Today, we debate the Gauteng Department of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation’s (SACR) annual report for the 2020/21 financial year, however, it is sad that every year we raise the same issues, yet nothing is done to address the issues of under expenditure, underperformance and failing to deliver the department’s core mandate.
The fact that this department consistently ignores our recommendations demonstrates that it cares little about the plight of our people who are in desperate need of sporting facilities as well as support from the department to nurture their talents.
The department has underspent by R160,537,000 across all its programmes.
It is concerning that this department constantly underspends on infrastructure projects while there is a dire need for libraries to be completed as well as sporting facilities. This amount could have gone a long way in building sports and recreation facilities in communities that lack these resources, particularly townships. Some communities which are located outside of suburbs do not have access to recreational facilities which can have a major impact on the quality of life.
The department incurred R12,795,000 in irregular expenditure, the majority of which was a result of not inviting competitive bids. It is unaccepted that officials constantly fail to adhere to the supply chain management procedures. It is high time that MEC Hlophe must act against those officials involved in this irregular expenditure. Should no action be taken, it will open the doors for further corruption within the department.
The department has a high vacancy rate of 27.3% which is three times the recommended rate by the Public Service Commission. A total of 43 employees left the department during the 2020/21 financial year, which contributed to the increase in the vacancy rate. This high vacancy rate is contributing to the department’s underperformance as there is no personnel to execute some daily tasks in terms of delivering services to our people. With the high unemployment rate in this province, the department must prioritise filling these posts to ensure that our people are employed during this difficult period due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
This department has failed to create a conducive environment for opportunities in the fields of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation so that they can be supported and flourish. During the year under review no targets were reached in the following areas:
• Zero schools were provided with Arts and Culture equipment for Wednesday Leagues against a target of 379
• Zero ECD classes in primary schools were imaged into Arts classrooms (noncumulative) against a target of five
• Zero Arts and Culture programmes were implemented in correctional centres (noncumulative) against a target of nine
• Zero local emerging authors were supported against a target of 50
• Zero Non-Profit Organisations were financially supported to inculcate a culture of reading against a target of seven
• Zero archival contributions were made to the National Automated Archival Information Retrieval System against a target of 100
• Zero combi courts were installed against a target of five
• Zero Indigenous games clubs/structure(s) participating in indigenous game tournaments against a target of six.
MEC Hlophe must be ashamed that her department achieved zero targets, yet they have spent millions of taxpayers’ money. Since you took over the reins as the political leader, this department’s performance has shifted from bad to worse.
The MEC is prioritising spending on corporate gifts instead of providing much-needed grants to artists and athletes who lost their livelihoods and were forced into unemployment during the Covid-19 lockdown.
This department needs a dedicated political leader who will prioritise service delivery, however, for that to happen, there is a need for a change of government as the ANC has failed our people.