Careful review of the budget allocation for this Department has raised a few concerns, when compared to the Department’s strategic goals.
One of these said goals is “seeking new ways of forming strategic collaboration by mobilising the resources, knowledge, creativity and concern of all role-players to increase social cohesion on a partnership basis.” Whilst this Department provides an overview of the activities it would like to support, through arts, culture and sports, it does not make use of the historical investments it has made in people.
Part of seeking new ways in forming strategic collaboration requires that this Department be present on the ground and engage with artists, cultural promoters and athletes, to understand the challenges people face in effectively pursuing their interests and reaching the highest levels in their fields. For example, in previous fast-track programmes in sport, athletes who had been part of the programme but did not see full success should be consulted to understand the challenges faced, so that this Department may position its budget more effectively in addressing the difficulties for previously disadvantaged groups.
We have also seen that many rural areas are still without facilities to practice arts, culture and sports. Yet these activities are very important in addressing some of the country’s biggest problems, such as the high rate of teenage pregnancy and substance abuse.
This Department has missed the mark in forming collaborative and strategic collaborations to take these two issues into account, and in not reaching out to former participants of fast-track programmes. A programme designed for former participants to share their skills and talents with all sectors of this Department, especially in the rural areas, would have created invaluable partnerships whilst bringing skills transfer to the much-forgotten rural areas.
In closing, Speaker, I must raise the alarm regarding the lack of transparency within department-funded sporting codes in rural areas. The Department tells us that it gives the provinces money to facilitate these activities, such as sport, yet I do not see any activity in the rural areas. If the Department allocates money, it must report on the specific programmes that it undertook to fund. The provincial departments must publish weekly notices detailing the activities that are taking place and what is being funded, so that local residents can access this. There is still an unacceptable bias in funding, which is skewed towards more established and wealthier communities.
The IFP supports the Budget.
I thank you.