THE government will continue with works to fully refurbish White City Stadium, Bulawayo, which were stopped before the start of the African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 Under-20 Youth Games last year, Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said.
BY FORTUNE MBELE
Mnangagwa yesterday said completion of the tartan track works at the facility could not be finished on time due the government ZimAsset policy on sustainability. The vice-president was speaking at the official handover of the games facilities to the Bulawayo City Council and other stakeholders at a function at Bulawayo City Pool.
However, the AUSC regional organising committee of the games was conspicuous by its absence at the event with the local organising committee, government officials and local business people and other stakeholders attending.
“The government is fully aware of outstanding works at White City Stadium, especially completion of tartan track works at the two arena tracks. The thrust of our ZimAsset policy on sustainability forbade us from completing the works at the time we would have wanted. Nevertheless, the outstanding works’ budgetary needs will be sourced from Treasury. Once resources are made available, construction works will resume,” Mnangagwa said.
However, he did not zero in on the timeframe in which the government would resume construction. Some of the facilities that were used for the sixth edition of AUSC Youth Games are Barbourfields Stadium, Luveve Stadium, White City Stadium, Hillside Teachers’ College, Bulawayo City Pool, Bulawayo City Hall, the Bulawayo Polytechnic and Zimbabwe International Trade Fair halls.
Mnangagwa said the government would ensure sporting facilities, all meeting international standards, would be accessible to all sports programmes – at district, provincial, regional and international level. He insisted that all equipment must remain at the sports venues in Bulawayo.
“It is now time to hand over to Caesar what belongs to Caesar. It needs to be reiterated that the government invested a lot of money in equipment used during the games. The government will ensure that this equipment is transferred to central government through the Ministry of Sport, Arts and Culture. The Ministry of Sport, Arts and Culture, in liaison with the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, will ensure the infrastructural facilities and equipment are made available to community sports programmes for district, provincial, regional and international competitions. However, on behalf of the government of Zimbabwe, it needs to be pronounced unequivocally that all sporting equipment acquired for use during the games must remain at the respective sporting venues in Bulawayo,” Mnangagwa said.
Beneficiaries of some of the equipment are Hillside Teachers’ College, Bulawayo Polytechnic, government offices and hospitals.
Meanwhile, the government through Mnangangwa yesterday reiterated commitment to paying outstanding debts to suppliers and stakeholders who are owed for providing services during the games.
“The offices of the local organising committee were accommodated at Africa House Building on lease agreement. These were refurbished and all outstanding obligations will be transferred to central government through the Ministry of Sport, Arts and Culture. The government is fully aware of various challenges suppliers are encountering, which mainly arise from delayed payment. Zimbabwe is our country. No one else can understand our challenges. One thing for sure is that the government will never cease to exist. In this respect, all outstanding creditors’ accounts will be transferred to central government through the Ministry of Sport, Arts and Culture. Outstanding obligations to service providers will be paid in batches. Meanwhile, the government will keep mobilising resources for them,” Mnangagwa added.