Honourable speaker, Honourable Deputy Speaker, The Premier, The MEC’s, members of the provincial legislature, Staff members, members of the public in the gallery, Democratic greetings to you all today.
Honourable Speaker, this department is tasked with a responsibility to develop and promote cultural and creative industries, sport and recreation, inculcate a culture of reading and lifelong learning, transform and promote our heritage and promote our languages.
The DA believes that while striving for unity, we must be a country that celebrates and protects our diversity. Arts and culture can bring people together in new ways. Our aim should not be to use these interactions to promote sameness, but to support interaction as the celebration of differences and as opportunities to build the foundation for mutual respect and understanding.
This honourable chair speaks to the heart of the youth of this province. Majority of them being black and poor with their talent as the only tool to better their lives. This reminds me of a poem by W.B Yeats that was also quoted by Honourable Hlomela Bucwa. It reads as follows: ‘But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.’
It saddens my heart when I hear stories of young people who missed opportunities to represent their country on international stages because this department took too long to secure travelling arrangements for them.
Chair, this department has once again under-spent on its budget and has repeat findings from the auditor general. How can this be when we face so many challenges as young people? All the programs have under-spent with libraries ad archives being the worst culprits. Most libraries in this province are in a bad state, but this program cannot spend its entire budget.
Madam Speaker the blind people of this province are forgotten, most libraries do not have facilities for them. Some of the libraries that have facilities for the blind, the facilities are not even working. I visited the library in Mount Fletcher, they don’t have the software and they have been waiting for five months now to receive material they have ordered for their clients. This needs to change.
35 libraries did not receive materials. From my visits to some libraries I also found that they do not have enough non-fiction books. This makes it difficult to do homework and research for content subjects for learners who depend on these libraries.
I am informed that there is a resolution that this department must have a MOU with the department of education to fast track the development of school sports. The department has not done this. Madam speaker, talent needs to be nurtured and developed at a young age in order to get optimal results. IsiXhosa sithi ‘Umthi ugotywa usemtsha’. I call on the MEC to ensure that this MOU is in place.
The continued flouting of SCM regulation needs to be dealt with a view to strengthen clean governance. Consequence management must be effected to the responsible individuals. Public finances need to be handled with caution and integrity if we want the public to trust the government.
The DA supports this report.