By Tougeedah Doovey
Anger is brewing in the Western Cape school sports fraternity after the City of Cape Town allegedly cancelled an inter-school event that was meant to take place at the Vygieskraal Stadium in Athlone. The issue has upset principals and teachers as schools are expected to host their annual inter schools’ sports events in the next few weeks.
Concerns have been raised by the chairperson of Western Province High Schools Athletics, Deon Wertheim, who said the City of Cape Town has cancelled the inter-school event due to safety and security reasons.
“Events had to take place on Monday and Tuesday subsequently leading up to February, where athletes are selected to take place in the South African School Championship. Late Friday afternoon, it was communicated that the City fire chief had inspected the facility and discovered that there was a sheeting of roof that made the venue unsafe and the permit was not granted,” said Wertheim.
Wertheim said 800 schools in the Western Cape will be affected.
“We are taking action against the City of Cape Town as they (the City) did not see that these facilities are looked after and can be used for public use and for schools as well for such events,” Wertheim added.
However, in response, Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Health, Zahid Badroodien, said there is a misleading information within the public sphere regarding the cancellation of the event.
“It is not a quick fix, it needs to take time and the City of Cape Town is in the process of fixing the facilities and ensuring safety regulations are in place,” said Badroodien.
He said an update will be made in a meeting taking place at 10am on Wednesday morning.
“It will be amiss of me to not take note of the complaints and concerns. A budget of 50 million rand for a number of sporting facilities has been worked out. Also to ensure that the schools do not need to travel far to host events, the City Of Cape Town is trying to make facilities available in all areas,” said Badroodien.
Wertheim raised the concern of sound issues at the city-owned stadiums, saying that participants cannot effectively hear safety and security warnings.
“Those are the circumstances and conditions made for inter-school events compared to a soccer match of Kaizer Chiefs where the volume would be extremely high,” said Wertheim.
He added that the issue of inter-schools’ sports events is known to affect parents, not just their children.