The Democratic Alliance in KwaZulu-Natal has today written to newly appointed Arts and Culture MEC, Hlengiwe Mvimbela, calling on her to urgently address the fact that more than 140 libraries in the province allegedly remain without internet access after more than a year.
In August 2018, it was established by the DA during an Arts and Culture portfolio committee meeting that almost half of the province’s libraries had been without internet access since April. The figures include so-called modular libraries.
It is believed that the situation boils down to irregular expenditure, with the province’s Arts and Culture Department claiming that they cannot afford the amount stipulated for internet connection at all libraries. The Department has also laid the blame at the door of the service provider.
The DA expects the MEC to prioritise this issue in the interest of KZN’s learners and to ensure that a full report regarding the current status of internet access is supplied to the province’s Arts and Culture portfolio committee at its next meeting. That this matter remains resolved, leaving so many communities – particularly those in rural areas without internet - is unacceptable.
Internet access is critical in today’s world and this matter must be expedited. That it should take six months to rectify alleged issues with the service provider is unacceptable. If funding is also a problem, then the DA expects the MEC to lobby for additional monies rather than turning a blind eye, as was the case with her predecessor.
The DA has furthermore requested that the new MEC co-ordinate a plan which will ensure KZN’s libraries are, in future, open for extended hours during exam periods. There are many students and learners who require such a service, particularly during weekends and this is something that the MEC must motivate.
The DA believes that MEC Mvimbela has the opportunity to effect real change in her new position by adopting a more hands-on approach. We expect her to take both these matters seriously. In the event that she does not follow through, we will take proactive measures to ensure that our requests are met.
Issued by The DA