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Gweru Sports Club Quagmire
Terry Madyauta

Daggers out over Gweru sports club
Gweru City Council has come under heavy criticism after ordering the closure of Gweru Sports and Recreation Club, citing intention to extend the central business district (CBD).

Gweru Sports Club is the biggest and only surviving public recreational facility in the city, after the city fathers have virtually turned all recreational facilities into residential stands.

This development comes as a huge blow to the Sports and Recreation ministry, which intended to revamp the facilities for the annual National Youth and Paralympic games the city is set to host in April next year.

sources within the council claim that some of council top officials are targeting the huge chunks of land for personal gain.

In a letter obtained by The Sports Hub, Gweru City Council, through chamber secretary Vakai Chikwekwe, gave the sports club a six-month ultimatum to vacate the area.

“I wish to advise that council is in the process of preparing the CBD extension layout plan covering the area currently occupied by Gweru Sports and Recreational Club and the Midlands School of Music.

“The layout plan is intended to create additional commercial stands to accommodate more investors who have shown interest to invest in Gweru due to its size and strategic location within the province,” reads the letter.

In light of the above, the environment, works and town planning committee at its meeting held on May 22, 2018 recommended and it was subsequently resolved by council that the expired leases not be acceded to.

The local authority has given the two institutions six months to wind up their operations by January next year.

“You are, therefore, given six months’ notice within which to wind up your business and vacate the premises by 31 January 2019.”

However, government,through Sports and Recreation Commission provincial development officer Simon Masaka, poured cold water on a move that would likely undermine sport.

“As the government arm responsible for overseeing the running and administering of sport in the province, I write seeking clarification on the reason considered by City of Gweru when they reached this decision,” he said in a letter.

“A visit by then Minister of Sport, Arts and Recreation, Makhosini Hlongwane, in May 2017 revealed that Gweru Sports club needed to be resuscitated and engagement meetings had been going on between stakeholders where City of Gweru was part of.

“Ministry of Youth, Sports, Arts and Recreation as well as the Sports and Recreation Commission have embraced the resuscitation programme and lots of resources are in the process of being mobilised to ensure that residents of Gweru have a sport and recreation facility to nurture and develop talent,” he said.

Even newly-appointed Youth, Sports, Arts and Recreation minister Kirsty Coventry has been emphasising the importance of “providing facilities and access to sport in all areas”.

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