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OVER E30M SOMHLOLO REHAB: BOOKING PROCESS REVIEW

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MBABANE – As government’s spending on rehabilitating Somhlolo National Stadium has skyrocketed to over E30 million, it will no longer be business as usual for those booking the venue.

This past Thursday, Minister of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs Harries ‘Madze’ Bulunga, announced that the venue would now be open for domestic use after being closed for over two years. The Confederation of African Football (CAF) deemed the venue unfit to host category ‘A’ international matches. Government has already spent over E30 million in rehabilitating the venue. Renovations are ongoing as the venue still awaits CAF permanent approval.

With bookings fees set at E1 000 for teams before the major rehabilitation programme, this publication wanted to establish from government through the sports ministry if there were planned changes to the rules  for accessing the venue. Notably, some teams reportedly abused the venue by tempering with the artificial turf, while some were accused of starting ‘ritual’ fires inside the dressing rooms.

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Communications Officer in the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs Sibongiseni Zondi, said the ministry was currently finalising a review of the entire stadium booking process, in line with government procedures. “The aim is to ensure a seamless process for all who wish to use this iconic venue, while ensuring that we keep this much-loved facility in a good condition,” he said. This publication had also wanted to establish if government would take stern action against those who would be found to have damaged the facility through the use of foreign substances.

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