Says P13 million is needed for refurbishment of stadia
The Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Tshekedi Khama, says most stadiums in Botswana are in a state of shambles and need major refurbishing.
Speaking in response to Gazette Sport’s questions regarding the state of stadia, Tshekedi said that his ministry intended asking for funds to refurbish stadia and that P13 million would be needed for the purpose while the ministry had only P6 million. “I also want a situation where every stadium has money for maintenance,” he noted.
“I think the next projects that we are going to do as a ministry ought to be sustainable. We must desist from the mentality of building things because it is nice to have them. We already have a deficit of about about P 7 million. What we are going to do is that we are going to fix the stadiums in the order of priority. We will opt for stadiums that are in real shambles. Look at the likes of Masunga Stadium; it is a complete disaster.”
Tshekedi referred to the National Stadium in Gaborone as an example of stadiums that were built with no proper guidance. “The area where the National Stadium is is not perfect and it has outgrown its position,” he said. “That is because accessing it is a challenge and evacuating in an emergency would be a major problem. That whole area ought to be given to UB for institutional use and then we must move sports elsewhere. We have land and its not too late.”
He believes building certain stadiums was unnecessary and that the money could have been invested in sports development. “If we had aborted two or three stadiums and used the money for sports development, it would have been money well spent,” said Tshekedi. “We must not get excited and say it is the season to build stadiums.”
Even so, Minister Tshekedi emphasised that his ministry would carry on with construction of 10 mini-stadiums that were planned for last year. “The question, however, remains what are we going to use to maintain the stadiums if we do not have money to maintain those we have now? That is the question that I asked myself when I took charge of this ministry,” he said.
Asked if it is not ideal for his ministry to adopt the public-private partnerships (PPP) approach to maintenance of stadia, Tshekedi responded: “That one is very difficult because those who use the stadiums are in most instances financially challenged and anybody who invests in the stadium will want to have a return. Would the sport in that area give the PPP investors a return when they are not managing with the BNSC? So we have to be careful when it comes to PPPs.”