Libraries in the Western Cape have suffered losses of more than R27 million in damage due to robberies and vandalism in the past five years.
This information was revealed during an answer to a parliamentary question by the DA.
“A total of 306 libraries have been vandalized in the past five years and 110 libraries have been robbed,” says Gillion Bosman, the DA’s provincial spokesperson on cultural affairs and sport.
The costs due to vandalism amount to R25 194 902.23 and due to robberies the costs amount to R2 441 573.71.
“Libraries play an essential role in local communities by providing access to information and resources, supporting literacy and education, promoting lifelong learning and as a place where the community can come together.”
To curb robberies and vandalism, the provincial department is building new libraries that are architecturally designed to reduce vandalism and security risks.
“The department is also in discussion with community structures to ensure the community’s involvement and ownership. By involving the community in the decision-making processes, the department is able to create a sense of moral ownership among members of the community,” says Bosman.
According to her, the South African Police Service has long since lost the ability to prevent these crimes and the department must therefore constantly obtain additional funding from the national department of sport, art and culture and the provincial treasury to step up security measures.
“R27 million is a lot of money. This is money that could be used to provide more services to our communities. Unfortunately, the crime continues to rob the provincial department of funding due to an incompetent police service. The DA-led Western Cape will continue to work with members of the community to protect our libraries, as they play an important role in the development of young people.”