The Lesedi Local Municipality held a meeting with stakeholders and members of the Ratanda community at the Ratanda Old Hall on Thursday, October 4.
The purpose of these engagements was for government officials to listen and come up with relevant interventions to employ in supporting, improving and developing the SRAC (Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture) sector. The Lesedi municipality opened the session with remarks from the acting Municipal Manager Adv. Gugu Thimane and officials from the SRAC department.
To conduct a needs analysis on the situation in the community, Ratanda residents were given the platform to voice out their issues and questions to officials.
The first topic discussed was the Library Services. A call for a library for the Bergsig community was mentioned and asked why the Lesedi officials are not following up on the initiative by residents, which was even taken to the provincial government and other organization for assistance. A resident said a mobile library can be a temporary fix, but the municipality must assist in ensuring it is put at the right location. Another concern was the non-communication of the closing of libraries in Heidelberg and Shalimar Ridge.
Sports and Recreation were second on the agenda. Many of the questions were directed at the officials working in the SRAC department in the municipality.
Thabo from Ratanda once appealed to the Lesedi officials for sponsorship in growing tennis, board games and other sporting codes. However, he has only received support from outside the area and said a cricket stadium is in need but he was ignored and not given feedback for his appeal.
“I don’t want any money or anything, just support from the municipality for our initiative,” he said.
“Truly speaking, the SRAC office is non-functional. When you come to their office to ask for support for our sports tournaments, they tell you they don’t have a budget. Later, one discovers that the municipality is hosting the same event you wanted support for,” said one of the residents.
He continued to lament on the condition of the Ratanda swimming pool, which is not open to the community because of no lifeguard. Security officials stationed at the stadium were also blamed for not protecting the stadium’s facilities.
“Our Multi-purpose Hall has now turned into a ‘Single-Purpose’ one. All you see are funerals held. They tell you the centre is not made for sports events, but you see Lesedi doing such things. The Multi-sports court is closed and nobody can use it,” continued the resident.
Tsutsutsu, a resident and soccer team manager, told the community and officials on the tournaments hosted by Lesedi as lacking interest by young people. “We have five grounds in Ratanda, some have turned into walking paths. The main stadium is breaking apart, changing rooms are broken and the infrastructure is falling apart. What’s worse is that the officials don’t even come to the stadium. At the tennis court, officials have not seen the smoking of drugs and property being vandalised.”
The Lesedi Sports Council members were also condemned for their inactivity in taking issues from the community to the municipality.
“Local teams that are promoted to the Regional League were never supported. We have called on Lesedi for assistance in transport to and from the Vaal, but officials respond saying it’s not their problem,” said Tsutsutsu.
Sello Tau wants the SRAC officials to come and address the issues directly. He said that officials can do a lot by just coming to the ‘people on the ground’ to conduct a full needs analysis. Other issues included the bad condition of all sports ground in Ratanda and lack of feedback from Lesedi.
Concerning issues of Arts and Culture, Manqoba Ntombela appealed to the municipality to build an arts centre for the craftsmen and a fully fledged music studio so local artists can grow their craft. “We must have interns, we must employ people to promote artist of Ratanda. A local website is needed to sell ourselves,” said Ntombela. He called for Lesedi to give space for building such centres because the funds are available.
The high tariffs for hiring the community halls was raised by some of the local artists, saying the municipality does not support local talent who use these facilities to promote themselves.
This session will further engage the communities of Devon and Vischkuil, arrangements details will be communicated soon by the Lesedi Local Municipality.