Sunday, April 18, 2021

Endless refurbishment of National Stadium irritates legislator

The never-ending finishing touches of the National Stadium has come under fire from Mogoditshane Member of Parliament, Patrick Masimolole, who said that it is impacting negatively on the development of sports in the country.

Contributing to the budget allocation for the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture, Masimolole express exasperation over the delay to hand over the finished product, urging the government to tell Batswana what is happening.

“We have been told the stadium was being renovated for the 2010 World Cup and the tournament came and passed with the stadium still under construction to this day,” he said.

Five years down the line, nothing is coming from the National Stadium and Masimolole solicited for answers from the government as public money has been splashed over the project to improve standards of football in the country.

“Orlando Pirates Stadium has been completed while ours is still under renovations,” he noted.
Renovated at around P67 million, the Botswana National Stadium could not be used as problems were immediately noticed. That discovery prompted government to fork out more money, estimated at P8m to address the problems.

Masimolole underscored the importance of keeping parliament and the nation abreast over the project. He said large sums of money used over the project dug from the public coffers were too enormous and explanations are needed.

The Minister of Youth Sports and Culture, Shaw Kgathi’s intervention did not help the situation as Masimolole brushed aside his observations.

Kgathi indicated several times that the minister of Infrastructure, Science and Technology briefed parliament on the issue.

“Even if he has done so, I am particularly concerned about the time taken and the amount of money used without progress so far,” Masimilole rebutted.

He took a swipe at the recent employment of an English man as Chief Executive Officer of the Botswana Football Association (BFA), questioning if there were no locals able to manage the administration of football in the country.

The BFA recently hired Keith Masters whose skills Masimolole indicated are available among locals in the country and, as such, the appointment was tantamount to misappropriation of public funds.
Masimolole also had some jabs for the Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC) leadership whom he said were busy squandering public money on personal use to the detriment of sports development in the country.

“How could the government not interfere in football when we splash so much money to develop and improve it,” he queried, referring to FIFA’s stance of non-interference. About the BNSC, Masimolole complained: “How can we not interfere when we hear people are fired and money is squandered. We hear things are not going well there.” Requesting the budget for his ministry, Kgathi indicated the largest share of 64 percent (estimated at P71, 158, 990) would go to BNSC to be distributed to thirty four national sports associations and the Botswana National Olympic Committee.

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