Harare City Council has made a U-turn on its decision to cut ties with Sakunda Holdings on the project to renovate Rufaro Stadium.
On Tuesday, the energy giant announced that it was withdrawing its commitment to renovate the Mbare-based facility citing a lack of commitment from the City Fathers. Said Sakunda in a letter to Harare Mayor Jacob Mafume:
We are shocked and disturbed by untruthful and malicious allegations that Sakunda intends to purchase Rufaro Stadium, which is a public asset…
Consequently, we would like to hereby notify you of our immediate withdrawal from the partnership.
The two parties had earlier this year agreed on a deal that would have seen Sakunda renovating Rufaro Stadium to world-class status under a long-term lease agreement on behalf of Dynamos Football Club.
In response to the withdrawal, Mafume appeared to be unmoved by Sakunda’s withdrawal from the deal, accusing the company owned by Kuda Tagwirei of seeking “a parasitic deal.”
However, Mafume told a press conference this Wednesday that the council was ready to engage with Sakunda Holdings to revive the deal. The Independent cites him as saying:
We are still open to negotiate with them.
There is nothing to drag. They (Sakunda) were supposed to come to a presentation to present their feasibility studies in terms of the agreement and if we had dragged any feet, they would have sent a notice or even written to us or sought an appointment with the Mayor as the head of the institution. There is no record of such a letter or anything of that sort that has happened. What we have is that they are talking about rumours in the letter but I don’t know what that means. What we have insisted and reiterated is that we need to enter into mutually beneficial agreements as a city with our business people so that we don’t end up signing things we do not understand or hand over assets of the public. We have not dragged any feet nor said we do not want to partner them.
In the proposal, Sakunda Holding expressed its vision to drive community development in Mbare by establishing a Fifa-accredited stadium for use by Dynamos and other local clubs.
The rehabilitation of Belgravia Sports Club and its facilities for use by Dynamos for training purposes was also part of the deal.
Rufaro Stadium last hosted league matches during the 2019 season before it was red-flagged by the Zifa First Instance Board in 2020.