Statement: Diazville Public Library damaged during service delivery protests
On Thursday, 15 November 2018, the Diazville Public Library suffered severe loss and damage as it was looted during service delivery protests in the Saldanha Bay area.
This library serves the communities of Saldanha and Diazville. During the protest action, all the windows were broken and doors were damaged. All the computers in the library were stolen – these computers were there for public use as well as for administrative use by the library staff.
Books were also stolen and the plumbing in the building was damaged, which resulted in water damage to the books.
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS) strongly condemns this destructive action to a public building and its contents. While we understand the frustration levels that citizens face, it is never justified to destroy a centre of knowledge and learning. A community library offers a safe space for children to learn, for young people and small businesses to gain access to economic opportunities and for a community to access literature. It is unfair that a community must suffer the loss of this kind of resource because of the actions of a few.
The communities of Saldanha and Diazville have now lost a precious resource – not only for accessing books but for members of the public who used the computers and broadband to access opportunities to apply for employment.
We call on the community to assist us in calling for peace in the area and to help to rebuild and safeguard this precious resource that enables community members to access opportunities to success.