A month’s delay in the planned renovation of the east campus gym has resulted in its becoming a safety hazard, according to gym users.

The refurbishments were to begin at the end of March and were expected to be complete before the start of the second teaching block. Renovations were originally planned for last year, but work was halted due to lack of funds.

The gym is still being used by staff and students, even though members complain the equipment has not been well maintained or properly repaired. Some of the gym equipment has been removed.

“A 10kg weight nearly fell on my foot while I was training, all because the last weight clip broke,” said Chris Nyawo, 4th year BA Dramatic Arts.

“The gym needs new equipment. The one triceps pull is being held by a pin and not a bolt,” said Ciaran Haynes, 4th year BA English.

Vuvuzela also observed that there were now no weight clips in the gym at all. These are designed to secure a bar weight to the bar to prevent it from falling off. The two rowers date back to the 1970s and there are only two exercise bicycles.

According to the senior manager of Horizon View Virgin Active, Tshepo Mmakau: “Gym equipment is meant to be repaired within 24 hours and a maintenance log book is meant to be present at the gym.”

Mmakau said the presence and continued use of old and damaged equipment was unethical and, in the fitness industry, was considered unprofessional.

Director of Wits sports administration Size Vardhan told Vuvuzela he was aware that “service delivery” and maintenance were issues. There were plans to improve this, he said.

Funds to have the gym repaired and to secure new equipment were secured on January 31.

“The supplier [of new gym equipment] has indicated that delivery will only be in mid-May,” said senior sports administration manager Marius Henn. “The manufacturer is located in Italy, hence the delay.”

He said he would confirm a specific delivery date next week, when PIMD and students would be notified of planned closures. Henn previously told Vuvuzela that sports administration was to spend over R112 000 on spin bicycles and new weights.

A total of 3 320 students and staff are registered at both gyms, which are also used by some of Wits’ athletes.

Published in Vuvzela Print Edition, 20 April 2012