By Rukaya Mosavel
There are growing concerns about the access to the Athlone Stadium following an alleged lockdown by the City of the Cape Town. Members of the United Coalition for Sport and Community Based Organisations (UCSCBO) say they were unable to access their offices at the stadium on Thursday and that action needs to be taken against the City to ensure that the stadium is promptly reopened.
The lockdown has caused interference with the businesses who operate from there. UCSCBO said that the City has not given any notice of the lockdown and did it unexpectedly. According to the organisation, the South African Football Association (SAFA) are in the middle of their season and trying to register 120 000 youth to join the association. They claim that the lockdown by the City has interrupted this process once again.
In a press statement, the UCSCBO said in February 2019, the City stated through Mayor Dan Plato that ‘no tenant would be evicted’, but the City has reneged on its promise. SAFA and other tenants claim that they have held meetings with both the Mayco member Alderman James Vos and the executive director. The say the result of this was fruitless because their grievances were met with an indifferent attitude, on the side of the City.
UCSCBO administrator Noore Nacerodien said: “We met with the city and we were always told that no tenant will be evicted. Two days ago, we heard from one of the tenants about planning an interdict against the city. They were told to evacuate.”
The City says that they are concerned about the safety of the east-stand, the stand close to the swimming pool. This contravenes with the South African Sports and Recreation Act (SASREA) that aims to provide measures of safeguarding and protecting the well-being of people and property at sports and recreational events. This is the apparent reason for the city wanting to evict the tenants.
“Yet the City allows Cape Town City to play there and allows the minstrels to have their competitions there,” Nacerodien responded.
He said that the City cannot close half of the stadium and not the other. The City is accused of being non-inclusive and not accommodating everyone, but instead talking to selective individuals and organisations.
Following this, the City’s executive director for economic opportunities and asset management, Kelcy Le Keur issued a court statement defending the City’s position. The Western Cape High Court ruled in favour of the City on Friday.
According to the statement, the space occupied in the East Wing of the stadium is under contravention to the National Building Regulations. This safety hazard has resulted in the City been issued a Summary Abatement Notice which prohibits the use of the entire East Stand.
It is with this reason that the City has locked out tenants and defended itself in court. This means that in order to comply with the SASREA act 2 of 2010 and the National Building Regulations (NBR), the City claims it had to proceed in a lockdown.
The City has also defended itself by stating that they have continually been active in engaging with the affected parties since November last year.
They claim that they have notified the parties about the contraventions and the impacts of not complying with legislation. They say that the parties were aware of an eventual lockdown and that a few occupants that refused to comply resulted in this lockdown.
The UCSCBO is yet to comment on this. VOC