Death of a stadium
Vandals destroying facility which drew benefit from the 2010 legacy
THE Dumpy Adams Sports Grounds in Victoria Park in Komani, a beneficiary of the Fifa 2010 Soccer Legacy project, is being vandalised and neglected, less than 10 years after being renovated.
The once-glorious sports facility, which falls under the Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality (EMLM) and which was named after the late Komani sporting hero Dumpy Adams, is showing signs of a steady decline.
The pool is standing empty, basins at one of the two ablution facility sites have been broken off the walls and the windows have been broken. The other ablution facility has a security gate and seems to be in good repair.
Ezibeleni South African Football Association (Safa) zone chairman Sandile Mata said the grounds started to deteriorate after a former municipal caretaker, Conrad Botha, retired.
“I was the president of the Queenstown Football Association in 1995. In 1996, the stadium was vandalised and by 1997, it deteriorated to its worst state. It was meant for the [residents of the] Victoria Park, Aloe Vale and New Rest (VAN) area, but since we are part of non-racial sport, we also used it although we were not from the area.”
He said Botha and a former manager of the then municipality’s community services, Hennie Stroebel, had been strict about the use of the facilities and kept them in a good state.
Between 2009 and 2010, Dumpy Adams was renovated under former Lukhanji executive mayor Mncedisi Nontsele.
“Nontsele was responsible for the renovations. The municipality put up palisade fences, the Fifa 2010 Soccer Legacy artificial turf was going to Sterkspruit and we argued for it to come to Komani, and with our meetings with the municipality concerning the renovations, the municipality promised to pay for everything, including maintaining the grounds.”
At the same time, it was decided that the Mlungisi Stadium be used as a rugby field and Dumpy Adams as a soccer field. Free access to the fields started leading to the deterioration of the Dumpy Adams Stadium from 2015, he said.
Mata attributed this to a lack of pride from the clubs who were supposed to ensure that the facilities were used only for matches, not for training, and a lack of maintenance by the current Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality.
Mata said he was ashamed of what was happening at the stadium.
Aubrey Ambraal, who is a former Progress Rugby Club president, reiterated the respect for Botha who used to look after the grounds.
“Back then we could use the showers because they still worked. He was strict and if he told you to leave at a specific time, you had to go. There were three fields – the middle one was for matches, the left was at times for soccer and the far-right field was for rugby.”
Access to the swimming pool was difficult as it was fenced and teams showed respect for the fields.
Mninawe Dubase, who is active in local soccer circles, said the state of Dumpy Adams was of great concern.
The toilets were in a state of disrepair and the existing security provided at the site did not seem to be having the required effect.
Dubase also claimed community service department head Ronel van Zyl was allowing teams free access to practise on the fields instead of restricting usage to matches and tournaments.
He said he had sent several letters to Van Zyl complaining about the state of the stadium, but to no avail and without a response.
He said he also blamed the Dumpy Adams committee who had not intervened in the matter until he joined the committee. “We are only talking about it now.” Dubase said he was worried that the Fifa 2010 legacy was being destroyed. The astro turf had started to lift and the loss of the facility would mean less children playing sport and instead resorting to drugs, alcohol and crime.
Van Zyl referred The Rep to the EMLM communications department for comment.
EMLM spokesman Gcobani Msindwana said the municipality was the owner of amenities in its area of jurisdiction “and we have an obligation to maintain and make sure that they are in good condition for the enjoyment of our communities”.
The Dumpy Adams Stadium was no exception, but problems with vandals were being experienced. “As we repair, it is damaged again.” Msindwana said there was only one guard on site to look after the vast stadium and the related budget was limited.
“We are trying to revive a management committee and implement our maintenance plan for the stadium.”
The stadium was only meant for matches and tourneys with the pitch an artificial turf which could not take strain from constant use.
“Bookings are done only by our community service department and we hire the stadium on a first-come first-served basis only for matches and tournaments and not for practices. Our area of operations has been extended to other areas, such as the former Tsolwana and former Inkwanca, and therefore our budget is not enough, but we are lobbying for more funding,” Msindwana said.
Only one of the two ablution blocks had an alarm, but the municipality was trying to install an alarm at the second.
ALL THAT REMAINS: A passer-by stands at the side of the once-popular Dumpy Adams swimming pool