SPORT, Arts and Culture minister Andrew Langa has expressed concern over stadium rentals being charged by local authorities saying they hinder communities from accessing the facilities.
He was speaking at a press conference at a local hotel in Bulawayo on Friday where he addressed journalists on concerns over the African Union Sports Council Region 5 Under-20 Youth games which were held in Bulawayo in December 2014.
Langa said all stadiums that were renovated in the city should be accessible to the public at a minimum cost.
“We have always been concerned about the rates that are being charged by the city fathers,” he said.
“It is not only in Bulawayo, but if you go to Harare and Masvingo it is the same. I am concerned about the rates. They are rather too high.
“Even Kumalo Hockey Stadium charges are high. That is what we will try to discuss with local government and my ministry to ensure that the rates are managed by our athletes and our sports persons.”
Langa added that the responsibility of the stadia should not only lie with the local government, but his ministry should have a say in the running of the facilities.
“The management of our sports facilities in Zimbabwe will not only remain the responsibility of local government, but as the Sports ministry, we will have to have a say so that whenever they (athletes) want to use those facilities they can access them.”
Council collect 20% of the gate takings or a direct hire charge depending on which would be deemed higher.
At present, the direct hire is about $2 211,45 per day for Barbourfields while for Luveve and White City stadiums it is $665,85 and the deposit is pegged at $576.
The Insiza North MP said his ministry was in consultation through the Sports and Recreation Commission on how facilities from the Youth Games would be run.
“The consultations on how we will proceed with these facilities have already started,” he said.
“In my ministry they are being spearheaded by the Sports Commission. We are engaging the city fathers, the Primary and Secondary Education ministry and Higher Education ministry so that these facilities can be accessed by schools, youth and national teams without any problems.”
He said it was disheartening that facilities that were meant for sports development were being used for churches and as night
“If you go to Harare, the Chitungwiza Aquatic Complex is now being run as a church, night clubs are all over,” he said.
“We do not want to see such a thing in Bulawayo. It is important that as a ministry and other players, we manage our facilities so that we do not go back to the facilities that were being used here in Zimbabwe in 1995. This obviously will call for all key players, including the local government and the public, to we manage the legacy that was brought to Bulawayo.”
On the outstanding work at White City Stadium, Langa said: “Our contractors were engaged to work on the facilities and because we will pay them they will have to complete the job accordingly. As we pay them, we will ensure that they complete their job. It is unfortunate if the press rooms at Luveve do not match international standards. I thought everything was done above board. The purpose was to bring development to the city.”
He reiterated that no equipment would be moved from Bulawayo as this was part of the legacy left for the city.
“I was clear that any equipment that will move from Bulawayo will have to be sanctioned by me,” he said. “His Excellency (President Robert Mugabe) was clear that we have to leave a legacy. If we move the equipment then that legacy would not have been.
“Any equipment that was bought will have to be used by Zimbabweans in Bulawayo,” Langa said.
“If there is boxing then (Charles) Manyuchi would have to come to Bulawayo. I am not creating an issue here, but that is what the president said. Everything is here at the ZITF where we have locked it up.
“The decision on how to dispose of some of the equipment will be guided by the Ministry together with other key players.”