Mpumalanga MEC for Culture, Sport And Recreation, Sibongile Manana briefing the media on progress made by the Department for the three quarters of the 2011/12 Financial Year, in Botanical Garden, Mbombela
8 Dec 2011
Good morning ladies and gentlemen of the media.
Thank you and welcome to the Department of Culture, Sport and Recreation media briefing.
The purpose of the briefing is to provide the Department’s progress and update in relation to pronouncements made during the Policy and Budget Speech in May 2011. The progress to be given today is linked to government’s five priorities and the 12 government outcomes as well as a range of other service delivery areas that constitute a focus for the department.
Transformation of the Cultural Landscape
Transformation is not an event but a journey we all have to travel. Mpumalanga continues to dominate in the transformation of heritage landscape. On 7 October 2011, Minister of Arts and Culture; Paul Mashatile published in the government gazette no. 34651 the change of geographical names amongst which fourteen (14) were from the province. A list of the gazetted names is available for distribution. We are aware that there is a contestation over the change of Nelspruit name into Mbombela. There is legal process underway and there will be no comment since this matter is sub-judice.
We indicated during the Policy and Budget Speech that we will continue to preserve our oral history as we seek to maintain the Indigenous African musical and dance expressions that are distinct from western cultures. We have made great progress in preparing for the Traditional Dance and Music Festival. Auditions were held throughout the province, in different localities and districts in order to select the best of the best to compete in the bigger event. The product of these auditions is going to culminate in a Provincial Traditional Dance and Music Festival starting on Saturday in the Nkangala Region, Steve Tshwete Municipality. The people of Mpumalanga will be displaying their talents, skills and vibrancy as we present dance and music in our traditional way.
For the first time in the history of the province, a Choral Ensemble has been established. A Gala Dinner will be held tomorrow at the Emalahleni Municipality for the official launch of the Mpumalanga Choral Ensemble. Invitations have been issued for both events and we will see you there.
We have succeeded as well to launch the isiSwati Dictionary as an attempt to contribute to the development of previously marginalised languages. We have made an undertaking together with the MEC for Education that enough stock of these dictionaries is procured and supplied to all school libraries in the province as well as public libraries.
We made an undertaking to respond to issues of morality and values by organising amongst others a Moral Regeneration Indaba. I am glad to report that this was successfully coordinated and was staged at Emalahleni Municipality, Nkangala District. This event was preceded by Social Cohesion Conversation Series which were held in all three districts of our province. These events gave our communities and different stakeholders a platform to discuss in a discourse on how we want to shape our nation and create a sound foundation of a moral society. We hope to take all our resolutions to the National Summit on the same matter.
As part of the South African Liberation Route; working in partnership with the Pixley Ka Isaka Seme Municipality, the process of erecting a more than life size statue of Dr Pixley Ka Isaka Seme is well underway and we are convinced that by the end of the financial year, this project shall have been completed.
The Bridging Ages National Conference was successfully hosted in Pilgrim’s Rest in November 2011, in conjunction with the Bridging Ages International Organisation based in Sweden. The conference was a platform utilised to understand history, life and society of today by bridging the past with the present towards the future. We are grateful at the excitement this conference created and the calibre of presenters who participated, representing universities, non-governmental organisations and government institutions. There is a long way to go as we seek to bring back that which defines Africa and its people.
The celebration and hosting of the National Heritage Day in the province and the commemoration of Samora Machel, an event that took place here in South Africa, Mpumalanga, Mbuzini and Mozambique, were also highlights of the period under review.
We have planned to facilitate the construction of three (3) new libraries at Masoyi, Libangeni and Klarinet. This is additional to the construction of Driefontein, Botleng and Perdekop. The progress on these infrastructure projects is encouraging. We can thus report that a handover of sites has been done for Masoyi, Libangeni and Perdekop. The construction of Hluvukani Library is at 98% complete, Botleng Library is 90% complete and Driefontein is 50% complete due to relocation of site.
Responding to the pronouncement made by the Premier during his State of the Province Address that “This year, we will commence with work on the establishment of a cultural hub that will contribute to the development of various performing arts genres such as theatre, dance, music, craft and drama”, land has been identified for acquisition. This has been done working in partnership with the Department of Public Works. There are two sites identified in the Ehlanzeni District around White River. We believe that this assignment would have been completed before the end of the financial year.
Sport and Recreation Development
We continue to support Mbombela Stadium in order for it to ensure hosting of perennial events at the stadium. The partnership we have with the stadium management ensured the successful hosting of high profile games such as the Nedbank Final between Orlando Pirates and Black Leopards and also the Vodacom Challenge game between Tottenham Hotspur and Orlando Pirates, Metro Awards and other rugby and soccer matches. We value and appreciate the support received from BidVest Wits Football Club for playing some of their matches in our stadium. They too appreciate the support they get from the soccer loving supporters of the province.
The South Africa Games held in Limpopo province gave our young athletes an opportunity to once again display their God given talent and skills. We came back with 38 medals; 14 gold, 20 bronze and 4 silver.
In preparation for the National Sport and Recreation Indaba, the department hosted a Provincial Sport Indaba attended amongst others, by the Mpumalanga Sport Confederation and other stakeholders. The product of the Provincial Indaba was submitted to be incorporated to the national discussion documents. Uppermost from what our people in the province resolved on, was the question of school sport, facilities, transformation and funding. The National Sport and Recreation Indaba was held at Gallagher Estate in November and also took similar resolutions. The Indaba resolutions will be shared with all stakeholders including the media as soon as they are sent to provinces for implementation.
The establishment of High Performance Centre in Mpumalanga is progressing well. We have thus far purchased the land from the Emakhazeni Municipality. The Department of Public Works has appointed the Independent Development Trust to implement the project. We are in a process of conducting the Environmental Impact Assessment and the Master Plan and Designs will be concluded by January 2012. This means that we should be prepared to roll-out Phase 1 of the project at the beginning of the 2012/13 financial year.
Our mass participation programme through School Sport has been escalated. We have moved from 260 schools in 2010/11 financial year to 831 schools in the current financial year. This programme is taking place in all 67 circuits in the province. There is still some mileage to be covered because the province has got 1 846 schools and the current coverage represents approximately 50%. Football, athletics, volleyball and netball have been introduced to all the 67 circuits. Both rugby and chess have also been introduced in the three districts.
The information presented today reflects a mirror of our own selves. It is an indication that the department is on course in meeting all of its defined objectives for the 2011/12 financial year. We remain of service to our people and the work done and achieved so far is a clear indication that this government is committed to meet the needs of the people. We are also committed to accelerate the pace in the delivery of services more especially the construction of libraries. We will continue to engage with the Department of Public Works to make sure that our people get the services they deserve.
Let me take this opportunity and wish all of you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
I thank you!
Issued by: Mpumalanga Culture, Sport and Recreation
8 Dec 2011
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