Theft and vandalism at sporting facilities, especially in underprivileged areas, remain a huge problem in Nelson Mandela Bay in the Eastern Cape. This is something the Asai Karate club in Motherwell is all too aware of.

The building they use to run the club from is literally disappearing as usable building material is stolen. But despite this the club is sending 21 youngsters to the National Championships next month.

Uphakeme Mabhulu and Libango Ndube are proud Proteas in their respective age groups.

“Karate is my second home, I grew up here. I feel devastated that people damage our gym,” says Mabhulu.

“It doesn’t make me feel okay. I feel frustrated. If we train here there is nothing. They damaged the whole club – ceilings and roofs,” says Ndube.

There are more than 100 karate clubs in Nelson Mandela Bay in the Eastern Cape. The Asai Karate Club has produced more than 40 national champs since its inception in 1998.

While the destruction of infrastructure is on the rise, administrators like the president of the Eastern Cape Sport Confederation, Kusta Magada, are also asking where the money is set aside for development.

“They don’t build facilities. They prioritise other things even though it is meant for sport. The schools that were closed that belonged to Public Works we as the sport fraternity so wish those schools can be given to sport so that it can be available to accommodate a lot of indoor sporting codes,” says Magada.