By Kingsol Chabalala MPL, DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Sport, Recreation, Arts, Culture and Heritage
One can argue whether the Gauteng Department of Sports, Recreation, Arts, Culture and Heritage (SRAC) exists or has ever existed in this province. This is because this department has done nothing in terms of its mission to create an enabling environment and accelerated social transformation for sporting, artistic and cultural excellence.
The budget is allocated to the department, but it fails to administer it as per its Annual Performance Plan (APP). The department has reduced its targets while its spending has gone up.
The APP for 2017/2018 financial year was to roll-out social infrastructure such as libraries and community multi-purpose sports centres. But not much has been done by this department. Libraries are in a state of disrepair and some are yet to be completed and handed over to the communities, while others have been completed and are now standing empty, not being utilised. The Evaton North Library was officially opened in September 2017 by this department but remains closed to the public.
This department which plays a critical role in the development of young people in the province, has for far too long continued to ignore their need for libraries and multi- purpose centres.
Gauteng youth need libraries and museums so that they can improve their reading skills and gain the knowledge to better equip them for the future; they need sporting facilities to keep them off the streets and safe from drugs, alcohol and criminal activities.
The ANC-led Gauteng government has always lamented about the lack of transformation in sports yet their administration is doing nothing to address this issue. For example, construction was started on the Toekomsrus Multi-Purpose Centre in Rand West in the 2010/11 financial year and is still not completed.
Young people in poor communities are the ones most affected as their development is hindered by this department’s incompetency.
This department continues to overspend on public holidays, carnivals and sports awards.
It is shocking that the department had overspent by 154,68% on its budget for public holidays in the province since the 2013/14 financial year to date. The total budget for activities and celebrations relating to public holidays and public commemoration days for the 2013/14, 2014/ 15, 2015/16, 2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19 financial years respectively was R112.5 million.
This is unacceptable as it is a blatant waste of public funds.
This indicates that there is no fiscal control in this department and that the ANC-led Gauteng administration cares little about the real needs of our people.
The millions that were spent could have been used to upgrade the sporting facilities creating a conducive environment for nurturing local talent.
| Once again, it is evident that project management and poor planning remains a problem within this department.
The problem with this department is a lack of a political will to lead this department towards transformation and to ensure that it accomplishes what it is mandated to do.
This department has many projects that look good on paper but it fails to implement them. Many of the programmes that the department supports do not have a positive impact on the lives of our people. This department has a responsibility to provide adequate sporting resources to our communities.
There is also no monitoring and evaluation on national grants which includes library grants given to municipalities. This has resulted in the non-functioning of our local community libraries.
We cannot adopt a budget which does not speak to the needs of the people.
The DA will not be supporting this budget.
I thank you.