The Hawks in the Eastern Cape have confirmed they are investigating the controversial R15 million sports facility that was recently unveiled by the Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality.
The so-called state-of-the-art facility in Lesseyton, northwest of Komani, was opened by the municipality on Monday to much fanfare from officials, but soon garnered a lot of criticism from South Africans.
This came after pictures showed a substandard sports field with patchy grass, a couple of cheap-looking pavilions, and freestanding goal posts that don’t have nets. The white marking on the pitch was not even clear.
Eastern Cape Hawks spokesperson Captain Yolisa Mgolodela on Friday told The Citizen their investigation followed a criminal complaint laid by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in the province on Thursday. He said the case was opened at Queenstown Police Station.
“The EFF is claiming that even without being experts, one could see there is no value for money as far as the stadium is concerned because it was awarded a R22 million tender, but when you look at it, there is no value for money,” Mgolodela said.
Mgolodela said they were set to begin with the investigation from Monday and would visit the municipal offices to collect documents related to the project.
“The docket has been handed to us for investigation. Yesterday [Thursday] we tried to search the docket, but inside the docket so far it is still the statement of the complainant and there are no supporting documents from the municipality and verification of the matter.
“The appointment of the Hawks with the municipality to collect the necessary documentation is for this coming Monday,” he said.
Eastern Cape Cogta investigates
Eastern Cape cooperative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) MEC Xolile Nqatha has also launched an investigation into the stadium.
Nqatha visited the facility on Thursday and said he was equally outraged by the millions spent to construct it. He said from what he could see, the municipality got no value for money from the project.
“There is every reason for people to be outraged [and] I’m totally outraged as well. This is wastage and it reaffirms our correctness as the provincial government to take the decision to investigate as to what has happened here and whether due processes were followed or not.
“There’s got to be consequences and people have got to be held accountable,” he said.
Nqatha said he was also concerned about the involvement of the municipality’s councillors in the project.
He said he had given the council speaker 48 hours to indicate the steps that would be taken against those who brought the municipality into disrepute.
“The speaker of council is responsible for the code of conduct for councillors. I will assess her response after 48 hours. If I’m not happy with her response, I will have to take the matter up and write to the councillors for them to give me reasons why they cannot be suspended for bringing the institution into disrepute,” Nqatha said.