By Tamlyn Canham
The Eastern Cape’s R15-million “stadium” continues to be a big talking point online.
The so-called state-of-the-art Lesseyton Sports Facility was recently unveiled. Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality officials proudly showed off the work they had done.
But South Africans were left shocked and confused after viewing pictures of the facility. Many questioned where the R15-million went as the facility looked bare.
Local residents have decided to see for themselves what all the fuss is about.
Reporting live from the “crime scene” – Mmusi Maimane’s words, not ours – residents have taken it upon themselves to inspect the sports facility.
They have nicknamed the facility the ‘Athi Geleba Super Stadium’ after the Presidency’s head of digital communications seemingly tried to defend the amount spent.
Geleba’s tweet led to a mini twar between Maimane and DJ Shimza – who lost the battle by 10-1, according to tweeps.
Dozens of residents visited the “low budget” sports facility on Tuesday. Some recorded live Facebook videos as they walked around.
“Residents living close to the Athi Geleba Super Stadium are taking videos and posting on Facebook. Poles are already broken,” one Twitter user wrote.
Residents living close to the Athi Geleba Super Stadium are taking videos and posting on Facebook. Poles are already broken 🙆♂️🙆♂️
Bathi kudlaliwe nge R15 million
— Veve (@LudidiVelani) October 6, 2021
A closer look at the R15 million stadium pic.twitter.com/Qcx3PBqjDt
— Musa Khawula (@khawula_musa) October 6, 2021
— Mdlane waseCrossroad🇿🇦 (@MdlaneCrossrds) October 5, 2021
The video of the R15 Million Lesseyton Sports field pic.twitter.com/aoRIEOVh53
— The Lone Reader™ 📚 🇿🇦 (@Mzima_Lumkile) October 5, 2021
Eastern Cape government seeks answers
With just one month to go before the local government elections, the unveiling is not a good look for the ANC.
Eastern Cape officials are now seeking answers over stadium-gate.
Co-operative governance MEC Xolile Nqatha says they expect to have a full report on the matter within a week.
“I fully understand the negative commentary and public comments on the matter. For that reason, we have requested the leadership of Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality to get all the facts about the scope of work for the project and what has been delivered so far,” he said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Enoch Mgijima municipality officials say the social media post that started all the drama did not provide enough details about the project.
“The Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality is aware of concerns from members of the public on social media around the Lesseyton sports facility constructed near Komani. The municipality regrets the manner in which the initial post was shared where minimal detail was provided,” spokesperson Lonwabo Kowa said.
Construction on the sports facility began in March 2020.
The municipality says the project scope entailed the erection of 780m palisade fencing, rock blasting, layer works, earthworks, ablution facilities, and the construction of a rugby and soccer field – among other things.
“The municipality has made this investment in the rural village in support of sport activities in the area. This is aimed at providing the community, especially youth, with a facility that will serve as a suitable playing ground to benefit over six villages.”