Poor financial controls continue to plague KwaZulu-Natal’s Department of Arts and Culture (DoAC), with second quarter financial results showing little improvement when it comes to meeting targets as a result of under-expenditure and ongoing critical staff vacancies.
Despite the Department’s 19% vacancy rate – the highest in the province – not one critical post was filled during the financial period under review even though many had been budgeted for. This includes the post of Chief Financial Officer which has been an acting post for ages.
The DA notes these issues with concern. It is clear that MEC Hlengiwe Mavimbela and her Department need to speed up the process of filling critical vacant posts as well as draw up a comprehensive and meticulous plan if they are to ever achieve their targets and expend the budget appropriately. Job creation should always remain government’s priority but it appears that posts remain vacant, even while budgets have been set aside for salaries.
It is no secret that there are many aspects within the Department that need serious attention and that, halfway through this financial year, not all proposals and intended plans have been met. Then there are the issues of payments not being transferred timeously from municipalities to organisations, Memorandums of agreements not being finalised due to delays around the provincialisation of libraries and the construction of new libraries not having begun, with funding suspended in some cases for no logical reason.
In this instance, there are two cases which are of particular concern;
- The suspension of R2million, budgeted for the construction of the Ladysmith Music Academy. These funds were removed from the Department’s budget without proper answers. This despite the memorandum of agreements already being finalised and;
- The suspension of the refurbishment of the Winston Churchill Theatre in Pietermaritzburg due to Supply Chain Management issues. This has now created further vacancies and increased under-expenditure due to the fact that the project had already been budgeted for.
The DoAC has a critical role to play when it comes to ensuring social cohesion within our province. The DA calls on MEC Mavimbela to ensure that strategies around all unachieved and partly achieved targets are met without any further unnecessary delay.