Theft rife at Maritzburg Oval as covers ‘go missing’

2011-11-03 00:00

THE theft of expensive equipment and pitch covers from the Oval cricket stadium has left the KwaZulu-Natal Inland Cricket Union with unnecessary escalating costs.

The union has suffered substantial loss when eight green pitch covers made from canvas,were stolen from the Oval late last year and two more on Monday evening.

The pitch covers were used to cover the pitches in the training facilities located on the outskirts of the Oval. Stadium manager Jannie Vermaak said it was evident on both occasions that a vehicle was driven into the training area and used as transportation for the stolen covers.

“There also had to have been quite a few people involved as such covers are very heavy to carry, more so because they were wet due to the continuous rain over the last few days.

“The thieves cut a hole into the green steel fence outside and in the fence around the training nets,” he said.

Vermaak added that on site guards from a security company, employed by the Msunduzi Municipality failed to report both thefts.

“I had discovered the theft of the covers while doing my rounds during the day,” said Vermaak.

He said that both cases have been reported to the police.

Union president Yunus Bhamjee said it was not the first time that such theft had occurred at the Oval.

“The Union has lost expensive equipment due to theft out of the Oval. Not only is such equipment costly to replace, it also impacts negatively on the development of the game of cricket,” he said.

He stated further that it was a tragedy that the Msunduzi Municipality seems unphased by the events and, while the Union is mindful of the municipality’s financial predicament, it was disappointing that they continue to overlook sport as a way to uplift the community.

“As partners in PMB, the maintenance and upkeep of facilities it ultimately the responsibility of the municipality. Furthermore, the union’s hands are tied as we are not allowed to employ our own security, nor does the municipality want to give us the management contract, making it easier for us to prevent such occurrences at the Oval” explained Bhamjee.

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