Malta Park sports field in Observatory is one of the most used sports fields in the area, legally and illegally.
However, it’s the illegal usage of the facility that contributes to its rundown state today – that is according to the City of Cape Town.
This is because as the field is resurfaced by the City, those without permission to use it come and trample the ground which should be allowed to regenerate.
But residents believe the “patch up work” and lack of proper security measures are the main causes of its poor state with the City-owned facility having already seen a number of repairs.
Mayco member for community services, Anda Ntsodo, said plans were in place to properly secure Malta Park and also introduce more security guards in order to safeguard the fields, but the City would have to secure funding.
Abubaker Parker from Observatory uses the field regularly to walk his two dogs and said Malta Park is always in use.
“You cannot fault the City for trying to fix the problems at Malta Park, however, the work has to be questioned, because with the number of repair jobs that were carried out here, this field still looks a mess,” Mr Parker said.
He said the facility is easily accessible because the fencing only runs down the one side of the field.
“These fields are not given enough time to rest and that is something you would think the City would consider – there is no point spending so much money on repairing the field only to see two football matches destroy the field again,” Mr Parker said.
He suggested that the City consider gating off the whole facility and creating one access point which could be manned by security guards.
Another Observatory resident, Anthea Rhodes, who also takes her evening walks around the field, agreed and said repairing the facility could benefit all users in the end.
“When the wind picks up in these parts, that field gives off lots of dust and makes walking around that field a nightmare,” she said.
The amount of football and sporting activities are the main causes, Ms Rhodes said, claiming she hardly ever saw the fields empty, with either football matches or training scheduled on the fields, irrespective of the state the field is in.
Ms Rhodes wished to make it clear that she was not anti-sports, she was just saddened by the fact that a facility with potential was not being cared for the way it should be. “With all that beautiful scenery and vibrancy around, you would think the owners would take more care of it – it’s actually a shame,” she said.
Mr Ntsodo said the facility is maintained regularly in order to meet the required standards for the sporting codes that are using this facility for the whole year round.
However, there are plans in the pipelines to complete the fencing.
“The facility does take some strain due to unauthorised access, but the sport, recreation and amenities department is currently trying to source funds to enclose the facility to minimise this problem,” Mr Ntsodo said.
Despite knowing the problems, Mr Ntsodo confirmed that the City had not received any complaints with regards to the maintenance of the facility.
“There is good communication between the SRA officials and the users of the facility,” he said.
The City’s main challenges are on weekends, when they find most unauthorised matches being played on the field, especially when there are no fixtures played by the legitimate codes. The City also recently employed new tactics by having a security officer based at the fields over weekends, hoping it could address the problem.