Gauteng Department of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation(SACR) MEC, Faith Mazibuko has failed to deliver libraries and cares little about the important role they play in our communities.
We visited 28 libraries across all regions in the province and we discovered that the books are outdated, there are internet challenges and some are still not complete.
Even though the Gauteng Broadband Network has been installed in libraries, it has not been connected.
Almost all the libraries are connected to the municipality WI-FI which is slow, unreliable and not strong enough to meet the need of the users. The internet connectivity is very weak and sometimes down for days.
Yet the department’s Annual Report for 2016/17 financial year indicates that seventy-seven libraries were connected in 2016/17; once again, no names or areas – just numbers.
We are to believe that this department is not serious about its mandate and continues to lie to the public.
The libraries are desperately in need of new books as the current books are old and outdated, especially the reference books.
There is a serious challenge posed by the lack of project management, financial management and leadership from the department.
There is now a pattern of continuous failure in completing libraries construction within the stipulated time frame.
Shoddy workmanship is also a setback as some libraries have been officially opened and then closed namely Venterspost, Naturena and Kagiso Extension 6 library.
Despite the enormous challenges faced by our libraries the department under-spent R33 million of the Library Grant. This money could have been used to buy new books for the benefit of our communities.
Furthermore, the Annual Report indicates that 79% of users are satisfied with library services. This information is not true and is misleading as there are many issues raised by library users which indicates that they are unhappy with the status quo.
The DA firmly believes that libraries are a vital community resource for residents to access information, internet services and provides a safe studying environment for our young people.
We will hold MEC Mazibuko accountable to ensure that all our libraries are equipped with resources, have access to internet connection, the infrastructure is properly fixed and are re-opened as a matter of urgency.