Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter
THE Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Sport, Arts and Recreation yesterday queried the cost of Barbourfields Stadium floodlights repairs, which Bulawayo City Council representatives said would be $73 million.
The legislators also took a swipe at Bulawayo mayor Solomon Mguni and Town Clerk Christopher Dube for snubbing the committee’s invitation by sending juniors.
“We are extremely disappointed by actions of Bulawayo City Council senior management. This is a national programme and that on its own shows its seriousness, but they decided to send juniors, who might, as you saw, not be able to respond to some of our questions. It’s the only place we have visited so far where senior management decided not to come and it’s not the first time that they are doing this.
“Maybe they want travel and subsistence allowances because we will certainly summon them to Harare and the money, which otherwise would have been channelled towards refurbishment works at Barbourfields Stadium, will now be used to meet their transport and accommodation needs. In a nutshell; as a committee we are extremely disappointed,” said committee chairperson and Chivi North MP Mathias Tongofa in an interview after the tour.
During a progress report presentation to the MPs, Barbourfields Stadium refurbishment project manager Thembinkosi Ncube told the Parliamentarians that council had covered most of the things that were recommended by Caf inspectors, but they had challenges with the size of dressing rooms and floodlights, which were not yet up to the required light intensity of 1200 Lux.
He said the floodlights were at 850 Lux due to some bulbs that were missing.
When asked the cost of the total installation of floodlights, Ncube said $73 million, a figure the legislators queried, arguing that at Mandava Stadium they were given a cost of US$75 000.
“Why are your floodlights so expensive? We were at Mandava and they told us that their floodlights will cost US$75 000 and yours, even when we use a rate of 1: 100 they are still 10 times more expensive. It’s sad that your senior management decided, for their own reasons, not to come to this important tour. I know that you might not be able to respond to my question, so please go and tell your Town Clerk that we will summon them to Harare,” said Tongofa.
Responding to a question on how much Zifa had poured towards the refurbishment since it stood to reap the rewards once the stadium starts hosting international matches, a council official Nkosiyavuma Sivela, said to his knowledge Zifa had not paid anything towards the refurbishments.
After the presentation, the legislators were taken on a tour of the stadium.
Today the committee will visit Gweru where it’s expected to tour Mkoba Stadium.