SPORT, Arts and Culture minister Andrew Langa has expressed concern over stadium rentals being charged by local authorities, saying they hinder communities from accessing them.
He was speaking at a Press conference at a Bulawayo hotel on Friday where he addressed journalists on concerns post-the African Union Sports Council Region 5 Under-20 Youth Games which were held in Bulawayo in December.
Langa said all the stadiums that were renovated in the city should be accessible to the public at a minimum cost.
“We have always been concerned about the rates that are being charged by the city fathers. It is not only in Bulawayo, but if you go to Harare and Masvingo it is the same. I am concerned about the rates. They are rather too high. ”
“Even Khumalo Hockey Stadium charges are too high. That is what we will try to discuss with local government and my ministry to ensure that the rates are managed by our athletes and our sports persons,” he said.
Langa added that the responsibility of the stadia should not only lie with the local government, but the ministry should have a say in the running of the facilities.
“The management of our sports facilities in Zimbabwe will not only remain the responsibility of local government, but as Sports ministry we also have to have a say so that whenever they (athletes) want to use those facilities they can access them,” he said.
Council collect 20% of the gate takings or a direct hire charge depending on which would be deemed high.
At present, the direct hire is about $2 211,45 per day for Barbourfields while Luveve and White City Stadiums are $665,85 and the deposit is at pegged $576.
The Insiza North MP said they were also in consultation through the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) on how the facilities from the youth games will be run.
“The consultations on how we will proceed with these facilities have already started. In my Ministry they are being spearheaded by the SRC.
“We are engaging the city fathers, Primary and Secondary Education ministry and Higher Education ministry, so that these facilities can be accessed by schools, youth and national teams without any serious problems,” he said.
He said it was disheartening that facilities that are meant for sports development are being used for churches and night clubs.
“If you go to Harare, the Chitungwiza Aquatic Centre is now being run as a church, night clubs are all over. We do not want to see such a thing in Bulawayo. It is important that as a ministry and other players we manage our facilities so that we do not go back to the facilities that were being used here in Zimbabwe in 1995.
“This obviously will call for all key players that include the local government and the public so that we manage the legacy that was brought to Bulawayo,” said Langa.
On the outstanding work at White City Stadium Langa said: “Our contractors were engaged to work on the facilities, because we will pay them they will have to complete the job accordingly. As we pay them we will ensure that the complete their job. It is unfortunate if the Press rooms at Luveve to be particular do not match international standards. I thought everything was done above board. The purpose was to bring development to the city.”
He reiterated that no equipment will be moved from Bulawayo as this was part of the legacy left for the city.
“I was clear that any equipment that will move from Bulawayo will have to be sanctioned by me. His Excellency (President Robert Mugabe) was clear that we have to leave a legacy. If we move the equipment then that legacy would not have been done.
“Any equipment that was bought will have to be used by Zimbabweans in Bulawayo. If there is boxing then (Charles) Manyuchi would have to come to Bulawayo. I am not creating an issue here, but that is what the Excellency said. Everything is here at the ZITF where we have locked everything. The decision on how to dispose of some of the equipment will be guided by the ministry together with other key players,” said Langa.