Klerksdorp Record, Orkney - The sport fraternity reacted with shock to the total dilapidated state of the Oppenheimer Stadium in Vaal Reefs. The stadium is also referred to as the James Motlatsi Stadium but the name was never officially changed. On Wednesday 31 March a video was circulated on social media showing how cable thieves dug up electricity cables leaving only deep trenches.
Closer inspection by Klerksdorp Record shows literally no infrastructure left of this once bustling stadium that even catered for national sport events. Several areas on the second floor which housed the refreshment centre were apparently set on fire a while back, leaving only ruins. The facility once hosted a gymnasium, an entertainment area, clothing store, clubhouses and locker rooms.
The stadium was donated by AngloGold Ashanti to the Matlo-sana Municipality in 2010. Over the years high schools hosted athletics meetings at the stadium and club rugby and soccer were played but with the deterioration of the stadium that also came to an end. Until quite recently the Vaal Reefs wheelchair basketball team was based there. It is known as a famous landmark in the North West.
The pillaging is apparently the work of scavenging ZamaZamas who dug up hundreds of metres of copper cable in a couple of days. Klerksdorp Record was told there is no security at the stadium at night.
The DA’s Cllr Emi Koekemoer said they’ve been raising concern over the state of facility for years “but our pleas were ignored’’.
Matlosana’s Deputy Director of Sports, Arts and Culture, Hunter Morebodi, informed the DA that the dilapidation was a result of theft and vandalism due to the lack of security at the facility.
“No effort was made by the City of Matlosana to budget for the increased security needs in each financial year. According to security guards from MK Security company and Matlosana Public Safety, the vandalisation of the stadium began 3 months ago by a group of around fifty ZamaZamas that have gone to extreme lengths to rob the facility. It has allegedly escalated in the past week to gunfire and petrol bombs,’’ said Cllr Koekemoer.
WO Elize Kruger, police spokesperson, confirmed that a case of malicious damage to property was opened on 31 March.
“Security guards discovered that almost 38 m of cable was stolen. They said that when they left the stadium after day shift everything was still in order but upon returning the following morning, they saw the trenches that were dug to get to the cable. No case of arson was ever investigated at the stadium,’’ she said.