Gauteng Department of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation incapable of delivering libraries to the people of Gauteng

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng notes with great concern that the Gauteng Department of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation (SACR) continues to underspend the library and archival services budget and consistently fails to complete library infrastructure projects.

This was revealed in the department’s fourth quarterly report for the 2019/2020 financial year.

According to the fourth quarterly report, the department has underspent by R37.8 million on Programme Three: Library and Archival Services which is the highest underspend in the department for the fourth quarter of the 2019/2020 financial year.

The underspend was attributed to the vacant posts for the Community Library Services Grant which have not yet been filled, infrastructure projects and not executing the planning of the three new libraries.

The under-expenditure in Library and Archival Services has become a norm for this department; in the department’s third quarterly report for the 2019/20 financial year, it underspent by R28.660 million.

This clearly indicates that this department is incapable of delivering on its core mandate to provide access to library, archival services and facilities to our people.

Furthermore, the department did not meet all its target for the construction of three new libraries and delivering 14 workstations for visually impaired individuals in libraries.

The department failed to achieve its target of renewing library subscriptions and implementing a library holiday programme. The department also failed to achieve its target of upgrading one existing facility for public library purposes.

The Gauteng Department of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation MEC, Mbali Hlophe and the Head of the Department must be held accountable.

The DA calls on Gauteng Premier David Makhura to hold the MEC to account to ensure that her department delivers Library and Archival Services in this province.