By Delicious Mathuthu
Gweru Sports and Recreational Club has defied a Gweru City Council eviction order that was issued by the Local Authority through the then Acting Town Clerk Vakai Chikw ekwe giving the club up to January 31.
Speaking to this reporter Gweru Sports Club Chairman Mr John Makuwalo said as a club they are not budging but instead the club is preparing to host the National Youth Games set for August this year. We are not going anywhere; we actually have 15 lawyers ready to challenge this eviction if they want to go ahead with it. We are now actually preparing to host the National Youth Games in August, so we are moving forward instead,” he said.
He said the club actually needs more land to construct facilities for new sporting disciplines that were not catered for at the club as all the land that is available at the premises has been mapped with only funding being the challenge.
Gweru City had, last year, written to Gweru Sports Club and Midlands Academy of Music to vacate the premises in order pave way for commercial stands for private investors.
This however sparked an outcry from sports administrators, stakeholders and residents in the Province saying the club is the biggest sporting facility in the Midlands, more so, the Sports Ministry through the Sports and Recreation Commission had vowed to make the club the standard facility in the Province.
Midlands Province SRC Development Officer Mr Simon Masaka said the commission through the Ministry is in the process of engaging the Local Government Ministry to stop the possession of the premises by Gweru City. “We raised the issue between council and sports club, we tabled it before the Sports Ministry and we are now engaging the Local Government Ministry hoping to stop what the council wants to do, by now I believe it is before the Minister July Moyo’s desk,” Masaka said.
Minister July Moyo is on record saying Gweru City cannot make a change of use for the facility without the authorization of the Ministry and all stakeholders have to be first consulted before such a major move is done.
So far in preparation for the 2019 Youth Games in August the Local Organising Committee said the facilities at Gweru Sports Club should be developed in time for the games.
Masaka said currently the SRC is trying to lure companies to chip in and assist, as well as associations such as the Handball association which has already asked for land to construct handball courts at the Sports Club.
He said they are also engaging the Midlands State University to partner with Gweru Sports Club to develop some of the facilities that are not available at the University such as cricket where they are currently travelling to train in Kwekwe