Concern over state of Jan Smuts Stadium

IN DIRE NEED OF ATTENTION: The state of the Jan Smuts Stadium in East London has resulted in calls for a revamp and better maintenance Picture: Sivenathi Gosa

BORDER Athletics have expressed concern about the state of the Jan Smuts Stadium, the condition of which has in the past resulted in a national event not taking place in East London.

Chairman of track and field in the organisation Dumisani Nokenke said in 2012 Athletics South Africa visited the stadium in 2012.

“We wrote a letter to the Buffalo City Municipality indicating all the wrong things that need to be given attention as they are the ones responsible for the facilities. We have been writing letters to the municipality for the past six years and still no response. Last year, the water pipes stopped functioning, and the toilets also do not work.”
There was no security and vandals were vandalising the grounds and stealing equipment.

“We no longer have discus, pole vault and hammer throw because of the lack of equipment. It is a shame, because the pupils do practise these sporting codes, but can not showcase their talents on a higher level due to the lack of equipment.”
Nokenke said they wanted to move the events to Hoërskool De Vos Malan in King William’s Town but track events would prove problematic.

If Border Athletics used the stadium in East London, it would have to hire portable toilets at a cost of R30000 per day.

“There are 434 schools in BCM alone that will compete [in events] – excluding the coaches and managers – and next month it is time for the provincial athletics. We will have to work with the department of sports recreation, arts and culture (DSRAC) to allocate a budget that will assist in resolving some of the problems.”

GALLERY:Jan Smuts falling apart

Hudson Park High School has been using the facilities for the past three decades but may not be able to do so any longer.
Deputy headmaster Dave Alers said the school had annually booked the stadium for athletics events but was this year told that there was no water and electricity.

“We have to bring our own sound system, computers and portable toilets. The hurdles are broken and/or have been stolen. This is just such a sad state of affairs as it is a top venue that has been destroyed.”
BCM were asked for comment but had not responded at the time

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