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Stadium set to get new athletics track

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“We were interested in joining hands with the municipality to try to restore the facility as well as to prevent further vandalism but we received absolutely no response from the municipality.”

THE GALESHEWE Stadium is getting a brand new synthetic athletics track, laid around the centre football pitch by a private contractor, in a move that will turn the stadium into a multi-sports venue.

Earlier this week the DFA followed up information received from the community that the stadium was being refurbished by a private individual.

The only tenant on the premises is the Frances Baard chapter of the SA Football Association (the Regional Senior Men’s League) which has been renting the stadium premises for several years.

Safa’s regional secretary, Ponatshego Mondela, said that they had not been notified about the developments at the facility. However, they are not opposed to much-needed changes being made to the stadium.

At the site workers confirmed that they were constructing an artificial athletics race track. The workers referred inquiries to a cellphone number which they stated belonged to the contractor, referred to only as Trevor.

The number was answered once on Monday by a man who confirmed that he is Trevor. The man asked to be contacted later. The number has since then gone unanswered.

Municipal spokesperson, Sello Matsie, confirmed that the development was being undertaken by “an NGO that got money from Lotto. Very little information (is available) about them”.

The municipality’s response was in contrast to a similar request for permission by a local bikers’ club to invest in Kimberley’s caravan park, which had been invaded by criminals and was in a state of extreme disrepair as a result of vandalism and a lack of maintenance.

Chris Mpisi, from CC Riders, which utilises the caravan park for its annual rally, held around November each year and which sees a cash injection of more than R1 million into the city’s economy, said at the time that the organisation had sent a letter to the Municipal Manager regarding the state of the facility.

“We were interested in joining hands with the municipality to try to restore the facility as well as to prevent further vandalism but we received absolutely no response from the municipality.”

He added that the club had decided to raise funds to hire security guards. “However, we cannot afford to pay for security indefinitely. We are really appealing to the municipality to either restore the caravan park or to work with us as it has a lot of potential, especially for tourism.”

Mpisi said that the facility had been so vandalised that visitors could no longer be accommodated and even municipal employees had been removed from the office on the site, which was also broken into.

“Everything had been stolen or destroyed. Even the fence was gone.

He stated that despite this, he believed that the caravan park has a lot of potential. “We, as a club, were prepared to raise the funds – which we estimated would be in the vicinity of around R500 000 to

R600 000 – but we wanted some confirmation from the municipality that they will not just come and kick us out. This was such a beautiful place at one stage but there is nothing left there now.”

The municipality’s only response at the time was to fence off the caravan park.