Aces drags ANC into fight to use stadium

Richard Nkosi

Richard Nkosi

National First Division side Mpumalanga Black Aces hope that an intervention of the provincial executive of the African National Congress (ANC) can resolve their growing furore with Mpumalanga Rugby Union (MRU).

The latest is that MRU wrote a letter to Aces last week informing them that they are no longer allowed to use the Atlantic Stadium in Emalahleni at all.

"The Emalahleni local municipality has failed us. We wrote several letters addressed to the municipal manager AM Langa since last September raising the issue.

"Each time he promised to get back to us in two weeks time, but to date he hasn't even communicated with us once. The issue is getting worse.

"Last Friday we received a letter informing us that we are no longer welcome at the stadium at all," said a fuming Aces spokesman Thabo "T-Bose, Moroape.

Moroape said now they have written a letter to the provincial executive of the ANC seeking for their intervention with hope they will resolve the ingrowing furore.

Earlier last year MRU raised the cost of using the stadium by Aces from R800 a game to between R15 000 and R20 000 and also banned them from using one of the dressingrooms.

This forced Aces to take their last two games to KaNyamazane Stadium in Nelspruit, which is about 250km away from Emalahleni.

Aces have also applied to the Johannesburg High Court in their bid to be allowed to play at Emalahleni and are now waiting for a date for their matter to be heard.

Arrie Myburg, acting chief executive of the MRU, said not only Aces but everybody was welcome to utilise the stadium.

"We have a 30-year lease agreement that we signed in 1999 with the Emalahleni municipality for the use the stadium for which we pay about R3 000 a year.

"However, we spend about R84 000 a month on the maintanance of the stadium, that is why we charge when somebody wants to rent it," he said.