Free State municipality’s R15-million unused sport stadium
The stadium in Lindley has stood unused for over a year and has been vandalised
- Nketoane Local Municipality in Free State paid contractors nearly R15-million for a sports facility in Ntha, Lindley, that stands unused.
- The facility is unfinished and was left to be vandalised.
- Local sports teams say they are desperate for facilities and cannot make professional progress without it.
Nketoane Local Municipality in the Free State paid contractors nearly R15-million for a sports facility in Ntha, Lindley. But the stadium is a lifeless shell – vandalised, unmaintained, incomplete and unused. In the opinion of one councillor, what has been built so far does not come close to what has been spent.
Currently, the local footballers and netball players play on open ground, while the stadium stands unused.
Invoices show that Nketoane Local Municipality was billed over R11-million by Coxinell IPP (PTY) Ltd, the main contractor between 2019 and 2021.
The municipality was also billed by Melokuhle Management for about R1.9-million; Mmileng-Wa Trading and Projects for over R800,000; Zanyan Projects for about R675,000; and in July 2022, by Monoceros Electrical for R460,000 for the installation of flood lighting.
Two flood lights were erected, but have never worked, while the other two are still lying on the ground. Soccer posts also appeared to have been abandoned on site. The pitch is in poor condition and the grass has not been mowed.
A proper pitch surface was never planted and no irrigation system installed.
There is no sign of an athletic track although that was meant to be included in the project, according to a source in the municipality. There was also meant to be a tennis court and there are invoices for its resurfacing.
The stadium has been badly vandalised. The doors of the toilets and dressing rooms have been removed. There are no taps visible and they may have never been installed. Windows are broken. Water pipes and a bath have been stolen. The perimeter fence is damaged.
People living nearby say the municipality only deployed security personnel after they complained the stadium was being ruined by vandals.
According to a municipal infrastructure grant (MIG) implementation plan, approved by the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), the project went to tender for R15.4-million and started in June 2019. It was meant to be completed by the end of July 2020. The completion date was revised to end of February 2022.
A source in the municipality told us: “I suspect someone has benefited from this because we don’t understand why such a huge amount of money was paid while the stadium was not completed.
“Again, the councillors are well aware of this but until today they haven’t said anything about it.
“In our records (MIG report) it was stated that the stadium is complete and the provincial government also got the same report that says there is a complete stadium on that side.”
Tshepo Mokoena, chairperson of the sports council at Lindley, said they want the municipality to come explain to the community what is happening with the stadium.
“We have been waiting for years to get the stadium and we are disappointed that our patience has yielded such a poor facility. The football field is nothing close to a normal pitch,” he said. “Other teams don’t want to come and play at the open ground and we have lost two SAB League soccer franchises because we don’t have a stadium.”
Mamokete Motaung, a player with the Ntha Cheaters Netball Club, said they need the stadium with all their hearts because they have been playing on open fields for so long.
“We were happy when we saw the contractor on the site and we thought soon we would have a proper netball court. We are now forced to play the local clubs or travel to play games, because most of the teams refuse to come to us because they say it is not safe to play on open fields.
“We wish the municipality would resolve the stadium issue so that we can have access,” she said.
Councillor Diphapang Mofokeng (DA) said the DA requested the paperwork for the stadium six-months ago but has received nothing. He said the matter has now been handed over to a legal team.
He said R15-million was apparently spent “but what is on the ground is not even close to that amount”.
“The stadium is now a hiding place for criminals and what hurts the most is that our athletes don’t have sports facilities, yet taxpayer money is being dished out,” he said.
Meanwhile, Tiisetso Mokoena, who plays with the local football association, said, “We are hurting … We find it very hard to play in the open field especially when it has rained. Many games had to be postponed because of the muddy and slippery ground. We wish the municipality would treat the stadium issue as a matter of urgency.”
Mshiyeni Mazibuko, sole member of Melokuhle Management CC, the consultancy responsible for the project, refused to respond to our questions, saying he may not disclose information to third parties and directed us to the municipality.
Coxinell sole director Mokwale Job Mamaganyane initially took our call but has since gone to ground and not responded.
The municipal manager, Mokete Nhlapo, has also evaded our questions for well over a week.
Mmileng-Wa Trading referred out queries back to the municipality.
We were unable to reach Zanyan Projects.
Mokone Mofokeng, the owner of Monoceros Electrical, confirmed that the work was not completed. He said the main contractor had damaged the cement for the pole and it had to be redone. He said the materials, such as the floodlight bulbs, were still in his possession. He said he stopped because the stadium was being vandalised.
Mofokeng said he received an e-mail last week from the municipality telling him that there is now security and he can finish the work.
“I will be going back to finish the work from Wednesday,” he said.
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