A year on there’s no movement on Strandfontein sports field

Mario Oostendurp, Bayview resident and chairman of Strandfontein Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association

City of Cape Town Concentration Camp – for South Africa, Cape Town and particularly Strandfontein, this should be a constant reminder of the gross and blatant abuse of human rights, as observed and reported by numerous Chapter 9 institutions and the media, perpetuated by DA politicians, party members and council officials, who ignored violations and supported the social separation of approximately 2 000 displaced people from the mainly affluent areas, to the infamous Strandfontein Concentration Camp.

The Strandfontein Sports field was apparently used, among other reasons, because it was “an abandoned facility”, according to mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith.

But in reality, it is the City’s inhumane racist policy of Apartheid-styled spatial planning policies and social separation.

Today, almost a year later, little progress has been made in respect of repairs, maintenance and upgrades at the facility, which renders the facility useless.

Mayor Dan Plato and mayoral committee member for community services and health Dr Zahid Badroodien promised to return the sporting facility to the community in the condition it was – and better – as a gesture of goodwill.

How do we as a community hold the City and its officials accountable, should it fail and have failed to uphold its promises to the sporting fraternity and broader community?

Mr Plato, Dr Badroodien and Mr Smith – what happened to your public commitments and undertakings with regards to rehabilitation, restoration and upgrades at the complex, which were to be prioritised as a gesture of goodwill to the Strandfontein community?

An estimated R61 million was spent at the Strandfontein concentration camp, with no funds made available for the immediate rehabilitation of our facility, but continuous delays and excuses related to budgetary constraints?

Dr Zahid Badroodien, mayoral committee member for community services and health, and DA Cape Metro deputy chairman, responds:

The City of Cape Town’s recreation and parks department has identified the need for a master plan for the Strandfontein facility. This includes a targeted approach to upgrading the irrigation system in phases on the different fields.

It also includes the future vision for the facility, prioritising projects based on maintenance and infrastructure needs.

As the master plan develops, it will require engagement with the community and all relevant stakeholders, which has already begun and will continue in the coming months.

The current maintenance programme for Strandfontein sports field includes mowing which is done at least twice a month or as and when required. We also do routine weed control twice or thrice a year or as and when needed.

Maintenance of the cricket pitch is ongoing, consisting of monthly mowing of the cricket outfields, as well as preparation for matches.

A number of infrastructure projects have already been implemented in phases during the current financial year.

This includes developments prior to the above listed – installation of a borehole; electrical repair work to all the electrical infrastructure; installation of a new potable line along with a new pressure reducing valve (RPZ valve); ablution blocks upgraded with all new sanitary ware; cricket sight screens installed – a new design piloted at this City facility; rehabilitation of the cricket practice nets; full irrigation design for the facility; installation of a new isolated mainline to supply water for the future irrigation systems to be installed at all fields; and installation of an irrigation system covering the cricket oval (this system receives its water from the new mainline).

The Department is currently working towards installing an irrigation system for the soccer A field section which will also receive its water from the new mainline.

It is clear that a significant amount of work has already taken place at the Strandfontein Sports Complex.

(With regards to the shelter), the City of Cape Town delivered South Africa’s highest service reach to the homeless in line with alert Level 5 of the national lockdown regulations last year.

The City sheltered more than double the number of homeless compared to the whole of Gauteng, according to national Social Development statistics.

Cape Town achieved far more for people living on the street compared to any other metro during Alert Level 5, including – housing more than 1 350 homeless people provided with treatment for conditions like tuberculosis (TB), HIV, diabetes, hypertension and epilepsy.

More than 120 people were re-integrated with family; 4 500 meals a day, 2000 mattresses and blankets; rehabilitation services for substance users.

This was made possible by concentrating limited City resources at the centralised Strandfontein facility together with expert NPO partners, Haven Night Shelter and Ubuntu.

We are now laser-focused on ensuring the facility continues with its sport and community development purpose.

The City of Cape Town is the only municipality that successfully implemented the instruction from national government to make available temporary emergency accommodation. We will keep our promise of an upgraded community facility guided by your inputs to the masterplan.

We are not deterred by the melodramatic and expected opportunistic attacks made by an individual with known political ambitions.

My invitation to Mr Oostendurp is to work with the City instead of attacking it.