Budget Vote Debate: DA has no confidence in Sports MEC Leeto

James Letuka MPL

Free State Provincial Legislature

Note: This is an extract of a speech delivered by James Letuka during the Budget Votes debate in the Free State Provincial Legislature today. 

Madam Speaker,

Sport remains an important unifying factor in South Africa.

The department should approach Free State sports role models who have excelled, who display moral character, and who can enhance cohesion through their diversity and performance with the aim to partner with the department as goodwill ambassadors to participate in sporting events and workshops in various communities throughout the province.

The department should invest in youth centres with outdoor sports facilities, ICT, and cultural activities and events. We need to get our youth off the streets and foster a sense of achievement through the use of sport.

These initiatives will also go a long way to develop sport amongst the youth in general, but will also go a long way in awakening the latent talent within the youth of the province.

There is also a dire need to restructure the management of the annual Macufe festival. This festival although very popular is placing a huge financial burden on the province.

Money that could be used for more important things like buying medical equipment for under resourced hospitals.

The Macufe festival must be professionally managed to enable it to become financially self-sustainable, profitable even.

Last year there was more than a 5 hour delay before the festival kicked off. This is not how a professional festival is managed.

The restructuring of Macufe must also allow for greater participation of communities in the festival through access to more affordable ticket prices. It has become a poorly managed festival for those with the means to attend.

We are convinced that if the Macufe festival is properly managed, and not hijacked by ANC cadres to sing the hollow praises of this administration, we would see attendance sky rocket, and the festival becoming self-sustainable.

The department must also approach a larger diversity of artists so that all the people of the Free State would want to attend the festival.

Madam Speaker,

The DA is concerned at the appointment of the honourable Leeto to the Excecutive by Premier Ace Magashule.

The MEC’s appointment is indicative of the lip-service that the ANC pays to the fight and eradication of corruption.

MEC Leeto is currently out on bail for her alleged involvement in the same tender racket MEC Malakoane is alleged to be involved, which saw a R13 million irregular tender awarded to supply photocopiers to the Matjhabeng Municipality.

We believe appointing MEC Mmathabo Leeto is premature and that having to deal with such legal matters will negatively affect the performance of this department.

We do not have confidence that MEC Leeto would be able to build on the successes of her predecessor, the former MEC Dan Kgothule.

Honourable Speaker,

The Department of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation needs a dedicated individual, passionate about the arts and sport. We need an MEC that would advance sports development programmes, especially for the youth, in communities across the Free State Province, to advance and protect our cultures and heritage sites.