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‘More must be done for youth’

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Opposition blames Department for not bringing change to Province's youth.

File photo: African News Agency (ANA)

THE DA in the Northern Cape has called for more to be done in terms of youth development.

Reacting to the 2019/20 Department of Sport, Arts and Culture budget, DA MPL Reinette Liebenberg said there was a growing scourge of socio-economic factors that were negatively affecting children’s lives.

Liebenberg pointed out that programmes organised by the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture could help promote social cohesion and youth development in the Province. “However, this department does not seem to have the will to bring the change that our troubled youth need.

“This department is to blame for the significant reduction in grant funding over the 2019 MTEF. The decrease of just over R17 million means that this department will have to stretch each and every cent to ensure that it has a greater and more lasting impact on our society.

“I hope that this reduction in grant funding will motivate the department to stay away from roll-overs and to actually deliver impactful services to our communities and especially our children.

“The premier announced that, as a Province, ‘we are aiming at reaching 140 000 participants in sport and recreation and through organised active recreation events’.

“Once this department commits to its vision and mission, will we be able to see the fruits of its labour. However, there are still too many excuses from this department with regards to its inability to effectively promote social cohesion and youth development.

“What worries me is that there is no reporting on what happens to the sports children, men and women upon completion of participation in school, provincial or national sporting programmes. How does this department encourage ongoing participation to ensure that our sportsmen and women do not lose interest?” Liebenberg asked.

While she said that the DA welcomed the new infrastructure of libraries to be built in Greenpoint and Niekerkshoop, it was “disconcerting” to note that the department was contemplating another review of the spread of libraries throughout the Province.

“This speaks of a lack of long-term planning, as the previous assessment took place in 2017/18. How is this financially possible with such a significant drop in grant funding for this financial year?

She added that the deteriorating condition of heritage sites in the Province was not receiving the required attention from the department. “Therefore, we cannot bet on tourist attractions gaining any momentum in the near future. It is worrisome that the custodian department for heritage and museum sites cannot see the urgency in nurturing these sectors to improve tourism in the Northern Cape.

“The lasting effect of the reduction in grant funding, caused by this department, ultimately affects the sustainability of our museums. It is unbelievable to note that the last time our museums received maintenance was in preparation for the 2010 World Cup. An allocation of a mere R4.5 million in funding for the McGregor Museum, coupled with 13 museums that have to be maintained, is alarming,” Liebenberg concluded.