Enoch Mgijima municipality ‘sets record straight’ on controversial ‘stadium’

Enoch Mgijima stadium Lesseyton sports field
Image credit: Facebook/Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality

Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality in the Eastern Cape has moved to “set the record straight” over a “stadium” that cost R15 million to construct.

Images of the Lesseyton sports facility near Komani have sparked controversy on social media as South Africans questioned whether it cost R15 million or not.

Enoch Mgijima ‘stadium’ controversy

Among prominent leaders who questioned the cost of Enoch Mgijima “stadium” were EFF Deputy President Floyd Shivambu and One South Africa leader Mmusi Maimane.

“An ANC Municipality in the Eastern Cape, Enoch Mgijima, has opened what they call a stadium. R15 MILLION was paid to build this thing and they are proud of it. The people of South Africa must vote these people out of power because they have no shame. None whatsoever! R15m for this?” Shivambu tweeted on Tuesday.

“This sport field did not cost R15 million. That is the bottomline. The public deserves a full explanation,” Maimane added.

The Municipality shared images of the sports facility on Facebook on Monday (4 October), but deleted them soon afterwards after a backlash from social media users. Besides a relatively modest seating area for a limited crowd, not much else could be observed in the images to justify the cost.

Regret over ‘minimal detail’ for Lesseyton sports field post

In a statement on Tuesday, the Municipality expressed regret that its initial Facebook post did not contain sufficient detail about the Lesseyton sports field.

“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,” it said.

It listed what it called the “project scope,” which included:

  • Erection of 780 metres Palisade fencing.
  • Construction of rugby and soccer field (site clearing, layering of grounds).
  • Rock blasting – undertaken as the area comprised mainly of hard rock which had to be removed to allow for construction.
  • Earth works – excavation and levelling of grounds.
  • Layer works – G5 imported sub-base layer; 13 mm crushed stone which is 75 mm thick; top soil and transplanting of kikuyu grass.
  • Athletics track – grassed track – layers of crush stone, drainage system to ensure its viability.
  • Ablution facilities (2 blocks) – construction of 14 toilets and 8 showers.
  • Change rooms – showers and benches.
  • Borehole drilling, equipping and water reticulation installation, Rain water catchment tank, High rise water main tank.
  • Sewer system with sceptic tank, electrical installation, guard house and steel grand stands

It said construction started in March 2020 after an environmental impact assessment as well as survey, geotechnical and geohydrological tests.

“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,” the Municipality stated.

“The community has a rich history in sport and has also produced a professional soccer player which the municipality prides itself of.”

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