HARARE City Council employee Sunny Mbofana has landed in soup with his employers after a scathing attack on Sport, Arts and Culture minister Andrew Langa who had called for local authorities to reduce stadium levies.
The official, who calls himself a sports administrator, said Langa was not fit to be a minister, remarks that were taken by his employers to mean he was denigrating the name of the person who appointed him, President Robert Mugabe.
Harare town clerk Tendai Mahachi said the council had nothing to do with Mbofana’s remarks and that investigations were in progress and appropriate action would be taken.
In a statement, Mahachi said: “Harare City Council categorically distances itself from the comments made by one of its employees Sunny Mbofana on January 22.
“The views carried in the story are not shared by council and are therefore Sunny’s personal opinion. Mbofana does not speak on behalf of council and does not hold the position of sports administrator.
“Harare City Council sincerely apologises to minister Langa for any embarrassment that may have been caused by the press report. Management is currently investigating the matter and once investigations are complete appropriate action will be taken.”
Langa, who has the support of the Premier Soccer League (PSL) board, secretariat and clubs who used council stadiums weekly, had pleaded with councils to reduced levies to make the venues accessible to everyone.
Clubs have been crying foul over the 20% levy with league champions Dynamos opting to use the much cheaper National Sports Stadium than their traditional Rufaro Stadium.
In his statement in response to the minister’s call, PSL chief executive officer Kennedy Ndebele said: “The Premier Soccer League has for many years lobbied through the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa), the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) and the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Sport, Arts and Culture and other relevant ministries for local authorities to reduce the 20% stadium hire levies on gross gate takings.
“The league is therefore in full support of the Sport, Arts and Culture minister Andrew Langa’s call for the reduction of ground levies.
“Furthermore, we call upon the local authorities not only to reduce levies but also to improve their facilities. Some of the facilities lack basic requirements such as goal nets, functioning turnstiles and good playing surfaces.”
Last year, PSL clubs forked out $309 649 for ground rentals in comparison to $406 022 in 2013. Referees gobbled $226 153 up from $198 268 while police charges ate away $135 405 down from $145 226 in 2013.
In addition, clubs pay 6% levy from gate takings each to Zifa and the SRC and 3% to the PSL. Comparatively, clubs shared 25% of the leftovers after all deductions in 2013, which improved by 3% to 28 last season.
Clubs generally lack sponsorship and the country’s two biggest teams, Dynamos and Highlanders have been further hit by reduction in packages from funders BancABC.
FC Platinum, the fourth biggest franchise in the PSL, has a state-of-the-art stadium in Mandava while Bulawayo has recently benefited from the Africa Union Sports Council Region 5 Youth Games where Barbourfields, White City and Luveve Stadiums were upgraded to international standards.
Other stadiums in the country like Ascot, Chishamiso and Sakubva are just an eye sore and need massive refurbishments.