THE Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Youth, Sports and Arts has raised concern over the conversion of land set aside for recreational facilities into residential stands as well as lack of sporting facilities for people living with disabilities (PWDs).
BY VENERANDA LANGA
This was revealed in the committee’s report presented in the National Assembly last Thursday by chairperson Mathias Tongofa (Chivi North MP).
“The committee noted with concern that land meant for recreational facilities was being converted to residential and commercial use,” the report read.
“This is undesirable, as youths are deprived of these facilities, thus venturing into toxic and irresponsible practices. All land seizures from recreational facilities for conversion to residential and commercial use must stop.”
The committee said there was need to construct recreational facilities for PWDs.
Only $170 000 was allocated for recreational facilities in all provinces, which must also be split equally between sport and recreation.
“It was noted with concern the absence of sports facilities for people living with disability. This section of society must have their needs catered for as there is great potential to unearth talent for participation at paralympic games. Their social needs are also catered for by provision of such sporting facilities,” the committee said.
Other observations by the committee, in their report, were that the 3% tax on all sports betting houses meant for sports development, which was approved in the 2018 Budget, had not been remitted.
“In addition, State Lotteries and Gaming Act (Section 43), provides for remittance of funds meant for sports development, and this has not been done. The committee also noted with concern that the Copyrights Act was being administered from the Ministry of Justice and not the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation.”
The Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation ministry was allocated $53,4 million despite bidding for $185,7 million in a country where there is high youth unemployment and sport is seen as a means of living.
“This age group is approximately 36% of the total population of Zimbabwe and should be accorded the priority they deserve in order to enjoy a better future of economic independence. On an annual basis, roughly 300 000 pupils undergo O’ Level examinations and less than 20% of these proceed for higher level academic training,” the committee said.