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Cash splash for votes? ANC Limpopo gov. in race to rebuild sports complexes

The ANC-led Limpopo government is in a feverish race to rebuild abandoned white elephant sports complexes – some of which have become brothels, hideouts for criminals or grazing fields for livestock.

But many constituents see the frenzied construction as a ploy to use public money to buy votes for the party in next year’s election. The ANC in Limpopo denied this.

“It is a fallacy to think ANC-led councils are delivering services or projects to the people because of elections. We are bound by law to deliver quality services to our people,” said ANC Limpopo provincial spokesperson Mathole Jimmy Machaka.

“Those who think we are targeting elections must bury their heads in shame. The party is doing what it is known for – changing lives post-1994.”

Leretjeni sports complex

But Phillip Machubeni of Morutji village in Bolobedu said of the Leretjeni sports complex: “Twenty-three years and no end product. Budgets come and go and there is nothing to show for it. The municipality must explain exactly what happened to the first and second budget that was allocated to this project.

“Is it money down the drain or money in the bank?” Khepekana Mpho Rakgolela from N’wamitwa outside Letsitele said incomplete projects were synonymous with ANC-led councils.

“Their timing is questionable. The refurbishment and handing-over of the sports complex is nothing but an ANC ploy to woo voters in the coming elections. “We are not surprised at all. It has now become a weekend special kind of thing. Week in and week out, municipalities are cutting ribbons. We know it only happens before elections,” Rakgolela said.

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Most of the infrastructure projects waiting to be completed have been white elephants for years because of contractual squabbles between service providers and government, or budgets being embezzled.

As a result, some are being used as brothels, hideouts by criminals and grazing grounds, while venomous snakes slither through rusty building materials. The construction of the Leretjeni sports complex began nearly 23 years ago with a budget of R6 million.

From that, a palisade fence, a grandstand and water tanks were erected. In 2002, what had been constructed was destroyed in a storm and the project was abandoned. The materials which remained were allegedly stolen by community members.


Spokesperson for the Greater Tzaneen municipality Neville Ndlala said construction had begun again from scratch with a budget of R20 million and the complex was expected to be completed by the end of March.

“Specifications include construction of a grass soccer/rugby field and a multipurpose court for basketball, netball, volleyball and a tennis court.”

Limpopo provincial government spokesperson Ndavhe Ramakuela said its executive council had resolved that all projects initiated a while ago “should be brought to completion urgently”. “Where there are stumbling blocks, they should be resolved to bring the projects to conclusion,” Ramakuela said.

“It is no surprise therefore that the provincial government and municipalities are en route with some of those projects for recreational facilities being opened or handed over to communities.

“Government’s work has continued consistently in the past 29 years, even during elections. We can’t stop because of impending elections.” Building of the Mageva sports complex started in August 2015 at a budget of R39.8 million.


Maria Mukhari, a netball player in Ka-Dzumeri, said local sport fans had hoped the project would be completed in 2017, “but our dreams were shattered”.

“We really wanted this so young people can concentrate on sporting activities instead of experimenting with sexual activities and abusing drugs.”

At the gate of the complex, a security guard stopped our car. “You are not allowed to enter. You first need permission from the municipality. The management is very strict here and I don’t want to risk losing my job in case you are bitten by snakes while roaming around,” said the guard.

Municipal spokesperson Steven Mabunda said the council had to appoint two service providers to deliver the project.

“Then we will hand over the project,” he said. In Maruleng’s Curlais Village, a 1 400-seat pavilion stadium has missed its completion date three times but last week, the R43.9 million sports complex was finally handed over to the community by former Limpopo premier Cassel Mathale, now deputy police minister, and mayor Tsheko Musolwa.

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from The Citizen https://www.citizen.co.za/news/cash-splash-votes-anc-limpopo-gov-race-rebuild-sports-complexes/

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