MEC begins audit of sports facilities

THE Gauteng government is doing an audit of sports facilities in the province with the aim of refurbishing them.

MEC for sports, arts and culture Lebohang Maile started the process by touring Soweto townships yesterday, focusing on facilities of historical significance.

Maile's first stop was at the Dube Boxing Club, a facility that has produced great boxers, including former champion Jacob "Baby Jake" Matlala.

"The Dube Boxing Club has contributed immensely to the development and success (of the sport). We went there to see how we can help to sustain the place," Maile said. "The challenges they are faced with are around equipment and expanding the club. We are going to approach the Johannesburg municipality to help the gym."

The next stop was the Arthur Ashe Tennis Court in Jabulani, a facility with 16 courts. They have 70 development players and 24 playing competitive tennis.

"Their members are from other townships outside Jabulani. We want to expand the club by renovating other tennis courts in Soweto," Maila said.

"Most of the existing tennis courts do not need major renovations. We will speak to the municipality because the Arthur Ashe Tennis Court belongs to them. People running Arthur Ashe are raising funds, they are not relying on the government to build a gymnasium and a hostel to accommodate the players.

"We want to see young people in Gauteng playing sport after school, be it soccer, athletics, cricket, softball, squash, karate, rugby or netball."

Maile wrapped up his visit at the Soweto Country Club in Pimville, one of the biggest golf facilities in a black residential area in Gauteng.

"The facility is in terrible shape, we are going to renovate it too. We will be visiting other facilities in Gauteng before having a meeting with the federations to map the way forward."

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