Cape's sports facilities about to crumble

By Anal Powell

Some of the city's sports facilities "are on the verge of collapsing" and the sports and recreational directorate needs at least R26-million in the next financial year for critical repairs and maintenance.

Without this extra money for maintenance, "icons" such as Newlands swimming pool, would have to be mothballed, said Grant Haskin, mayoral committee member for amenities and sport.

He said the City of Cape Town would need to spend at least R150-million if it wanted to bring its 755 amenities and facilities up to international standards within the next three years.

The international norm for maintenance is between 3 percent and 5 percent of the total market value of the amenities.

Although the city's amenities are valued at R3-billion, the council spends only R33-million on maintenance.

This amount "will not be able to provide the funding to do the necessary repairs", said the sports directorate.

Haskin said the department's request for R26-million in the next budget, was "just the beginning".

If the budget for repairs did not increase over the next three years, the "massive maintenance backlog would reach the point of no return".

Haskin said standards at most of the city's amenities were "at less than the bare minimum". Many of the city's halls, sports facilities, including sports fields, pools, resorts, beaches, public toilets, bathhouses, stadia and recreation centres were operating in sub-standard conditions.

The sports directorate said that a recent condition index of its facilities revealed that many buildings and sites had deteriorated. Several facilities did not meet the council's health and safety requirements. Some of the facilities were not adequately secured and were frequently vandalised.

The council did not have enough staff to maintain the facilities and few of the facilities were accessible to the disabled.

Haskin said the city had applied a "plaster policy" to the maintenance of its facilities. Windows and equipment were fixed when broken, but there was very little maintenance of buildings.

The "under-funded repair and maintenance budget" meant that the department had only been doing reactive maintenance, he said.

The rising cost of repairs meant that delays in maintenance work could cost more money in the long term.

Repairs to the roof of Good Hope Stadium would have cost R2-million three years ago.

It will now cost more than R4-million to fix.

Haskin said Newlands swimming pool was in such a poor condition, "that it is almost not worth repairing".

"These are some of the hard choices that we do not want to have to face."

The mayoral committee accepted the recommendation that a maintenance management framework was the "first step" in ensuring that facilities were maintained to international standards.

The directorate also asked that additional maintenance funding be made available when new facilities were built or commissioned.

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