R6.5 million abandoned Giyani Stadium now home to criminals, prostitutes
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Pretoria - Villagers at Homu in Giyani, Limpopo, are fed up with an abandoned stadium that is now allegedly harbouring criminals and prostitutes six years after it was conceived.
The R6.5 million Giyani Stadium was meant to have a soccer field, tennis and basketball courts and a grandstand for sports lovers to watch future stars playing their favourite games. It was meant to be completed in 2015.
The sport complex, which only has one dilapidated building as a dressing room and two floodlights for night games, was first built in 2014, but later abandoned by the municipality. It is now used as a grazing field for cattle.
The complex was intended to nurture young talent and take the youth off the streets to avoid crime, but it has now become a white elephant, a crime hot spot and a brothel for adult workers who often conduct their business in the stadium building.
Speaking to the Pretoria News, Homu community leader Ntwanano Maluleke said they were disappointed at the municipality for turning a blind eye to the activities at the facility.
He said: “Every day we hear of someone having been mugged there. Prostitutes roam around the area making money at a place that was meant to take our kids off the streets and turn them into sports stars. Instead this place has turned them into prostitutes and criminals. We are pleading with the municipality to please take this matter seriously ahead of elections.
Residents say drug dealers gather around the would-be stadium every day.
Another resident, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said she had been raped at the abandoned building after a party.
“I don’t want to say much because that place haunts me. I’ll never go there again. I can’t even remember the details, but what I know is that I woke up there after one morning naked and raped,” she said.
Giyani Local Municipality spokesperson Steven Mabunda’s phone went unanswered from Friday, while Limpopo Department of Arts and Culture chief of staff Kenny Mathivha said they had nothing to do with the stadium.
He referred questions to the municipality: “Giyani municipality should respond to this. It has nothing to do with the Department of Sport Arts and Culture. We don't build stadiums and sports grounds.
“The department does not intervene on such level. This is another government sphere which is controlled at a lesser level. Such projects are done through Public Works. Sport Arts and Culture has no say.”
The EFF in Limpopo said it had tabled the matter to Parliament years ago, but was yet to see action.
The EFF’s James Matoane said: “The issue of the Homu sport complex is a long-standing issue and we have raised it through Parliament."
Last week, the DA in the province conducted an oversight visit at the complex to see if there was progress and said yesterday that the ANC-led municipality had neglected the public space.
“The only activity taking place at the facility is the livestock that has taken over for permanent grazing land and a home.
“We will be engaging our colleagues in the Limpopo legislature for the intervention of the MEC of Sports, Arts and Culture, Thandi Moraka. It is completely unacceptable a facility that should be of great use to sport-loving youngsters in the area has become a white elephant as a result of ANC incompetence … ” DA member Solly Malatsi said.