We continue to live and learn to adapt to our “new normal” this pandemic has disrupted the livelihoods of all our people, it therefore requires that we become more aggressive and creative as a province this includes the Arts and Sporting sector. A proposed budget must then be able to respond to present material conditions and provide solutions to meet the needs of our communities.
Our staff components form a crucial role in the functionality of all departments and should be compensated accordingly, however, compensation should not hinder the delivery of services. The department has a constant increase of the budget for Compensation of employees which now sits at 58% whilst Goods and services budget is at 42%.
It is important to find an appropriate balance between compensating employees and ensuring that services are not compromised. This becomes difficult when due processes and legislative regulations are not adhered to with senior managers having not been vetted and undergone scrutiny.
What is even more concerning is that the department has spent R3, 4 million on salaries of suspended officials at management levels. This is a substantial amount of money and the department must account and show what action has been taken for consequence management and dealing with cases at a reasonable time.
The department, in its budgeting process, must adhere to recommendations from the Provincial and National treasury to ensure all due processes are adhered to and present a revised plan that prioritises service delivery within the department. That all its employees especially on a management level have been vetted and possess all the necessary qualifications.
The film industry has shown itself to be key driver of the arts within the province with a number of successful films such as Knuckle City and most recently EL born actor Lukhanyo Bele has shot a feature length comedy-drama film “The Ground Under” which is in its editing phase.
This film was shot by the actors with their own crops in their respective homes, this shows the level innovation and creativity within the arts. We must cultivate and work together with these artists and provide them with the necessary resources and funding they require.
The R10 million boost within the industry is welcomed and must be distributed equitably and used for its intended purpose, proper scrutiny must be taken in how funds are used and there should be no room for looting. The ECPACC should execute its mandate accordingly and report to the committee at the end of the financial year on how these funds were used and the impact therein.
The state of the Bay World Museum’s dilapidating infrastructure is not a new issue, over the past few years it has been going down, and most recently it has become evident that things are getting worse. Each day that passes where there is failure to take action, the state of this institution becomes worse.
The department has indicated that they did not receive national funding but has taken the step to make a R15 million relief fund for our artists we trust that these funds have been finally distributed to those who have met the criteria furthermore we will follow up on this matter to ensure that our athletes and artists received the funds. They have been hard hit by the lockdown and need all the necessary support.
Furthermore, the department needs to properly outline what projects it has planned for this financial year and in light of this global pandemic what alternatives have been proposed as strict regulations still need to be adhered to. It must provide clear and practical plans in the Sports, Cultural services and library services.
What is of great concern is that the National Budget for Libraries has been cut and no doubt we will be affected as a province three years ago 15 libraries were closed due to lack of funding among other issues, it is therefore crucial for the budget to take this into account. Also the Equitable share of the Directorate has been decreased by R16, 6 million. Libraries already face challenges from issues of security, understaffed, no access to internet and lack of resources. The department should engage with municipalities to provide support to libraries within their geographical area. Secondly, it should expedite the roll out of E-books and internet services so that its patrons can be best served.
Within this programme the budget for good and services has been reduced by R16,8 million which for sport development it has been cut by R4,8 million and no mention on the Sport Tourism Fund has not been mentioned.
In the past financial year I have been making submissions through IQP’s and other available avenues to the department on the issue of building relations with municipalities and it is evident that this has not been done. Municipalities receive the Municipal Infrastructure Grant for sport and recreation facilities the department does not have a plan on how to engage for the purpose of ensuring that this grant is used accordingly. It needs to devise a plan together with COGTA as to how it will resolve this matter.
It has come to light that for installation of one borehole the department has budgeted a whole R1, 7 million, it’s not clear to me why a borehole costs so much.
The department needs to ensure that resources are utilized predominately for services and adequate support is provided across all programmes in terms of budget and any other additional support. Issues of governance must be dealt with speedily to avoid any hindrance to service delivery, disciplinary actions must be concluded and the issue of compensation reviewed and suppliers be paid within the 30day period. There needs to be stronger plan in working with other departments for the attainment of proper sporting facilities, heritage sites and library facilities.