Still no service at Venterspos library

Paul Willemburg is very upset. Photo: Charity Moyo.

The Venterspos Library in Westonaria has been in the spotlight for the past three months with the community demanding answers.

On 17 August, the Herald reported about the same library, which was officially opened by the MEC for Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation on 28 October 2014.

Esmé Kuipers (assistant manager of Library Services) and Paul Willemburg (DA Gauteng spokesperson for Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation).Photo: Charity Moyo.

Great expectations were created and especially children in the area were very excited to work in the new building and do research. Just two-and-a-half years later, its doors were closed. DA ward councillor, Gerhard Kruger had concerns about the library being closed for more than five months. Despite the notice indicating that it would be open to the public again on 31 March 2017, the library remains closed.

On Friday 15 September, Faith Mazibuko, MEC for Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation (SACR) visited the library for the first time and promised that it would reopen and be fully functional on 2 October 2017.

Read more: Venterspost Community Receives Library

On Monday, 18 September, the DA Gauteng spokesperson for SACR, Paul Willemburg, MPL, as well as the DA PR councillor for Wards 2 and 25, Gerhard Kruger, conducted an oversight visit to the building. They pointed out several mistakes that needed to be fixed.

Willemburg felt that taxpayers do not benefit from the service, children are being disadvantaged and there is no service from the relevant department. He told the Herald he will continue to follow up.

“During my follow-up visit during the launch of the DA Gauteng Library Campaign Week on Monday 6 November, I discovered that the Venterspos library is still closed.

The roof has not been fixed and the security gate at the main entrance is also broken,” said Willemburg.

According to a written reply to the DA’s questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature, MEC Mazibuko indicated that the initial budget allocated for the construction of this library was R5 660 533.77. The time-frame for the completion of this project was six months.

“Poor project management and shoddy workmanship has resulted in the department spending an additional amount of R1 121 886 to fix the faults in this library. This is a total waste of the people’s money as this additional money could have been used to improve services in libraries across the province,” said Willemburg.

He went on to say that the delay has had a negative impact on matric learners and residents who are desperate to use this library to access information for research and revision purposes. He feels that it is the only library in Venterspos; the next closest library being Westonaria Public Library which is 10km away and not on a taxi route.

“We will hold MEC Mazibuko accountable to ensure that this library is properly fixed and reopened as a matter of urgency,” said Willemburg.

The DA firmly believes that libraries are a vital community resource to access information, internet services and provide a safe studying environment for our young people.

Do you perhaps have more information pertaining to this story? Email us at [email protected]  (please remember to include your contact details in the email) or phone us on 011 693 3671.

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  AUTHOR
Nadine Mare
Journalist

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