Drugs ruin Amalinda Sports Ground
By Zolile Mate
The Amalinda Sports Grounds is in a shameful state. It has now become a drug haven for teenagers who are experimenting with drugs. When we visited the grounds, we found two pre-teen boys crushing drugs inside the dilapidated sports change rooms. They were shocked to be caught, because the space is generally deserted, owing to its state.
“Drug users have vandalised our sports facilities, they steal the little infrastructure we have left to buy drugs. There used be an office, a furnished boardroom, a kitchen, and change rooms for players. Now we are struggling when we host tournaments because our Staduim has been stripped, leaving only the grass,” said Thembelani Faltein of the Amalinda Club.
Faltein lamented that, instead of being inspired by the young and old who play soccer at these grounds, children are being captured by the drugs that are sold in Amalinda Forest and the nearby areas.
“Children on drugs are like demons. They do not even think about their actions, they just do what it takes to get drugs,” said a parent and sports enthusiast from Amalinda Forest.
Parents are sad that a sports field that has the potential to make young people the stars of tomorrow is achieving the opposite. Soccer coach Thembinkosi Tali said they have repeatedly reported the matter to the police and opened cases.
“Until today, we have never heard of anyone being arrested for the vandalism of this sports field. Drug users have now found new clientele in the residents of the nearby squatter camps. They buy stolen materials to build solid shack structures, because the grounds are not fenced securely anymore, there is easy access for anyone,” said Tali.
Players of various clubs who utilise these grounds agree that there needs to be education for citizens on how to take care of public infrastructure for the benefit of the majority, especially the young people. They are disappointed by the lack of co-operation from the police about the rampant drug use at the facilities and in nearby communities.
Locals believe the grounds should have security for the premises like Sisa Dukashe Stadium in Mdantsane which is well maintained to an extent that it can host national games that are broadcasted.
According to Metro spokesperson, Samkelo Ngwenya, the city works hand in hand with SAPS in reporting and solving cases of vandalism and break-ins at these grounds.
“We are doing security analysis on all our properties. With regards to repairs of the facility, we have utilised money from this financial year budget to do repairs and maintenance. However there is the challenge of vandalism and break-ins at the facility,” said Ngwenya.
The city has opened a case at Cambridge police station. The Ward Councillor is also actively involved as his office is affected by these acts. Some of the repairs were done through the 2010 legacy project.