Moses Mabhida pitch invasion damage estimated at R2.6million


DURBAN, August 25 – Damage to the Moses Mabhida Stadium after Saturday’s pitch invasion is estimated at R2.6m, eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede has said.

Gumede, together with stadium manager Vuzi Mazibuko and Thembo Ntuli of the city’s security committee, were addressing the media during a press briefing at the stadium on Wednesday morning.

The mayor said claims for the damages were being initiated, but the stadium was fully functional. It had hosted president Cyril Ramaphosa for an African National Congress (ANC) event the day after the incident.

There was a need for a national drive on social behavior to curtail what happened, she said, stating that it was not an isolated incident. One such initiative could include a restriction on liquor consumption.

Violence and vandalism erupted on Saturday as the final whistle was blown signaling the end of the Nedbank Cup semi-final between Kaiser Chiefs and Free State Stars, which Chiefs lost 2-0.

Hundreds of fans stormed the pitch, sending players and staff scurrying for safety.

While cameras were still filming, irate fans proceeded to set alight stadium chairs, damaged crowd barriers and access gates, vandalized camera equipment and assaulted a security guard. Eighteen people were injured during the incident.

Responding to criticisms of inadequate security at the stadium, Mazibuko said the South African Police Services (SAPS) was responsible for “high or mid risk” personnel at sporting events, and that Saturday’s game fell into this category.

“The deployment of security guards is determined by protocol in respect of the number of attendants and the design of the stadium. The deployment of SAPS is not the stadium’s responsibility, it is the responsibility of police and is determined during pre-planning meetings,” he said.

“All of us knew [what the reaction] of Chiefs supporters would be if Chiefs didn’t win. Therefore, planning from the stadium side was to confirm the possibility of a threat and how many people were expected; deployment had to be done appropriately. In respect of this match, it was a Premier Soccer League (PSL) match and they were the custodians. PSL had to provide security,” he said.

Mazibuko said it was “easy” to invade the stadium because its design allowed it to act as an assembly point if an incident occurred. The stadium was planned to enhance spectator experience by maximizing the view of the pitch and was a multi-purpose venue. Even if barriers were erected, they would have to be collapsible to minimize injury during an incident, he said.

Kaizer Chiefs coach Steve Komphela resigned hours after the incident and Premier Soccer League (PSL) chairperson Irvin Khoza on Monday blamed poor security for the violence.

KwaZulu-Natal police have established a high-level team to investigate if law enforcement and private security personnel acted in accordance with the security plan for the event.

The Premier Soccer League (PSL) has charged the club with misconduct and with bringing the league into dispute. This is the second time this month that the club has been charged for the ill-discipline of its fans.

One man appeared in court on Monday for malicious damage to property and will appear again on Wednesday for a bail application, while all stakeholders have called on those who are able to identify the vandals to report them to police.

– African News Agency (ANA)