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Ekurhuleni Metro: Greed or Supply and Demand?

By Filipe Nunes

For the past years, the John Barrable hall in Benoni has been synonymous with sports and social activities. Yet of late, and whether out of greed or supply and demand, the Ekurhuleni Metro Council has been hell-bent on recovering upkeep-expenses from its band of sport practitioners and social enthusiasts irrespective of the consequences.

The story at this point (I use the conjecture very loosely for one never knows the truth behind the relayed message) is that sport/social amenities are expensive to maintain, (and) that the onus of upkeep is the responsibility of the communities that uses it.

Now that may all be well and nice, but the down side is that the people will vote with their feet and move elsewhere, thus relegating the grounds and amenities to disuse; becoming a white elephant so to speak. Then again, maybe not.

The problem lies in the fact that much has been spent by the various sporting/social communities in upgrading lighting, flooring, conditions, etc, making the whole exercise of relocation painful and emotional. From a rational point of view, the exercise smacks of covert extortion by the powers that be – it’s as if they know (or hope) that the various sporting bodies that make use of the amenities will not move but rather resign-their-lot to what has been imposed.

Given the drives by the various Governmental Agencies to advance sporting activities amongst all societies, it is indeed strange that such a large Metro Entity will embark on a mission of draconian measures to recover costs from sporting bodies that rely on membership levies, kind handouts and possible money infusions from big-hearted sponsors.

There is one other possible sinister side to the agenda; that John Barrable is mainly used by specific members of the rainbow nation. Unfortunately, this is partly true but, by the same token, it is not the community’s fault that said hall is built in the centre of Benoni. What seems to elude the money-centric authorities, is the reality that John Barrable plays host to many other  sporting bodies from across SA; which include National, African and International sporting activities.

It is said that when all evidence is examined and discarded, what remains, however improbable, must be the truth. And the truth, as it stands, is not a pretty sight, for it smacks of petty larceny, imposition of power and a disregard for the constitution of the land.

The realities of life are such that impositions are destructive forces in themselves. Nothing good can come from said impasse. In the end, no one has to educate, teach or enlighten. And when all is said and done, community sport will lose on a grand scale.