in the report that the budget for Sport Development was cut by approximately R1.35-million. One is left to wonder what will happen to the rural sport that the MEC has, herself, been encouraging and supporting. Madam Speaker, it is concerning to see that the budget for this specific programme has been cut, but yet, the Department does not utilise its overall budget. Madam Speaker, could this possibly be due to the failure within the Departments Administration to complete its skills audit and organisational structure.

In my speech, I highlighted the importance of administration. The importance of administration and the failure of the correct administration processes and implementation are shown in the shortcomings of a department. An example of such a shortcoming would be a department having incomplete organisational structures.

Therefore, the DA highly suggests, that the Department adheres to the 30-day deadlines presented by the committee.

In a DA run province, we note the importance of and strive for a successful administration that is run but highly skilled and competent staff.

The DA supports the Committee’s Report.

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