Unremitting vandalism continues to plague Windhoek municipality’s efforts to provide adequate recreational facilities to the City residents.
The municipality is faced with a liquidity crisis and is therefore in no position to spend financial resources on rehabilitating recreation facilities.
The Sam Nujoma Stadium Field B which used to be in an excellent condition has now become an eyesore and it now mirrors a grazing terrain. What is left of value on the field are the two existing goal posts.
For the past two years, the field has been left to rack and ruin after being abandoned to favour more competing priorities.
The state of what is supposed to be a community park close to the now-dilapidated stadium have become even worse. This is a common eyesight at many play grounds around Windhoek that are used by drug users as a smoking ground at the expense of children who want to play.
The City’s football stadiums and community parks are currently in a repentant state, giving young people no space to grow talents and children from the informal Katutura recreational platforms.
In 2016, the water shortage in Windhoek forced the CoW to close all sports grounds with grass surfaces. This was due to threatened water supplies for maintenance towards the facilities. Subsequently, this signalled the closure of the Sam Nujoma field B, the Khomasdal and John Ya Otto sports grounds. These fields used to be home grounds for local teams during community leagues that now have look for alternative venues.
The CoW Sports and Recreation section head Uakazuvaka Kazombiaze this week denied claims that the municipality has abandoned recreational facilities saying it was a “circumstantial push”.
“It is not only at Sam Nujoma Stadium field but the Khomasdal and John Ya Otto grounds too. The grass at these fields has perished due to the recent drought.
We only have two water reservoirs that supply water to these fields. So due to the shortage of water at the time, we could not irrigate the B Field and the other two. But this does not mean the municipality has abandoned the fields. We were pushed by the circumstances,” said Kazombiaze.
The Sam Nujoma field –B however will have to look like a grazing field for quite some time as the municipality is currently only prioritizing on the Khomasdal and John Ya Otto grounds which they anticipate to open in April and June respectively.
Kazombiaze explained that the deliberate delay in rehabilitating the Sam Nujoma field B is influenced by the high costs involved in rehabilitating a field.
“Rehabilitating a field is an expensive exercise.
Thus, we are currently busy recollecting grass from our other facilities for the Khomasdal and John Ya Otto grounds because buying grass alone is very expensive. To revamp a field cost nothing less than N$300 000. The earth works alone cost nothing less than N$1.2 million. And then you add maintenance cost which are not a joke at all,” explained Kazombiaze.
The section head also shared that they have tried sourcing financial assistance from private and corporate Namibia but the fraternity does not seem to value their possible return on investment. He also highlighted the skewed preferences of government when it comes to facility development.
“Just like they do in other regions, why can they not develop stadiums and donate them to us? Facility development is not just a CoW thing. This is where we all play our role.”
On parks, Kazombiaze expressed his disappointment on the communities that are mum when they see vandalism only to grill the municipality during community meetings about the parks.
“The pace at which vandalism is taking place at these parks is a concern with which we cannot keep up. The biggest concern is that the community members in the vicinity of the parks see people breaking down the park but they do not report, just to wait and complain during meetings.”
“Money that we are supposed to use to develop other facilities is being used to rehabilitate the existing ones. The people are literally going there to break things down for other uses.”
When The Patriot visited one of the parks in Dolam, a vision of empty alcohol bottles, cigarette buds, used condoms and heaps of garbage on the sides of the playground are just some of the items.
An elderly lady from the area, who identified herself only as Ousie Maria, expressed her discontent in the young adults who use the park as their drinking spot.
“Every Friday, they will come and park their cars in the park, open the boots and play their music out loud while drinking with school girls.
They do not clean up and you cannot even talk to them because they will assault you,” she lamented.
Kazombiaze shared the same sentiments, saying that the parks are no longer safe as they have become breeding grounds for crime and activities outside the parks’ initial objectives.
The municipality currently has 32 public parks and three football stadiums in Windhoek, Kazombiaze said the municipality will prioritize the rehabilitation of the facilities.