Note to Editors: Please find soundbite by Kingsol Chabalala MPL.
Most Gauteng communities do not have access to well-equipped sporting facilities to create a conducive environment for nurturing local talent, yet the Gauteng Department of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation (SACR) has spent R58 695 284.6 on commemorative day events in the last six financial years.
Our residents are in dire need of sporting facilities to nurture the local talents as some are still using dusty sporting fields without proper facilities, while this department continues to overspend on commemorative day events.
The millions that were spent on commemorative day events could have been used to build 27 combi courts for R2 million each. This will ensure that all our communities have access to well-equipped sporting facilities and the local sporting club will save costs of travelling to nearby suburbs to access such facilities.
This information was revealed by the Gauteng MEC for Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation (SACR), Mbali Hlope in a written reply to the DA’s questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL).
According to MEC Hlope, the following monies have been spent for commemorative days in the past six financial years:
- 2016/ 2017 financial year: R2 899 060.81
- 2017/18 financial year: R2 507 611.00
- 2018/19 financial year: R19 134 827.3
- 2019/20 financial year: R18 438 970.9
- 2020/21 financial year: R5 141 737.05
- 2021/22 financial year: R10 573 077.5
Furthermore, the department claims that these celebrations are essential because Gauteng residents benefit by getting job opportunities, exposure to creativity, job opportunities and prioritisation of nation-building.
Past experience has shown that there is nothing spectacular and beneficiary for artists and residents about these events as only renowned artists are hired to perform.
It was also revealed that the same companies have been benefiting from rendering services at these events. How is the department promoting nation-building if the same people are reaping all the benefits?
The DA believes that commemoration days are important as they form part of our history, but the department must spend wisely and prioritise service delivery.
We will continue to put pressure on MEC Hlophe to ensure that the department reduces overspending on commemorative events. This will ensure that taxpayers’ money is spent wisely and for the benefit of the residents of Gauteng, not only a few individuals who are politically aligned to the department.