Vandalism, gang wars, hamper youth activities

Tafelsig soccer coach Paul Daniels with Christopher Bougardt, 12.

Tafelsig soccer coach and chairman of Dolomite Facility Management Committee (FMC), Paul Daniels, says it is a huge challenge to keep youth off the streets, when recreation facilities are constantly being vandalised.

Mr Daniels, who oversees sports facilities in Tafelsig, said the Tafelsig West Sports Association had to stop playing league matches because there was no ablution block, entrance kiosk or fence around Dolomite Sports Field.

He said gang wars had stopped the youth from coming to practise two years ago and subsequently infrastructure was being stolen brick by brick.

“About eight years ago, it was my plan to unite people in the area with soccer. We started the association, but we had to pay for things from our pockets, the cloak room was vandalised and we had to stop using the field because of the drought.”

He said clubs outside Tafelsig came to play on the local field, which needed maintenance.

“We would like it to be restored to its former glory,” he said.

Mr Daniels said he had a passion to help children,especially keeping them busy in a positive way.

“Theywake up to stand on corners, and we don’t know what is going to happen to them in five to 10 years’ time,” he said.

Mr Daniels also runs a feeding scheme and does what he can with the money he has.

Dr Zahid Badroodien, the mayoral committee member for community services and health, confirmed the sports facilities were badly vandalised but the grass surface had been playable until recently.

“The department is aware that facility infrastructure has been stolen and vandalised and that this has negatively impacted on the use of the facility.

“The fence on the school side of the sports field was stolen again.”

Dr Badroodien said Mr Daniels’s concerns were taken into consideration in the recreation and parks annual repairs and maintenance plans.

He said it was not sustainable to keep on repairing facilities that were continuously being vandalised or to increase the levels of security every time there was an incident.

“The relevant staff will have to engage the Municipal Facility Management Committee (MFMC) to develop a workable, sustainable and feasible plan with priorities of what needs to be done to get the facility to a usable standard. This will have to include aspects of community ‘ownership’ of the facility,” he said.

The MFMC consists of representatives of all the traditional users at that facility.

Dr Badroodien said the MFMC, such as the one that Mr Daniels was a member of, were partners of the recreation and parks department, when it came to the usage of sports fields.

“They play a role in co-ordinating usage of those sports fields. Usage of this facility is regulated as it is at other facilities. Anyone can use the facility for matches which the facility is set up for,” he said.

He said local clubs wanting to use the field would have to speak to staff responsible for the facility.

Mr Daniels envisions a stadium on the site, but the City said it was a community sports field and that the City had no plans to build a stadium there.