ROW OVER SITE for new STADIUM
TENSION is brewing between members of the community in Umhlabuyalingana, the Manama tribal authority and councillor Sam Gumede over a R1,5million stadium.
Sowetan has learnt that the dispute is over the location of the stadium, which the community argues is not accessible to most residents.
Community member Skhumbuzo Gumede said yesterday that they were not against the construction of the stadium but the area where it was being built.
"Again, we as a community together with traditional leadership had identified a site which is at the centre and is viable for most residents," Gumede said.
"The current location is going to be a problem for people who don't have transport. Had we been consulted all these and other concerns would have been addressed."
The stadium is scheduled for completion in June.
Gumede insisted that the stadium was bound to remain a "white elephant".
Tribal executive council spokesperson Melusi Mhlongo said the protocol had not been followed from the beginning of the project.
"According to the traditional leadership, the local inkosi has to identify a site and grant permission, but this did not happen," Mhlongo said.
"Actually, it only came as a proposal to the council and it took us by surprise to see the construction forging ahead."
He said during the council's meeting last Tuesday, it was agreed that stadium construction would be stopped.
"We have already arranged to meet with the mayor, Alison Ncube, this week about this matter because we are not satisfied and so is the community," he said.
But Gumede denied that there had been no consultation with all the stakeholders before the building of the stadium was approved.
"It was the people who, during the consultations, had said they wanted the stadium and after the budget was made available from the department of sports and recreation, I personally reported this to the community and the tribal council," he said.
He said three sites were identified and after inspections by engineers they chose the last one, which coincidentally happened to be next to his house.
"I had nothing to do with the engineers choosing this particular site. They said it met all the requirements for this kind of development and I notified the traditional council and the community on this and no one objected to that," he said.