Highlands issues ultimatum to Ekurhuleni Municipality: pay or we walk out of Tembisa
Tembisa-based Highlands Park have issued an ultimatum to the Ekurhuleni Municipality to provide financial support to the club or face the possibility of the premiership side moving out of the East Rand township.
Highlands director and shareholder Sinky Mnisi said they have spent the last five years engaging with the municipality without success. He went as far as accusing mayor Mzwandile Masina and other officials of an unwillingness to support the team.
“We’ve never even met the mayor as a club but he is able to find time to attend the Philly’s Games right here in Tembisa‚" he said.
"The mayor has not even personally congratulated us for a good season‚ nothing.”
Mnisi said Highlands have never received a cent in funding‚ adding that repeated calls to have the municipality to upgrade the stadium have fallen on deaf ears.
“I have engaged with the municipality for the last five years and they have made commitments‚ but nothing has happened to date‚” Mnisi said while addressing the media on the Makhulong Stadium pitch‚ which looked in dire condition.
“We also know about the Ekurhuleni political power contestation between the South versus North areas and hope with the elections over us‚ people will make our lives and job easier.”
Mnisi said these are the reason that have led to Highlands contemplating relocation.
They have already identified Mbombela Stadium in the City of Mbombela in Nelspruit‚ Mpumalanga‚ as their potential next stop.
Makhulong Stadium is the only venue in the Ekurhuleni area that meets Premier Soccer League standards and should the municipality fail to come on board before the start of next season in August‚ Highlands could be playing in Mpumalanga.
“We have tried to show them and demonstrate the economic spinoffs of having a Premier Division team in Tembisa and thought they would grab the opportunity that other municipalities wish to have‚” said Mnisi.
“The pitch conditions at Makhulong are disgraceful to say the least.”
Makhulong Stadim does not have a media area‚ no backup generator and there are no lifts at the facility to help disabled supporters.
There are no proper balustrade and the VIP area is in shambles.
Highlands punched above their weight last season and finished seventh on the log to qualify for the lucrative R8m MTN8 tournament.
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