By Tadious Manyepo
Harare City Council have trimmed their workforce involved in the refurbishment of both Gwanzura and Rufaro in the face of the national lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The two grounds have not been cleared to host top-flight action by the ZIFA First Instance Board.
But, with, at least a two-month window presented to them following the suspension of the league programme, the council officials intend to make big strides at the stadiums.
Gwanzura had been abandoned, without any attention whatsoever, for the past five years and need a lot, in terms of both resources and time, to be brought to the required standards.
The city officials had sunk two boreholes, were renovating the changing rooms, replaced the sewer and drainage pipes, while they have also laid on what looks like a good playing surface.
The skeletal manpower on site is now concentrating its efforts on the sitting bays and will also be attending to ablution facilities and the security wall.
Harare City Council spokesperson, Michael Chideme, said it was in the best interest of the workers, as well as public health, to downsize but, at the same time, make sure renovation work remained in progress.
“As a council, we have decided to minimise the number of our workers who are involved in the renovations of Gwanzura and Rufaro stadiums,’’ he said.
“We have heeded the call by President Mnangagwa and nothing comes before people’s health. “We have decided to significantly trim the number of workers at both stadiums. Look, we had set April as the target to complete the Gwanzura project but, with this now, we will have to see what happens.
“The reason why we had to retain some staff on the ground is that some work, which had already commenced, cannot be abandoned midway as that would mean restarting again which will gobble more funds.”
Work on the outside car park at Rufaro has been severely affected and engineers would have to resume after, at least, the obtaining 21-day lockdown.
A borehole has since been installed while workers are busy levelling the playing surface and sprucing up the terraces.
The ablution system at this facility is also faulty, so are the changing rooms, medical area and media centre.
“Those are some of the areas the remaining staff are addressing. We hope in a matter of weeks, we will be through with Rufaro Stadium,” Chideme said.
The condemnation of the two facilities, together with the National Sports Stadium by ZIFA, would have been a cause for concern for Harare teams in the Premiership, had the season not been halted. The Herald