Death, after the stampede
FAMILIES of soccer fans killed before the Soweto derby kick-off at FNB stadium on Saturday were yesterday still to be consulted officially about the deaths of their loved ones. City of Johannesburg’s MMC for Public Safety Michael Sun confirmed they were still to sit and talk to the grieving families.
“We cannot release the names of the deceased yet because we understand that some of the family members have not been properly consulted about the death of their kin. So we are awaiting confirmation before we can visit the families,” he said.
Investigations are under way to determine whether the deadly stampede could be linked to fake ticketing.
This comes after two people aged 30 and 33 died and two people were left critically injured on Saturday afternoon during the Carling Black Label cup match between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs.
At least 19 people, including a child, sustained minor injuries.
The deaths were allegedly caused by blunt force trauma. While chaos erupted outside, the match continued regardless.
Sun said initial information that came from the ground indicated that one of the causes leading up to the stampede was the sale of fake tickets at the stadium.
“There were allegations of counterfeit tickets that were being used at the entrance, but investigations later showed that the problem was at the ticket-vending machines,” he said.
“A group of un-ticketed persons pushed their way into the stadium and that’s when the stampede occurred,” he said.
Sun explained that a number of investigations were currently under way. This was in a bid to determine some of the contributory factors.
Suzanne van Aswegen from Stadium Management SA said a small group of un-ticketed members of the public forced a number of emergency gates open despite the presence of police and private security.
“As the gate flung open due to the pressure of these people pushing the gate – chants of “push, push, push” were heard by eyewitnesses – the people pushing at the front of the gate fell over and the people from behind literally clambered right over them, causing blunt force trauma injuries in doing so,” Van Aswegen said.
She added that the incident was unfortunate as “solid security plans” were put in place to ensure that this is a risk-free event. Police spokesperson Captain Mavela Masondo also told The Star that the names of the deceased could not be released.
“We have opened a case of inquest to try to establish what caused the stampede. There are various allegations that will be investigated and one of them is that of the fake tickets, that is one of the things that we will be focusing our investigations around,” he said.
The stampede broke out at Gate J of the stadium, reminiscent of the Ellis Park disaster in which 43 fans were killed in a league match between the two football teams in 2001.
SA Football Association president Dr Danny Jordaan said he would demand a full report and a full investigation on what transpired.
“A football match is supposed to be a place of entertainment. What happened at FNB Stadium is very unfortunate,” he said.
Gauteng Community Safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane said she was confident investigations would uncover the cause of the stampede.
“I am confident that law enforcement agencies will work around the clock,” Nkosi-Malobane said.
Chants of “push, push, push” were heard at the gate
The scene at FNB Stadium after a stampede left two people dead during the game between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates on Saturday. PICTURE: SIMPHIWE MBOKAZI