Outcry over loss of sports field to make way for a hospital in Gugulethu

The site is a poor choice and the impact on the community was not considered, say residents

| By

This sports field in Gugulethu is being transferred by the City of Cape Town to the province to build a day hospital. Photo: Sandiso Phaliso

A decision by the City of Cape Town to transfer a sport field to the Western Cape government for the building of a hospital is meeting resistance from local sports associations and even from organisations which want a hospital in Gugulethu.

The Gugulethu Sports and Development Trust uses the field on weekends and has a month-to-month lease with the City, and about 22 schools also hold their inter-schools matches at the field.

The Trust is challenging the City’s decision, claiming it was “legally and procedurally flawed” as it was taken without appreciating the current usefulness of the field.

In a letter to the City, the Trust also questioned the suitability of the site for a hospital, especially in terms of access roads.

The Movement for Change and Social Justice, an alliance of health, safety and social service organisations, has been advocating since 2016 for a district hospital with a trauma unit to be built in Gugulethu by 2026.

Lunga George, speaking for the alliance, said it “came as a surprise” and a “shock” when they heard that the sports field would be the site.

Loss of the field “will be to the detriment of our youth and the community”, said George

The Trust says there were no public participation processes and they were not consulted about the termination of their lease.

Vasi Nyakaza, owner of United Aces Football Club (established in 1971) and President of the Gugulethu Local Football Association, said the decision appeared to have been taken “whimsically” by City officials without appreciating its impact on life in Gugulethu.

Ntobeko Mbingeleli, speaking on behalf of the provincial department of Infrastructure, said the “property transaction is still in process”.

Mayco member for economic growth James Vos said the transfer of municipal assets to other organs of state is exempt from the consultation processes of the Municipal Finance Management Act.

He said all departments had supported the sale.

Vos said, “There are various sporting facilities in the area, including an indoor sports facility, and the needs of the Gugulethu community for healthcare services took preference.”

Monique Jonhstone, spokesperson for the Western Cape Department of Health and Wellness, said “no purchase has been made as discussions are still underway to secure the site”.

“We can confirm and reassure community members that further engagements will take place as soon as a site has been secured and purchased,” she said.

Update on 2024-07-02 13:31

The story was updated with comment from the provincial health department.

TOPICS:  Health Land Local government Sport

Next:  Court asked to stop Shell’s seismic tests once and for all

Previous:  Bold and colourful designs at Khayelitsha Fashion Week

© 2024 GroundUp. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

You may republish this article, so long as you credit the authors and GroundUp, and do not change the text. Please include a link back to the original article.

We put an invisible pixel in the article so that we can count traffic to republishers. All analytics tools are solely on our servers. We do not give our logs to any third party. Logs are deleted after two weeks. We do not use any IP address identifying information except to count regional traffic. We are solely interested in counting hits, not tracking users. If you republish, please do not delete the invisible pixel.