Sakunda Holdings withdraw from planned Rufaro Stadium renovations

Sakunda Holdings have withdrawn from the proposed renovations of Rufaro Stadium.

The energy company had planned to renovate the football venue after receiving a long-term lease contract from the stadium owners Harare City Council in March.

The planned renovation included installing bucket seats, refurbishing the sewer and water reticulation system as well as constructing a road to the football match venue.

But Sakunda have withdrawn from the project, accusing the City of Harare of reneging on the signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

Sakunda wrote to the Harare City Council informing them about the development, saying: “Following our numerous unsuccessful requests to present to your office our final feasibility study report and proposed designs for the refurbishment of Rufaro Stadium, we write to express our gravest misgivings on the unfortunate events and communications emanating from your office.

“We are shocked and disturbed by untruthful and malicious allegations that Sakunda intends to purchase Rufaro Stadium, which is a public asset.

“Nothing could be further from the truth, and we believe you know that. These unfounded allegations are grounded on malice and a coordinated attempt to curtail our efforts to contribute to the revival and modernization of public infrastructure.”

The letter continued: “We wish to place it on record again that Sakunda did not have any commercial interests in this project, suffice to say that our participation in the same was entirely philanthropic, for the public good.

“Consequently, we would like to hereby notify you of our immediate withdrawal from the partnership.”

This is not the first time the municipality has been accused of turning away a private investor keen to renovate Rufaro to modern standards.

In April 2019, an unnamed private company proposed to give the venue an all-round make-over and would, in return, get the naming rights of the stadium.

The then acting Mayor of Harare, Stewart Mutizwa, confirmed the development.

The council also declined a similar proposal from Savana Tobacco in 2014.

The deal was reportedly set at US$10 million and would have seen the venue upgraded to modern standards.

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