Remarks by Deputy Minister Rejoice Mabudafhasiat the launch of Mzansi Libraries Online Project, Zamdela Library, Free State Province

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08 May 2015

Programme director
MEC for Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation, Ms Mathabo Leeto;
Your Worship the Executive Mayor of Fezile Dabi District Municipality, Cllr Moshodi;
Your Worship the Mayor of Metsimaholo Local Municipality, Cllr Mahlaku,
All Councillors present;
Head of Department of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation: Advocate Malakoane;
Director of Library Services: Ms Jacomien Schimper;
Distinguished Guests;
Members of the community;
Members of the media;
Ladies and Gentlemen

Good morning

We are gathered here today to witness the delivery of the best IT equipment at Zamdela Community Library.

The National Department of Arts and Culture in collaboration with provincial departments of Arts and Culture are coordinating the implementation of the community library conditional grant in all the provinces with the aim of enabling all communities to gain access to knowledge and information, to eliminate illiteracy, eradicate inequality in the sector, promote social cohesion and develop an informed and reading nation.

Since the inception of the grant, 78 new libraries have been built country wide. We acknowledge that there is still a huge backlog of library infrastructure in the Free State. However, progressively the backlog will be addressed.

I have noted that in 2015/16, the province will complete 2 libraries, i.e. Wepener and Oranjeville which are in rural areas, and libraries in Botshabelo, Bolakanang and Verkeerdevlei will be completed during the MTEF which will also provide a dual purpose function.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in partnership with the National Library of South Africa run a pilot project in all 9 provinces to expand access to digital resources.

The main aim of the Mzansi Libraries On-Line is to provide free internet connectivity for all South Africans through public libraries, create an informed and information literate society, in support of the goals of the National Development Plan, contribute to the improvement of quality of life in South Africa by developing and sustaining the library and information service which will promote and inform an information-literate citizenry who can participate meaningfully in a democratic and knowledge-based society.

R32 million has been allocated towards this pilot project that will run for two years, with the possibility of expanding the project for another five years should the results from the pilot project prove to be successful.
The partnership between Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the National Library of South Africa is providing computer equipment to 27 libraries across the country, three libraries per province are benefiting.

In the Free State, Mangaung, Edenville and Zamdela libraries are beneficiaries of this project. Each library will receive 20 computers, 10 tablets, 10 e-readers, 1 document scanner, gaming room, to the value of R470 000.00 for public use.

This month (May), is dedicated to celebrate Africa. African countries, including South Africa are celebrating the Africa month under the theme ‘We are Africa – ‘Opening the doors of learning and culture to promote peace and friendship from Cape to Cairo’. South Africa is also celebrating 60 Years of the Freedom Charter.
This technology that we are delivering here today will indeed open the doors of learning and promote the culture of reading and sharing among Africans. The provision of computers with free internet access will indeed promote friendship, through subscriptions to social networks and will bridge the digital divide among Africans. The technology will enhance opportunities for learning and cultural exchange programmes. I have no doubt that membership in libraries will increase due to these resources.

Through reading we become literate and educated. 77 titles of the South African Classics have been reprinted as part of the Reprint of Classics Project championed by the National Library of South Africa. The South African Classics are available in this library as well, should you not be able to read in English or Afrikaans.
The project will expand and more titles will be available in different languages.

I visited Nkgopoleng Secondary School earlier this morning, to hoist our National Flag as part of the Department of Arts and Culture’s Flag in every School campaign. This campaign seeks to inculcate the spirit of patriotism and the love for our country as well as to promote nation building, national identity and social cohesion.

It involves amongst others, hoisting of the National Flag, the correct etiquette of singing the National Anthem, the recital of the Preamble of the Constitution by the learners, distribution of the South African hand flags and publications on national symbols as well as the CD Tool Kit on how to sing the National Anthem.

I humbly request you the residents of Zamdela to take ownership of this equipment; use them optimally. Become Friends of the Library and help to safe-guard the library.

I wish to thank you for your presence here today.

I thank you!