The Democratic Alliance in KwaZulu-Natal will today write to the Arts and Culture MEC, Hlengiwe Mavimbela, demanding answers about the functionality and the efficiency of the province’s four mobile libraries.
The call comes after the DA conducted an inspection of one of the mobile library trucks, only to establish that none of them have had computers or access to the internet since 2016. The same inspection also revealed that book shelves, along with the overall condition of the truck, is poor with a distinct lack of maintenance.
The DA regards it as extremely disturbing and sad that something as simple as a mobile library cannot be maintained in our province. These trucks do not even deserve to be called ‘libraries’. As it stands, they do not serve any purpose.
Most disturbing though is that different communities are not allowed to borrow any books and keep them until their next visit. Instead, the books are just on show. This is a massive stumbling block given that many people, particularly those in rural areas, must first travel great distances to simply get to the mobile library. Then, once they are there, they can only look at a book on site and do not have access to any computer or internet facilities.
This is especially alarming when one looks at students. If students cannot benefit from libraries, how are they expected to do well at school? If there is a need to conduct research for a project, they are helpless since they are unable to keep any books or use the internet. This in turn contributes to a lack of achievement at school and ultimately results in high failure rates, leading to unemployment. Children are a priority, more so, their education is of the utmost importance.
The DA has called on the MEC to urgently intervene and ensure that these so-called mobile libraries are rehabilitated so that they can begin to serve their purpose. In addition, we have asked that the MEC ensure that the communities who have access to these mobile libraries are able to borrow books and have access to the internet so that the mobile libraries can actually be of some benefit.
The DA is committed to getting answers from MEC Mavimbela so that a solution can be found to address this unacceptable situation.