Race row over R12m stadium

By Kamva Mokoena

By Kamva Mokoena

Racial tensions between white and black residents have erupted at Kokstad in southern KwaZulu-Natal over the planned construction of a R12 million multisports stadium next to the town's rugby stadium.

Township residents feel the location of the stadium in the town centre will only benefit white residents, but white residents feel this claim is unwarranted.

The new stadium is designed to accommodate all sporting codes, including swimming, tennis, basket ball, soccer, rugby and netball.

Infrastructure manager, Andile Wellem, said the monies will be allocated to the building of the stadium in three phases.

Secretary for the South African Football Association in Sisonke region, John Motsa, said they had been shocked by the news, especially after the Greater Kokstad municipality had failed to maintain existing stadiums like Bhongweni and Riverview sport fields.

"Bhongweni Stadium was closed last year after reports that it would be renovated, but until now, nothing has been done," said Motsa.

He said the location of the stadium in the town, which was so far from the townships where there are more than 40 clubs, did not bode well for race relations in the town.

Acting municipal manager, Lihle Ndzelu, however, denied his municipality had failed to renovate the existing stadiums, saying a budget had been allocated to repair them.