Culture, arts and traditional affairs MEC Ontlametse Mochware yesterday said there
was a new plan to revive the Mmabana Arts and Culture Centre after it was torched and looted in Mahikeng a few weeks ago.
The music store was ransacked, a number of offices, including that of CEO Dr. Otsile Ntsoane, were looted and burnt.
Mochware condemned the attack on the cultural centre as “unacceptable”.
She said R97.5m had been set aside to ensure the implementation of arts and culture programmes for the benefit of communities.
The MEC also said that during the new financial year, communities around the province would benefit from the budget allocation of R198.7m for libraries with state-of-the-art equipment.
Many of the libraries burnt down over the past few years contained equipment including irreplaceable books, computers, tablets, gaming computers, computer software, internet, and Wi-Fi.
Further, library services for people with visual disabilities were provided within such facilities. All these features will be part of the new libraries to be built.
Some community members who enrolled at the Mmabana Arts Centre voiced their frustrations at the burning of the facility, which resulted in its closure.
Bonolo Mogamisi of Disaneng, just outside Mahikeng, a second-year student in fashion design and sewing, is also affected by the state of affairs.
“We are now sitting at home doing nothing. Our wish is to see the centre in its full functionality to catch up on lost time. Everything is being put on hold and it’s frustrating,” she said.
On community libraries, Moagisi Monchusi of Madibogo, a second-year BA education student at Unisa, shared his experiences on how libraries had impacted on the lives of students and the community at large.
He said the libraries situated in villages came in handy as community members were able
to access free information, not only for study purposes but also to broaden their knowledge and develop themselves.
“I am doing 16 modules and I managed to get five distinctions with the help from this facility,” he said.
“The library staff assist community members with information they need in areas such as
entrepreneurship, applications to universities, bursaries and so on.”
While tabling her department’s budget vote, Mochware urged community members to take
responsibility in ensuring that these properties were protected to enable future generations to benefit.