Frustrated Mamelodi community denied access to sporting facility as HM Pitje Stadium upgrades delays

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is disappointed that the lack of progress with regards to the demolition and reconstruction of the dilapidated HM Pitje Stadium has caused children and sporting clubs in the community to seek alternatives venues such as Loftus Versfeld and Lucas Moripe Stadiums in Atteridgeville, at great commuting cost for themselves. 

 This has naturally caused unnecessary frustration for Mamelodi residents in Tshwane.

The HM Pitje Stadium which was once the pride of the Mamelodi community and a home of the CAF champions, Mamelodi Sundown, but is now a drug den and a safe place to harbour criminals, putting the lives of residents in danger. 

The Gauteng MEC for Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation (SACR), Mbali Hlophe has indicated that the decision to demolish the stadium had been taken and was communicated to the residents during a stakeholder meeting on 27 February 2021. The demolition will take place in the current financial year, however there is no detailed timeline as to when this will happen.

MEC Hlophe was responding to my written questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL).

According to the MEC, the estimated cost of the demolition is R20 million, and the reconstruction of the stadium remains a challenge as it is estimated that it will require R10 000 per seat for a new stadium.

This clearly indicates that the department has not yet budgeted for the reconstruction of the stadium yet there are aware that the communities are in dire need of proper sporting facilities such as this stadium, which will certainly nurture and develop young sporting talent from the grassroots level.

Furthermore, the department has underspent by R161.1 million for the 2020/21 financial year of which there is R844 000 irregular expenditure as a result of irregular appointments – money that could have been used to demolish and construct the stadium.

 This information was revealed in the department’s fourth quarter report for the said financial year.

The DA will continue exposing MEC Hlophe for dragging her feet on getting this stadium completed and will demand her to reprioritise the department’s expenditure plans to ensure proper budget allocation, focusing on the core mandate of the department of providing universal access to sports and facilities.

We will further write to MEC Hlophe and request time frames as to when the demolition process will begin and when the stadium will be reconstructed.

There are also media reports that Mamelodi Sundowns and the Motsepe Foundation is willing to assist the government to refurbish the stadium. I will also write to the club to ascertain what they are willing to assist with and facilitate an engagement between them and the department.

In our engagement with Motsepe foundation, our first priority is that we care about the people of Mamelodi and urge the residents to fully utilise and safeguard this facility and not to sell their only prime township sports asset away. We believe that our intervention will help to speed up the process of rebuilding the stadium to make it a wonderful facility to nurture talent to greater heights.

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