‘City not delivering on sportsfield promises’

Strandfontein Sports Field.

Disgruntled Strandfontein residents and the local sporting community say City dropped the ball and is not keeping it’s promises on Strandfontein Sports Field.

The City had promised to restore the field after

it spent millions on a temporary homeless shelter for six weeks duringlockdown.

Huey Jacobs, chairman of the Strandfontein Facility Management Committee (FMC), said they were told by the City that only four of the eight fields would be ready in March next year for the soccer season.

“This is unacceptable,” he said. “They had millions of rands to set up this homeless shelter but now they do not have a cent to ensure our children are kept off the streets.

“The field that we had before the shelter was not that great to begin with but we made do and now it is in an even worse state,” he said.

“Strandfontein does not have a clubhouse, toilet and dressing rooms or shelter for spectators, come rain or sunshine,” he said.

He said the cricket fraternity was not being catered for as summer approaches.

He said facilities in “white” communities were looked after by local businesses and those who used them. “But here we have to fight with the City to give us the power to manage the sports field and give us what is necessary to look after it,” he said.

Mario Oostendurp, chairman of Strandfontein Residents’ Association, said the City was just doing maintenance work on the field.

“No rehabilitation, budget or plan to improve the state of the field,” he said. “We will have a meeting and discuss our options.”Mitchell’s Plain Local Football Association (MPLFA) president, Wayne Carstens, said they were waiting on timelines and plans for the maintenance and repairs of sports fields across Mitchell’s Plain and Strandfontein for decades now.

Last month the Wolfgat Sub-council agreed to support local businesses to tender for contracts of up to R100 000 to maintain and repair sports fields (“ New plan for sports fields”, Plainsman, September 30).

“This message sounds like putting jam on dry lips. I for one don’t care about their procurement. They need to give us the timeline and projects for the upgrade and rehabilitation of facilities,” he said.

Mr Carstens said the City was again pushing their responsibility on to someone else. “So when you enquire they fob you off,” he said.

He said the City should give sport clubs the lease, who would then be held responsible for the planning and development of fields.

Natasha Hendricks, vice president for women in the MPLFA,said “We have been fighting for funding for the past 10 years and manpower to look after our sports fields,” she said.

“This is important for all sporting codes. For every kid in this community. To ensure their future.”Ms Hendricks said about 30 soccer clubs use Strandfontein, Westridge and Rockland sport fields; and that every Saturday they were used.

She said the Strandfontein sport field was more user-friendly for the children, who now had to wait until the field was on a better standard.

“The back fields are not ready. Parents have to take their children to play elsewhere. They are mainly affected by the shortage of sports fields.”

She said the amateur soccer season restarts in March. “This deprives our junior teams. The youth will have to suffer and lay at home idle. It is like saying keep the children out,” she said.

Dr Zahid Badroodien, mayoral committee member for community services and health, said the City’s recreation and parks department has identified the need for a master plan for the Strandfontein facility.

“The master plan will detail the future vision of the facility and prioritise projects, including maintenance and infrastructure.

“An internal process has already started to gather all the base information. The development of the master plan will require engagement with the community and stakeholders and this will be undertaken in the coming months,” he said.

Dr Badroodien said a borehole has been installed; electrical repair work was done; the installation of a new potable line was completed, along with a new pressure reducing valve (RPZ valve); the ablution blocks have been upgraded with all new sanitary ware; cricket sight screens have been installed – a new design was piloted at the facility; and a full irrigation design for the facility is being worked on.

He said the first phase of the irrigation reticulation main line has been approved.

All contract documentation has been finalised and the contractor will start work in the next week.

Dr Badroodien said their standard maintenance programme was in place, including mowing; weed control; and cricket pitch maintenance.

They may also be looking at mole control. “Once the irrigation is in place, this can be expanded to include fertilisation,” he said.

According to the City R44 million was spent on weather-proof tents and services, at multiple sites across Cape Town, to shelter and care for the homeless.

They believe they were mandated to assist the homeless under national lockdown regulations which directed municipalities to immediately provide emergency assistance.

“The costs for Strandfontein formed part of this expenditure,” he said.

The City promised that the facility would be left in the same condition it was found, with added improvements.

Dr Badroodien said some of these were implemented, while others were part of a longer term strategy for the facility.

“Due to the uncertainty around Covid-19 and the impact on City operations, it has not been possible to assign timelines or budget to the project, as most of the work has had to be pushed back until operations normalised within the recreation and parks department,” he said.