Ahead of Minister Mthethwa's budget vote speech tomorrow, MEC Anroux Marais reminds that more must be done and strategically actioned through compassionate political will, needed to lead this very important sport, arts and culture portfolio.
We can only imagine how much more we could offer, and sustainably so, to all those who call the Western Cape home, if the national government also placed the people of South Africa first as they promised in 1994. Instead, we have now become accustomed to the plundering of public funds, maladministration and corruption for the personal gain of an untouchable, unaccountable few, which sadly reduces opportunity for the development of the majority.
There is a stark difference in the outcomes of the last 10 years under the Western Cape Government's strategy of consolidating budgets for maximum citizen impact to improve opportunities for youth, to support the creation of a safe and secure province, to enable an environment for job creation and skills development by building and maintaining economic and social infrastructure and most notably, applies good governance standards to optimise service delivery. In comparison, the ANC's "lost" 10 years have resulted in a net debt of R2.28 trillion in 2017/18, increasing to R3.03 trillion or 52% of our GDP in 2020/21. This can be attributed to various factors, most frustrating and disheartening: state capture, corruption, maladministration and pure nonchalance towards the dire needs of our people.
As powerful and integral as Cultural Affairs and Sport is to forging a positive impact on people's lives while promoting our national identity in its diversity, it is not exempt from the national indifference exhausting public funds for personal gain. The devastating results are regressive as it leaves the people we serve in the Western Cape in more adverse conditions as they have been robbed of many opportunities to live lives they can value. It has now also become the provincial ANC's default rhetoric that the Western Cape Government should be appreciative of the budget received from the national department, yet, there should be no joy found in such arrogance.
Our track record of good governance and maximum-citizen impact service delivery has been confirmed by various independent stakeholders, including the Auditor General's report for the past five years. Yet, other provinces are awarded exorbitant budgets, facilities and resources with little or no deliverables to show in real terms. A case in point: this year will be the fourth year in which the national department of Sport and Recreation South Africa has instructed each provincial department to contribute R10m of our annual budgets towards the establishment of the National Training and Olympic Preparatory Centre in Bloemfontein, the hometown of the former Minister, Fikile Mbalula. Four years on, only dust is proof of this investment as the national department only officiated the sod turning on the site on 10 November 2018. For the purposes of clarity, to date, R30 million has been re-appropriated from each provincial department's budget amounting to a total of R270 million which is now at the national government's disposal, with no plan communicated, no concrete facility, no accountability nor urgency or evidence based research into the needs of our sportspeople. Further reducing development, opportunities and transformation in the Western Cape and forcing us to be innovative with the little budget received based on rife maladministration and pie in the sky strategies, the national department procured a 1970s Volkswagen Combi for each province and presented it to each of us at the national Sport Awards late last year, with no consultation or objective known. The cost of this wasteful expense could help towards the abundance of requests we receive in the Western Cape, the assistance needed for the empowerment of our under-resourced sportspeople or facilities and events on grassroots level to bridge the gap between developmental participation and higher levels of competition.
I am afraid the national cultural affairs sector also ironically brings little hope administratively and is failing to advocate and promote the diverse South African identity, the upkeep of our heritage landscape and in turn the progression of one South Africa for all. The vision of one democratic South Africa will not come into fruition if the ANC remains silent and does not hold its leaders accountable for the moral and social deterioration of our integrative tapestry as a diverse people. In January this year, it was reported that R8 million was stolen from the Living Legends Legacy Programme. In February, we heard that 7 entities funded by the National Department of Arts and Culture were riddled with allegations of corruption and maladministration. The monetary implications of this are still unknown but through media reports we do know:
The Chief Executive of the National Arts Council was placed on special leave because of an excess bonus payment
At the National Library, the Director of the Centre for the Book was charged with several counts of misconduct and a disciplinary hearing began last year in which he was found guilty on four of the seven charges.
The director of bibliographic and collection services was charged for incompatibility, workplace bullying and harassment.
The Robben Island Museum is being investigated for maladministration
The South African Heritage Resources Agency is also under investigation after allegations against the chairperson and the chief executive surfaced regarding irregular expenditure, breach of oversight and non-compliance with supply chain management policies.
The national Department of Arts and Culture wants one national orchestra which threatens our esteemed Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra as funding to regional companies will stop in favour of a single national ensemble.
MEC Marais urges Minister Mthethwa to seriously consider the repercussions national practices have on the Western Cape and to note with grave concern that cheap political grandstanding is killing the positive aspirations of our youth, tearing our social fabric apart and further crippling progress in the Western Cape. The battle between the captured and the capturers is holding our youth's potential hostage. With the crumbs left from the ANC's "Let them eat cake" rhetoric, the Western Cape Government had to become innovative in embedding good governance and integrated service delivery through partnerships and spatial alignment guided by our functional fiscal strategy. In the spirit of integrity, we trust Minister Mthethwa will reward clean, competent and responsive governance while holding other provinces and entities accountable for transgressions as he announces his budgetary allocations tomorrow.
Issued by: Western Cape Cultural Affairs and Sport
Read the original article on Govt of SA.
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