By Maxwell Levine
Once the “Mecca” of rugby in the province, hosting international matches as well as Rugby World Cup 1995 matches, Premier Soccer League matches and a host of events, the Buffalo City Municipality Stadium is a shadow of what is used to be, dilapidated and left to ruins.
The former home of Border Rugby is left unattended, no maintenance and virtually decaying and a painful sight to every sport loving person in the region, who had the privilege to watch games at the venue during the glory days. The stadium falls under the Buffalo City Municipality with Border Rugby Union over the years the main tenant, until the lease was not renewed and leaving Border Rugby with no home after their eviction.
How did it get this far, with the municipality seemingly less interested in maintaining the venue, nor has there been a lease renewal with a body that is the custodian of rugby in the region?
Of-late BCM Council approved the lease of the stadium to Chippa United, amidst an outcry from various sporting bodies, including rugby. Public scrutiny and objections were sent out by BCM on media platforms for the proposed lease to Chippa, but to date Chippa Mpengesi and his team have yet to occupy the venue. Some feel it is a deliberate ploy by BCM to leave the stadium in ruins so that they can attest that they are not in a position financially to maintain the venue with an outside entity the best option, hence the leasing to Chippa United.
One cannot help but think of the Boet Erasmus Stadium in Port Elizabeth, who for years was the epicentre of Eastern Province Rugby. The stadium has been left deteriorating, stripped bare of all its fittings, railings and miscellaneous steel. But this stadium only became redundant when the metro built the new state-of-the-art Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium. This site has now been earmarked for future development which could accommodate office space, residential, entertainment, retail and tourism activities.
In Komani, it seems the same trend follows with all the municipality-controlled fields. The demise of Dumpy Adams is imminent. Once the best multi-purpose venue in the entire province, Dumpy Adams is in shambles. Even after the 2010 legacy project at the venue, the venue is in a mess, vandalised and a hot spot for crime and drug abuse.
St Theresa Primary is just opposite the street with the school in dire need of recreational facilities. Maria Louw Senior Secondary School is only a few streets from the very same Dumpy Adams, another school that is in desperate need of sporting facilities. These two schools, within meters from Dumpy Adams, have been left frustrated and are outcasts in their own communities. A venue that could have served these two schools and produced future stars like the golden old days. This venue can also serve schools in the vicinity like Louis Rex, Nkwanca, Luvuyo Lerumo and many more. It’s a clear disregard for human life and disrespect for the schools by the Enoch Mgijima Municipality for these institutions, based in the same vicinity as the multi-purpose venue.
The less said about Sandringham Stadium the better. Still today the municipality cannot take accountability for their actions in evicting the Sandringham Sports Club from the venue. A beautiful venue that served various sporting codes is left ruined, dilapidated. Mlungisi Stadium is following in the same direction with Thobi Kula Sports Complex also on the brink of collapse. Enoch Mgijima Municipality have failed the community of Komani, period.
Victoria Grounds in King Williams Town have already been earmarked for a shopping complex. The Victoria grounds are the home of Africans Rugby Club, instead of upgrading the venue, sport will once again feel the wrath of a municipality who is careless about recreational grounds and their community’s facilities. There are many more sporting facilities around the region that have been left to go to ruin’s.