Speech notes for Kobus Botha MPL. Consideration of budget Vote 14, Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture. 16 May 2018

Honourable Premier of the Eastern Cape

Honourable Speaker

Honourable MECs

Honourable Members of the legislature

Government Officials

Ladies and gentlemen

All protocol observed

Honourable Speaker,

The aim of the department is to promote and develop Sports and Recreation, Arts and Culture, Museums and Heritage Sites and Libraries and Information Services in the Province.

This is indeed a huge task for a fairly young democracy such as ours and for the department to achieve especially with limited resources.

However, the DA knows that a nation’s culture resides in the hearts and in the souls of its people.

It is knowing our past that gives us the leading edge to build a better future for all of us, one nation, with one future, says the DA.

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 beautiful province.

And in this regard, the Democratic Alliance envisions a South African society that embraces its diversity rather than emphasizing observable differences along the contours of race, class, gender, religion, culture and other social constructions.

Race relations in South Africa is in need of a serious makeover and the new MEC must set a clear direction in this regard like late State President Nelson Mandela did.

His dream and legacy of a non-racial society where black and white will live and work together to rebuild this society must never disappear.

We owe it to our children to build on the racial harmony that was displayed by the first Democratic Parliament of South Africa.

We need to restore race relations in South Africa which are being eroded by political figures who utter reckless and irresponsible statements.

We need to build stronger social cohesive ties with each other as freedom is not a favour from government, it’s a right.

This task is not just the responsibility of the new MEC Bulelwa Tunyiswa, it is the responsibility of all the Members of this Legislature.

Our freedoms were hard won for all of us, not just for some!

We must all start to play a more pivotal role in promoting citizens involvement in government and to promote behaviour and conduct that is aligned to the Constitutional values, principles and ideals.

We must use Sports, Arts and Culture more as it has the ability to unite people across all divides.

The DA believes that the above will play an important role in communities and there are many benefits like improving the health and well-being of individuals, contributing to the empowerment of individuals, and promoting the development of inclusive communities.

The DA welcomes the new budget increase of R942 million.

This indicates an upward growth of 4.3% from the 2017/18 financial year of R900-million.

Honourable Speaker,

Many of our local municipalities have unfunded mandates when it comes to funding of museums out of their own municipal budgets and this must come to an end.

In terms of literacy, everyone knows that reading is important, but have you ever asked yourself why that is so?

Through reading, you expose yourself to new things and new information, it broadens your understanding of life and the world in general.

Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counsellors, and the most patient of teachers.

Books are found in libraries and lately on the internet.

In this regard, the DA welcomes the financial support in regards to partly covering the running costs of the Buffalo City and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality’s libraries.

But it is equally true, that this is an unfunded mandate to the municipalities.

Can the Honourable MEC please provide some information as to when the province will take full financial responsibility for the management and running of libraries in the province?

Can the MEC please explain what criteria she used to identify the 16 libraries which will be supported with finances to the tune of R237 000-million as well as for what the funds will be used.

Coming to sports, it is a fact that it helps address anti-social behaviour and can support education.

Sport and recreation contribute to economic growth through business investment and employment and helps sustain the environment through protecting open space and natural areas.

It also promotes the use of active modes of transport, such as cycling and walking.

In order to build a well-balanced society, we must encourage parents to allow their children to participate in youth sports as it is a fantastic way for children to explore and develop lifelong skills.

What is the MEC doing in this regard?

Youth sports not only play an important role in exercise but promote mental and psychological advances as well.

It is well-known that children who participate in sports are less likely to drop out of school, and become involved in drugs and alcohol activity, while they also excel in academic performances and sociability.

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 soccer field?

Do they not deserve to be given the opportunity that a sports discipline could provide?

This is what the Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture (DSRAC) can and must provide for the youth in our province.

By investing time and care, innovative ideas, and the follow through with implementing operational goals, the Department will be able to provide the above service.

The MEC and the officials need to pull up their 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 in DSRAC.

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 a guarantee.

Most of the budget in DSRAC goes towards the administration of the department which is R295-million or 5.8%.

Honourable Speaker,

I am of the view that the Department still possesses many flaws in its administration and management of finances but this can be overcome by good work ethic and a service orientated attitude by officials.

The portfolio committee’s report today only brings to the fore a few challenges that need to be dealt with and I am not going to repeat all of them.

A DA-led provincial government will focus on monitoring and evaluation of the department’s output to ensure value for money and increased service delivery.

It is my belief that sport, recreation, arts and culture can be a vehicle for positive social change.

The DA supports the budget and the report.

Thank you.