Sports facility takes a beating

New diamond mesh fencing was installed at the facility, but later went missing.

Vandalism and theft are taking their toll on the Hangberg Sports Complex.

The facility is looking rundown – netting has been stolen, the roof is gone from the substitute-bench shelter, the AstroTurf is damaged, holes have been made in the fence and lights, including floodlights have been vandalised and stolen.
Residents are angry that a “gold mine” is being turned into a dump.
Esther Adams’ three sons play soccer at the facility, and she’s upset with the deterioration she’s seen.
“There was lots of excitement when the facility got the turf weekly fixtures, events and activities were being carried out here. It’s really a nice space especially with the harbour as a backdrop,” said the Hangberg mom.
“I can’t believe how much it was destroyed over time, and it’s quite unfair to blame the City of Cape Town.” 

While many have blamed the City for not maintaining the facility, she said: “Nobody is asking why is this happening, and why should we be calling on the City to fix stuff all the time? We are one community, and this facility belongs to us. We must take care of it and not rely on anybody else.”

Another resident, Marlon Wentzel, said the facility was vulnerable because the security guards hired to protect it knew little about the area.

“If somebody we knew in the community was given this opportunity to protect this space, very little of this vandalism and theft will happen. Because now you are taking somebody who knows everybody in the community, and those thieves will think twice before they decide to steal or vandalise the facility.”

Ward councillor Roberto Quintas said the stolen nets had been replaced with diamond-mesh fencing, but that too had been stolen.

“I set aside substantial budget and received additional funding from the City to repair extensive damages to the netting, which surrounded the facility. The repairs did not last long before they too were removed and stolen.”

People came onto the premises at night and lit fires on the AstroTurf, he said.

“I have been working closely with the facility manager to assign budget to replace damaged fencing, lights and netting and for repairs to the Astro-turf.”

But the ongoing repairs came at “great cost” to both Hangberg and Hout Bay and meant other projects had to be sacrificed.

“The culture of theft and vandalism costs the community, and I condemn it in the strongest possible terms. It is disgraceful and cannot be condoned under any circumstances.”

The Peace and Mediation Forum’s spokesman Warren Abrahams blamed the community for not taking ownership of the facility.

“Everybody wants to use the facility, but nobody wants to look after it and just blames the City each time something goes wrong. This is something for the community, but our community does not want to stand up and protect it, and they will rather watch it go down slowly but surely.”

He too suggested getting a local to run security.

“We need somebody from the community there. Somebody who can identify these thieves or vandals. If it’s somebody that is not familiar with our community, then surely people are going to take advantage where they can.”