DA queries SAPS over Velaphi Khumalo investigation

By Paul Willemburg MPL, DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture:

The DA today wrote to Gauteng SAPS commissioner Lesetja Mothiba to query whether police are investigating Velaphi Khumalo for inciting violence against white South Africans.

Last week the Department of Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture (SRAC), suspended Khumalo over social media posts calling on black South Africans to do to white people what “Hitler did to the Jews” and cleanse the country of white people.

Inciting public violence and murder are Schedule One offences as laid down in the Criminal Procedure Act, and police are bound by law to investigate, arrest and charge Mr Khumalo as such.

The DA will not stand by and let a small minority of individual South Africans incite hate speech and violence against their fellow countrymen who are committed to building a peaceful and prosperous nation.

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DA welcomes GSARC inquiry into racial comments by Velaphi Khumalo

By Paul Willemburg MPL, DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Sport, Arts, Culture and Heritage:

The DA welcomes the inquiry by the Gauteng Department of Sport, Art, Recreation and Culture (SARC) – into the racist comments made by one of the departments’ employees, Velaphi Khumalo, which was posted on social media.

The DA condemns any form of racism and anything that incites violence and hatred towards others.

Section 16 of the Bill of Rights, on freedom of expression, states that the freedom to express oneself does not extend to propaganda for war, incitement of imminent violence, or advocacy of hatred that is based on race, ethnicity, gender or religion, and that constitutes incitement to cause harm.

We are encouraged by the department’s swift action against its employee and we look forward to learning the outcome of this internal inquiry.

I am heartened by the MEC for SARC, Faith Mazibuko’s, immediate response in this regard as her department’s key mandate is in fact nation building and social cohesion.

Racism has no place in a democratic South Africa.

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DA debates Gauteng 2014/15 SRAC Annual Report

The following speeches were delivered in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature on 02 December 2015 by the DA’s Paul Willemburg MPL and Kingsol Chabalala MPL during a debate on the Gauteng Sport, Recreation, Arts, Culture and Heritage department.

Speech by
Paul Willemburg MPL

“In SRAC, “you gotta have faith”

  • Supply Chain Management regulations were not adhered to by the departments’ accounting officer which resulted in non-compliance with the relevant legislation.
  • Poor monitoring and evaluation of conditional grants paid to municipalities to build and maintain much needed libraries.
  • Poor Expenditure Management that resulted in irregular expenditure in seven cases amounting to R88.4 million. One of these is for an amount of R68 million relating to a tender.
  • Community Hubs should provide sporting facilities and areas where the creative can practice their talents and crafts.

The full speech can be obtained here

 

Speech by

Kingsol Chabalala MPL

“Prioritise grassroots development in sports, arts and cultural activities”

  • Underspending in departments should be classified as an epic and a tragic incompetence or crime against humanity.
  • Sporting facilities and cultural centres are non-existent in township schools, equipment used by our children in the townships is nothing to write home about.
  • The ANC government has failed dismally in developing a new and diverse talented generation of athletes.
  • DA calls on the Honourable MEC to prioritise grassroots development of Sports, Arts and Cultural Activities and not focus on entertaining, wining and dining with sports celebrities like her predecessors.

The full speech can be obtained here

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Gauteng MEC misleads Legislature on Emfuleni libraries

By Kingsol Chabalala MPL, DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Sport, Recreation, Arts, Culture and Heritage:

Gauteng, arts, culture, sports and recreation MEC Faith Mazibuko has deliberately misled the Provincial Legislature by claiming that only two of Emfuleni’s 13 libraries are without internet access, despite the DA having confirmation that 11 have no access at all.

Installed four years ago, kiosks at these libraries sit unused because of the department’s failure to deliver.

Libraries allow residents access to government portals to register as jobseekers and make general use of the internet.

The only two internet kiosks that are in working condition are those that were sponsored and recently upgraded by a private donor.

If the MEC was more attentive to her portfolio, she would understand how dysfunctional her department actually is.

I will write to the Legislature’s Privileges and Ethics Commitee and request an investigation into the MEC’s remarks, which I believe were a deliberate attempt to mislead the house.

Members of the executive must at all times be accountable to the public, whether the truth hurts or not.

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Oversight visits an eye-opener for MPL’s

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.

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Congratulations to Karabo Mogane on winning IDOLS SA

By Jane Sithole MPL, DA Mpumalanga Chairperson:

The DA congratulates Mbombela’s very own Karabo Mogane on winning season 11 of IDOLS SA.

The 24-year-old’s extraordinary vocal talent placed him as a front runner of the competition from the onset and saw him consistently beat off stiff competition week after week to ultimately win first place.

For the past three years, Mpumalanga contestants have dominated the competition showing that not only is our province the most beautiful, but that it’s also filled with some of the most talented vocalists.

Karabo walked away with prizes worth over R1.2 million, including a recording deal and will be releasing his debut album on 11 December 2015.

We wish him a long and prosperous music career.

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Officials in Emfuleni extorting artists by requesting bribes

By Kingsol Chabalala MPL, DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Sport, Recreation, Arts, Culture and Heritage:

Gauteng, arts, culture, sports and recreation MEC Faith Mazibuko must explain what disciplinary action was taken against Emfuleni municipal officials caught for extorting bribes from artists.

Officials took a cut of the money paid out to the in reward for being contracted to perform at events.

Sources in the municipality have revealed to the DA that footage exists together with fleet records that expose the extent of the corruption.

The performing artists have been reimbursed by the very officials that took their money.

These officials were not disciplined nor suspended for fraudulent behaviour or even dismissed.

MEC Mazibuko must make public the findings from an investigation that was conducted earlier this year into the matter.

Those who are responsible for taking bribes must be brought to book.

We cannot condone corruption by slapping wrongdoers on the wrist and not take any serious action.

The buck stops with the MEC.

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11 of Emfuleni’s 13 libraries have no internet access

By Kingsol Chabalala MPL, DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Sport, Recreation, Arts, Culture and Heritage:

Gauteng, arts, culture, sports and recreation MEC Faith Mazibuko must explain why 11 of Emfuleni’s 13 libraries are without internet access, despite the department providing funds and paying services providers to maintain internet kiosks inside the libraries.

There are computers at the kiosks, however none are in working condition.

These kiosks were installed four years ago, and when questioned, the municipality blamed it on the Department of Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture.

It is unacceptable that for four years these community members could not access internet services via their local libraries. Libraries allow residents access to government portals to register as jobseekers and make general use of the internet.

Only two internet kiosks are in working condition as it was sponsored and recently upgraded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

I will ask MEC Mazibuko during the next Gauteng Legislature what went wrong here, why the service providers were paid for non-delivery what her department intends to do to remedy the situation.

The DA will monitor the situation in the coming months.

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Gauteng library construction scandal

By Paul Willemburg MPL, DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Sport, Arts, Culture and Heritage:

In a report delivered before the Gauteng Portfolio Committee on Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation (SRAC) following oversight visits to four libraries the West Rand and Tshwane – it revealed that two libraries were under construction, one new library built and one underwent upgrading.

Furthermore, the Olievenhoutbosch Library where construction was completed in August this year, remains closed as there are no desks, reception area nor any bookshelves, electricity and sewer connections.

This despite the contractor being paid R400 000 to complete the library. The project started late, sub-contractors did not receive their funds and the contractor claimed the money received from the department was not enough.

At Kagiso Extension 6 Library, construction was set to be completed in March of this year, however at the time of the oversight visit the library was nothing more than a skeleton structure. The roof leaks, there is no electrical wiring and windows have no glass fitted.

The department reported in March 2014 that the Kagiso Extension 12 Library was open and functioning, but the oversight visit to this facility proved otherwise. The library is not fully operational and had zero books and no equipment. The infrastructure is disintegrating and nothing has been maintained.

The report concluded that the construction companies appeared to be stalling by not paying their sub-contractors.

(Click here to access the Portfolio Committee report).

I will submit further questions to the sports arts and culture MEC Faith Mazibuko over the exact amounts paid to the construction companies and to obtain information on tenders issued.

It is scandalous that the residents in these communities have been robbed of the opportunity to access invaluable resources via their local libraries.

The Department and the new MEC should do urgent monitoring on these projects and provide answers to the communities of Kagiso and Olievenhoutbosch.

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Debate on Sport Arts and Culture

The following speech was delivered by Katlego Suzan Phala DA MPL, to the Limpopo Provincial Legislature on 27 October 2015 during a debate on Sports, Arts and Culture.

Madam Speaker

Hon Members of the Executive, MPLs

As we debate the 1st and 2nd 2014/2015 quarterly reports of the department of Sports Arts and Culture, we need to understand that one of the core service delivery mandate of these department is to calculate a culture of learning and reading through provision of community based libraries.

Madam Speaker , this department of Sports, Arts and Culture was the worst performer in terms of budgetary under spending for the 2014/15 financial year.

The department seems to have a habit of starting its financial year by under spending in its 1st quarter, in both the 1st quarter for the past two years , the department has been failing to spend more than 20% of its budget.

In 2012/2013,  it utilised only 18% and 2013/2014 spending only 17%, these under spending is on programs that includes three Library ,  Information Services and Program four Sport & Recreation.

Madam Speaker , program three and four use conditional grants for library infrastructure and mass sport participation, the committee pleaded with the department to increase its spending, on conditional grants but however the plea has fallen on deaf ears.

The allocated R167 million of conditional grants of the main programmes,  the department only spent R20 million which is 12,4% of conditional grants on the department 1st quarter spent.

Our communities are facing difficult challenges of having proper libraries with resources.

The department had failed the people of this province by not utilising the budget that was enough to deliver services.

Madam Speaker , due to the department’s poor performance, National Treasury has now allocated Limpopo the lowest Community Library Services Grant in the whole country at R 112 156 000.

Madam Speaker ,  the DA urges the MEC to find ways with her department to improve its budget expenditure on libraries in subsequent quarters.

We still urge the MEC to reinstate the Memorandum of understanding with various municipalities as a brief telephonic survey conducted the DA and oversights clearly proved just how our troubled libraries are confused on whom to solicit help on maintenance challenges.

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