Tight budget must be put to proper use

By George Mari, MPL, DA KZN Spokesperson on Arts and Culture:

THE DA thanks Arts and Culture MEC Ntombikayise Sabhidla-Sapetha and Chairperson Makhosi Ntuli for her report. We agree with some of the comments and findings of the Portfolio Committee.

The committee has indeed deliberated over the budget and members were not happy with the figure which falls far short in assisting the department to meet its targets.

This situation is by no means new – the 2013/14 Budget also presented the same challenges and the committee had to write to Treasury seeking more funds.

The DA has raised serious concerns about the current budget of R772.9million.  We believe it seeks to set up the MEC and her department for failure. There is nothing wrong with this department and staff – given the resources it can deliver. There are some good officials but the lack of funding shows them up which is not fair.

Let’s see what happened during the 2013/4 budget year.  I don’t have time to go through all the details, but let’s look at the targets set by the department in the previous financial year and examine the performance of the Department

Programme 1 Administration

The Department was not able to fill all critical posts.  Approved Capital Budget was under-spent.  Irregular expenditure was at R145million – this is unacceptable.

Programme 2 – Cultural Affairs

The department achieved 75% of its targets.  Of the 12 targets, the department achieved nine.   And of the 3 unachieved 2 were underachieved and one not achieved at all

Museum services

The department achieved 76% of set targets.  Out of 13, ten were achieved.

Programme 3

Library Services

The department was able to achieve 58 % of its targets.  Out of 12 targets, only seven were achieved while five were underachieved.

Archive services

The department was able to achieve 79% of set targets.  Out of fourteen, eleven were achieved and three were under achieved

Overall, the department achieved 77% of its targets for the 2013/14 financial years. The department received a qualified Audit with findings.  The committee expressed concern that the department had regressed compared to Audit findings for the previous year.

Arts Centres

The multi-million rand art centres have not been very productive.  The marketing of these Art Centres is non-existent and there are far too few visitors.  The overall design of such centres is not conducive to the purposes intended.

The portfolio committee requested that the department meet all its set targets for 2014/15. Regrettably, I cannot see this happening with the budget provided.

Documentation Centre/KZN Heritage Centre

The DA thanks the MEC for ensuring that the double-storey building at this facility is finally returned to the Heritage Centre.  Funding must be provided to set up the displays and operating expenditure must be provided

Musical Instruments

MEC – please inform this House whether instruments have been purchased for the Indian community and who the beneficiaries are?

Statues

As we know, there has been a lot of controversy around the removal of some statues and monuments in our province on the basis that they represent Apartheid. MEC – a policy must be devised to deal with this situation so that our history and heritage can be preserved for future generations.

Summary

The DA calls on the department to stick to its core business of providing KZN citizens with access to arts and culture.  It should not be spending millions on expensive jamborees and events.

The department also needs to work more closely with KZN’s education department so that young people are given the opportunity to develop their talents.

We also call for the KZN Music House to be revived and used for its intended purpose – to provide emerging artists with a facility that is affordable in which to broaden their talent.

 

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