by Paul Willemburg MPL – DA Spokesperson for Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation
Despite the fact that libraries across the province are facing enormous challenges, the department is underspending on its library grants.
According to a written reply to questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature, the MEC for Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation, Faith Mazibuko indicated that the grant amount returned had decreased to R1 287 240 during the 2017/2018 financial year from R4 452 000 in the 2015/2016 financial year.
It is disappointing that many of our libraries are failing to spend their allocated grants whilst they have outdated books that are in dire need of updating. In some libraries there are no computers and others do not have enough furniture and lack the basic necessities.
Our youth, particularly those living in the townships are at a disadvantage as they are being denied access to updated reference materials and a conducive environment for studying.
These facilities are crucial as they play an important role in helping our youth who are still at school in completing assignments and those who are seeking job opportunities.
This failure by the department to monitor and evaluate how the library grants are used, shows that they care little about the upliftment of our people.
The DA is calling on MEC Mazibuko to put more stringent monitoring and evaluation systems in place when it comes to library grants.
Gauteng needs Change, the kind of change that only a DA-led government can deliver, where the people’s money is spent on improving the lives of the people, not on politicians.