The Sunday News
Bruce Ndlovu, Sunday News Reporter
SOME local authorities around the country are misusing funds meant for the building or refurbishment of interact centres for the youth, while other recreational facilities are being misused, with Hartsfield Sports Club in Bulawayo red flagged as one of the venues that is no longer serving its intended purpose.
Presenting a report of the Portfolio Committee on Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation on the state of youth centres in Zimbabwe in the august house on Tuesday, Chivi North legislator, Honourable Mathias Chingofa revealed that local authorities in Esigodini and Masvingo had failed to carry out projects despite the allocation of devolution funds by government.
“Despite receiving devolution funds, local authorities were not paying attention to interact centres. A typical example is that of Masvingo Rural District Council which received a total ZWL$45 million from the devolution fund, but nothing was channeled towards interact centres, hence rendering these places less attractive to young people. A case in point involves Nemamwa Recreational centre under Masvingo Rural District Council which did not have ablution facilities, administrative office, electricity, water and sewer connection since its establishment in 2019.
“The Committee was also informed that the Ministry released the full total budget of $ZWL 240 000 required for the construction of a tennis court and a volley ball pitch at Ncema Interact Centre in Esigodini. It was further observed that all the materials required for the completion of the projects were bought in 2020. The Committee was however, dismayed to note that the projects were still at 50% completion since work had stopped in January 2021,” Hon Tongofa said.
Hon Tongofa also revealed that places like Hartsfield Sports Club in Bulawayo where some of the places that were no longer serving their intended purpose.
“During the visits, the Committee discovered that the Mutare City Council had converted Chidzere and Chikanga recreational centres into vegetables markets without consulting the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation. The Committee also noted the same trend in Masvingo where most of the community halls were now rented out for church services. In Bulawayo, it was noted that Hartsfield Sports Club was sold and converted into restaurant. In Gweru, the Music Academy which used to have studios popular to artists was now used as a kindergarten learning centre,” he said.