There are so many political, ethical and philosophical issues which emerge from the trashing of a R44 million, one-year-old sports stadium outside Pretoria.
Local thieves and nyaope addicts have carted away, piece by piece, anything which is worth re-selling – from toilets to plumbing fixtures to doors and windows – and what they haven’t managed to steal or remove, they have spitefully destroyed.
Zithobeni Stadium, near Bronkhorstspruit, now resembles a relic from a war. Those local unfortunates – sports teams and spectators who brave the dangers of the neglected playing field – have to relieve themselves anywhere they can inside the building because the bathrooms and changing rooms no longer exist.
The political question which must be asked is who is responsible and why was this allowed to happen? The project was abandoned when the Democratic Alliance (DA) ousted the ANC from the government of the City of Tshwane. Did the DA then believe it was an ANC project and no longer worth supporting? No-one knows.
What is known is that security guards were withdrawn not long after the contractor finished work in April last year. A City spokesperson claims there are “challenges” in the municipality with regards to providing security personnel. The facility has never been handed over to the community because there are “outstanding issues” with town planning permissions.
Beyond the politics, though, what this is is a snapshot of South Africa as a country. People who believe themselves disadvantaged will try to “get their own” if there is no-one stopping them. They will strip assets that belong to a broader community – and in doing so, deprive others. But they won’t care.
Part of the reason is poverty – that can’t be denied.
But, it must be asked: what has happened to SA’s basic human decency?