The national sporting arena, Setsoto Stadium is set to be under new and private management in the not-so-distant future, said Minister of Gender and Youth, Sports and Recreation Likeleli Tampane.
If Cabinet approves a proposal by the Ministry of Gender and Youth, Sports and Recreation (MGYSR) in collaboration with the Lesotho Sports and Recreation Commission (LSRC) as well as the Lesotho National Olympic Committee (LNOC), the stadium will soon be running under a private company.
Tampane made the announcement at a media briefing on Monday following a tour of the stadium earlier that day.
The minister said the facility which has been under the administration of LSRC since 2017, has deteriorated to a point where it is no longer able to host international sporting events.
“We have therefore resolved to outsource the management services of a private company under strict conditions to run the facility,” she explained.
Tampane who expressed her disappointment after touring the facility due to its shabby condition said that “the only international sporting facility in the country seems to have been neglected and therefore needs new management to properly run it for the benefit of the athletes as well as revenue collection for the government”.
She highlighted that there is a chance of renovations during which some international sporting activities will be forced to be held outside the country, in places like Bloemfontein.
The minister reassured Basotho that the transfer of management services to a private company will be transparent as it will be made through open tendering to both local and international companies which will meet certain conditions that will be specified clearly in the memorandum of understanding (MOU) with government.
She indicated that in awarding the tender for management of the facility, Basotho will still be given priority as part of promoting local businesses, more especially in the aftermath of the COVID-19, which she said left the economy shattered with many people unemployed.
Meanwhile, speaking at the same event, LSRC President Advocate Jobo Raswoko commended the minister for being passionate about sports, saying she reminded him of former Sports Minister ‘Mathabiso Lepono whose love for sports was legendary.
“We are thankful to have such a caring Minister who is passionate about our sports, indeed I am reminded of one former Minister ‘Mathabiso Lepono who was as passionate about sports,” said Raswoko.
Meanwhile, NewsdaySports has learned that there has been power struggles over the operations of the Stadium since 2017 when it was handed over to the Commission to manage it.
This publication is also aware that during the said hand-over from the MGYSR to the LSRC it was discovered that the Stadium had outstanding water and electricity bills. Moreover, throughout the past three years the Commission was never assisted financially by the Ministry to settle the inherited debts and for the management of the Stadium while the income that was generated by hosting of events was collected by the Ministry.