By George Mari, MPL, DA KZN Spokesperson on Arts and Culture:
DURING the last Arts and Culture committee meeting I expressed concern at the leadership of the Department and the manner it conducted itself. I felt that officials were not working together and also picked up tensions among .Senior Management and the HOD. I stated that their conduct was one that was trying to embarrass the MEC which was worrying.
When Senior Management and the HOD are not united performance is poor. We have seen this department regress during the past three financial years in terms of financial performance. For the past three years in a row the department obtained a Qualified Audit.
A R2million EPWP grant was also not spent. Hundreds of jobs could have been created for these communities. The MEC must attend to this disunity immediately and ensure that the department gets a clean audit in the current financial year.
The oversight was an eye opener for MPL’s, especially new members. During the visits we observed a number of departmental shortcomings.
One of these was libraries. The Impendle library for instance is functioning well but has problems with accessibility with the result that this poor community finds it difficult to get there. The lack of maintenance and repairs at this library must be prioritised as the municipality does not generate enough income to fix it and keep it clean.
At Bruntville we found that the library is small in size and the structure requires extension and upgrades. There are also no ablution facilities. This library was damaged during a violent protest in August 2014 and has not yet been fully restored. The computers were also damaged and need replacement.
The visits also highlighted the following;
– Maintenance and repairs – multi- million rand Art Centres are not adding value because they do not serve their intended purpose. The DA has raised this issue numerous times.
We cannot continue to have a few ‘gogos’ doing beadwork and sewing a few garments without the necessary assistance to grow their trade. The Mexico model that the previous Committee looked at during its study tour must be replicated where government gives small loans to crafters and also assists in marketing their goods internationally.
Centres must also be used by the communities for other purposes as they are simply not sustainable in their current form.
– Our museums are a huge tourism generator. Tourists who come to the KZN want to see the history of our province. Museums must be multi-cultural and depict the history of all. This is lacking in certain museums ie. Income in Dundee.