Municipality won’t refurbish dilapidated sport pavilion

2014-07-30 00:00

THE Msunduzi Municipality has done a U-turn on its decision to revamp the Tatham Memorial Sports Pavilion.

The decision has dampened the spirits of Ntombi Luthuli and others who had been teaching for 19 years in the ­dilapidated pavilion.

It was reported last year that the municipality had plans to revamp the facility. Last September, the Executive Committee took a decision to approve a R295 000 rehabilitation plan for the ­pavilion, which is situated near the Jika Joe informal settlement.

Luthuli has been volunteering as a crèche teacher, taking care of children who were loitering around the Jika Joe settlement, since 1995.

“I am not getting paid, but I started looking after these children in 1995 because they were playing in dangerous places and eating from the dustbins while their parents were at work, so I decided to look after them,” she said.

She said: “When we started, we used to operate in an informal settlement, but we soon realised that nobody was using the Tatham Pavilion and it was becoming a haven for criminal activities.”

She said they then opted to use the facility as a crèche.

Nhlakanipho Gazu of Youth for Christ (YFC) said they were hoping that by this time work to revamp the pavilion would have begun. “But nothing has happened since last year’s announcement and nobody from the municipality has told us of any changes,” he said.

Gazu said this was a useful facility for recreation because “it gives hope to the children who live in the hopeless Jika Joe informal settlement”.

“We don’t know what will happen, but we are going to continue helping the children with their school work in these conditions,” he said.

At the time, deputy municipal manager for economic development Dr Ray Ngcobo said the crèche was operating in a condemned building and, therefore, posed a risk to the children.

Municipal spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha said the municipality had since taken a decision to redirect the R295 000 funds towards the temporary housing units that were being constructed there. “We will be relocating the crèche to these premises once the construction has been completed.”

Mafumbatha said council will not rehabilitate the pavilion.

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