ANC councillors in hot water over controversial R15m sports field in the Eastern Cape

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Lesseyton sports field outside Komani apparently cost R15 million.
Lesseyton sports field outside Komani apparently cost R15 million.
PHOTO: Supplied
  • Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Xolile Nqatha says he will give councillors 48 hours to explain why they should not be suspended for wasting R15 million on a sport field in Komani, the Eastern Cape.
  • During an oversight visit, he adds there is no value for money in the project.  
  • Nqatha says he will act against the councillors depending on what is in the report he requested from municipality's speaker. 

Enoch Mgijima Municipality councillors who oversaw the construction and unveiling of the controversial R15 million Lessyton Sport Field in Komani, the Eastern Cape, are in hot water.

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Xolile Nqatha gave them 48 hours to tell him why they should not be suspended for reportedly wasting taxpayers' money and bringing the ANC into disrepute.

He was speaking at the sport field during an oversight visit on Thursday.

This after pictures of the under-resourced sports field, which circulated on social media this week, caused an uproar.

READ They shouldn't hand over 'half-baked projects' - outrage over R15m Enoch Mgijima sports field

Scores of people questioned its hefty price tag.

The sports field has no working ablution facilities and electricity, while its grass athletic track is marked with fading white paint. It also has removable roofless metal stands for spectators.

Nqatha said the fate of councillors depended on the report he was expecting from the municipality's speaker, Bongiwe Gladness van Heerden.

"Therefore, the speaker, who is responsible for [the] code and conduct of councillors, must give me a report as to what she is doing to ensure that those councillors are held accountable.

"For that, I am giving her 48 hours to give me the report showing what steps she is taking to hold those councillors responsible for bringing the institution into disrepute."

Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality has faced backlash after unveiling a R15million 'stadium'.

He added he would assess the report and if he was not happy with it, he would take the matter up himself.  

"Depending how she [Van Heerden] responds, I will be giving the councillors 48 hours to tell me why they should not be suspended while we continue with the investigation. That is the attitude of the provincial government into this. This is something totally unacceptable."

Nqatha said the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs would forge ahead with its ongoing investigation to ensure those found responsible for the wastage faced the consequences of their actions.

He added it was clear taxpayers' money had not been put to good use and the politicians, who oversaw the opening of the field, have brought the ANC into disrepute.

SEE PICS: Magistrate's court in Eastern Cape operates from shoddy shipping containers

Speaking in the presence of the municipality's leadership, Nqatha said: "I am not a technical expert, but what I have seen and what I have read, there is no value for money here. There's got to be accountability as to whether due processes were followed in appointing the service provider and what really happened."

Meanwhile, the ANC's provincial executive committee (PEC) said if the investigation found any wrongdoing, the provincial government would act and deal decisively with corruption, mismanagement and the waste of public resources to make sure public money was spent on the services needed.

It spokesperson, Loyiso Magqashela, said: "Investing in sports infrastructure is important for our country because sports facilities are important in developing sports talent, in forging social cohesion and driving youth development in our communities.

"For us to be a winning province and a winning country, we need these facilities. The ANC remains committed to clean governance and transparency in the management of the public purse for programmes that build better communities in the Eastern Cape."

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