Fifteen of the Eastern Cape’s 203 public libraries are closed. This is an assault on rural development. Sadly, most of these libraries are in areas where people lack facilities and where they rely on state facilities in order to gain access to information and knowledge.
Public libraries should be an important centre of learning and development in communities. They are a place where young people should have access to information for their homework and for projects for their university studies.
Libraries are part of the ladder of opportunity that communities have to climb out of poverty.
According to a reply to a legislature question I asked Dr Pemmy Majodina, MEC for Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture, challenges with water and electricity was the main reason for the libraries not being functional. For the reply, click here: Reply to IQP 27 q 149 closed libraries
In the distant OR Tambo District Municipality, eight libraries are not functioning, while three remain closed in Alfred Nzo, two in Sarah Baartman District and two in Amathole. The most impoverished areas are the hardest hit.
The provincial government must take urgent measures to ensure that where we spend money on state facilities, that they are operational. In the digital age of today, we cannot have libraries without electricity.
As a person with a rural background and with a deep understanding of the importance of education, I will continue to fight for the upliftment of our rural communities. Libraries play an important role in creating opportunities for marginalised communities. Their plight is close to my heart. They are crying out for change.
The DA will continue to stand up for rural communities so they are not left behind. — Nosimo Balindlela MPL, Shadow MEC for Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture