Pine Pienaar, DA spokesman on Sport, Recreation, Art and Culture

There is a total lack of proper planning and budgeting in the Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture.  The abundance of talented people in our province need assistance in the form of infrastructure, exposure, and back-up support.  But the government is eating up its Sport, Arts and Culture budget with little going to our people.

A total of R202 754 million — or almost a third — of the Department’s 2012/13 budget of R705 454 million is for administration.  This allows for very little for cultural affairs (R170 381 million), library services (R160 603 million) and sport (R171 716).

The Portfolio Committee on Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture has found that the department’s budget is largely centralised at its head office and not at district level where functions are supposed to be performed.

The DA believes that reconciliation should be promoted through actions and programmes designed to increase interaction between South Africans.  This can be achieved with a strong civil society and active participation in civic life.  What better way to do this than through sport, art and culture?

Yet the department is guilty of underspending its budget every year.   Findings are that craft hubs in the province are not sustainable; libraries are understaffed and no infrastructure development will take place this year; the department does not have a framework that acknowledges and funds exceptional sport achievers; there is no plan for the completion of the Lusikisiki Stadium, which doesn’t have stands or floodlights; the Mdantsane swimming pool, which services the whole area is in disrepair; of the R1 million budgeted for the running of the Vodacom League teams, only a third of the money founds its way to the teams, two months after the end of the financial year.

The DA is striving to develop greater sensitivity and the many different historical and contemporary experiences of living in our country.  This includes changing names of certain places and streets.  Yet the Provincial Geographical Names Change Body held public hearings but there is no indication of any changes approved and effected.

I urge the MEC, Xoliswa Tom, to ensure that her department awakes from its slumber and starts spending.  Art and culture is the soul of a country.  We are neglecting ours.

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