Dressage winners commit prize money to help refurbish dirty loos

2014-07-28 00:00

ABLUTIONS for grooms at a top equestrian centre, found last week to be overflowing with sewage, could be rebuilt.

And the winners of the South African Dressage Championships, which finished at the Durban Shongweni Club this weekend, have committed their winnings to the club to upgrade the loos.

Last week, The Witness revealed how grooms were expected to use toilets and showers covered in human faeces at the elite equestrian event.

The incident caused such a stink that a private donor has already made available R20 000 for an immediate upgrade to begin today, while over R30 000 was raised by competitors.

An itemised costing seen by The Witness reveals that the immediate ablutions upgrade will cost R20 372, and will include new lighting, toilet doors, cisterns, a bench and hooks, and replacements of shower taps and roses, as well as painting of the walls.

Club chairperson Anton Mostert admitted to “dropping the ball on this one”, but said they will now make every effort to improve the staff loos.

“We have been trying to position ourselves as a premium venue, which is how we have attracted big sponsors. We are going to create a groom and ground staff facility with a lounge, with cooking and kitchen facilities. We expect the best from our employees and the facilities they have must be acceptable,” said Mostert.

He said the new loos will be serviced regularly with their own dedicated cleaner during big events.

“We will make it part of our management programme to inspect these ablutions daily and we will supply toilet paper,” said Mostert.

The club’s event sponsors include Nissan, Harcourts Real Estate, Land Rover and BMW.

The organiser of the South African Dressage Championships, Bev Pendock, said they had put out the challenge to the various other equestrian disciplines to raise funds for the ground staff and grooms’ facilities.

“The majority of riders have given their prize money back. We raised over R30 000 from riders and donors, and have put out the challenge to the show-jumping and event riders to meet our donation,” said Pendock.

She said the Durban Shongweni Club has positioned itself as one of the premier equestrian facilities in South Africa, but this incident has “really knocked us on the head”.

“There is talk about rebuilding a new facility in the off-season, although this is not official. We are very aware of what the facility is lacking, but something positive has come out of this,” said Pendock.

• jonathan.erasmus@witness.co.za

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