New hope for Mamelodi’s neglected HM Pitje Stadium
Pretoria - The City of Tshwane has undertaken to re-establish communication with Mamelodi Sundowns and the Motsepe Foundation regarding the rebuilding of the HM Pitje Stadium.
Sundowns president Patrice Motsepe had previously offered to assist with the refurbishing of the abandoned stadium. Once the pride of Mamelodi, the ancestral home of Sundowns continues to be stripped to the ground.
MMC for Community and Social Development Thabisile Vilakazi said the plans to demolish the stadium were approved by the City in July 2019.
“Provincial funding for this purpose is pending approval. Engagement with the province is also under way, and future internal funding and other options are explored,” she said.
Vilakazi confirmed there were previous engagements with Mamelodi Sundowns delegates on the possible funding of the stadium without any success. She said they were undertaking to re-establish discussions with the Motsepe Foundation in this regard.
However, Sundown’s legal and communications manager Yogesh Singh said the offer by Motsepe was nothing new. He said they spent over a decade trying to rebuild the stadium from their own pockets.
“We’ve made too many offers and I've lost count. We offered to rebuild the stadium, but were denied by some red tape. We even asked to be on a 100-year lease after fixing the stadium, but were denied that too,” he told the Pretoria News.
Singh said no one between the City of Tshwane and the provincial government wanted to account for the stadium and see things through.
“As a result, we will continue using Loftus Versfeld and Lucas Moripe in Atteridgeville for our home games because there's no way forward.”
Tsaka Tsepedi of #BringBackPitje said the stadium was a ticking time bomb.
“Unfortunately something bad has to happen before officials fix this dump of a stadium. If someone is killed or raped there, they will come running in their suits to do damage control. Officials as always are reactive and never proactive; that has been evident since 2006,” he said.
The stadium, the ancestral home of former Caf Champions League winners Mamelodi Sundowns, has been stripped to the ground.
From the entrance to the pitch and even the changing rooms, it is in a shambles. Apart from being a haven for drug users and dealers, stray animals could be seen on the pitch. Trees and weeds resemble a forest all over the walls.
Surrounded by modern eateries and a new mall, the stadium is craving a make-over. Tsepedi said they were tired of empty promises by the provincial government.
“We are sick to the core; we've been taken for a ride for years now. I’ve even received death threats; we have no choice but to shut Mamelodi down until we are heard. We are giving government until the end of March to address the community about the stadium, failure of which will leave us with no option but to take to the streets.”
When the renovations started in 2005, the cost was estimated at around R60 million, but later it more than doubled.
There was also a dispute with the contractors because of a flawed design of the roof. The facility remains non-compliant because safety and construction regulations were not being met, and therefore the occupational certificate has not been issued.