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11 June 2019
Minister of Sport and Cultural Affairs
Western Cape Province
Dear Minister Marais,
We are somewhat concerned about what, to us, seems to be extravagant and ill considered expenditure on sports facilities by Bitou Municipality.
For example, Province’s original allocation in 2017/18 for the New Horizons sports field upgrade was R4.3 million, but the actual expenditure was R6.8 million, and it is still not finished. R3.3 million was spent on upgrading the Kurland sports facilities in 2018. Another approximately R4 million was spent in Kranshoek for their sports field upgrade in 2018. R3.6 million was spent on Bossiegif sports facility. R6 million was spent in Kwanokuthula a few years ago.
Bitou also spent R3.3 million on floodlights for two sports facilities. The lighting in New Horizons is still not working and has never been turned on.
Another example of what raises concerns for us is that tenders call for grass cricket pitches. These are extremely expensive items and require a high level of specialist skills and expensive special equipment such as rollers, rotary lawn mowers, etc and require constant and meticulous maintenance to keep in playable condition. We do not see any playable pitches, nor the required equipment nor the requisite budgets to maintain these pitches.
Another area of concern is that tenders call for expensive in-ground irrigation systems. Again these are not only very expensive to install but require constant and expensive maintenance which could be avoided by making use of less extravagant and cheaper systems which are less prone to breakdown and more suitable for maintenance by unskilled personnel.
Please understand that we appreciate the money being put into sports facilities for our residents, but it seems to us that little forethought has been given to how the money is being spent and little or no thought has been given to running costs resulting in profligate and irresponsible spending of scarce resources. In our opinion so much more could have been done and achieved with this money had proper planning been done.
We request that your department does a comprehensive audit of how the money has been spent on our sports fields in Bitou, and what allowance has been made for the unavoidable high cost of maintenance.
We look forward to working with you on the issue.
Plettenberg Bay Ratepayers Association