Death, af­ter the stam­pede

The Star Early Edition - - FRONT PAGE - TANKISO MAKHETHA

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

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