eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede has confirmed that Kaizer Chiefs fans caused R2.6-million worth of damage during their riot at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday.
The angry fans resorted to hooliganism at the full-time whistle of Chiefs’ 2-0 loss to Free State Stars in the Nedbank Cup semi-finals.
The Chiefs fans invaded the pitch, pelted missiles at the players and officials, assaulted security guards, ripped and torched out seats and destroyed broadcasting equipment.
In addition, they also vandalised goalposts, fencing, crowd management barriers, bins, water points, tables and chairs among other items in the vicinity.
After the incident, a medical report confirmed that 18 people had been injured, six of whom were admitted to hospital and later discharged.
Despite the damages cause by the irate Chiefs supporters, the stadium was still able to honour a booking on Sunday.
‘We are grateful, taking it from the horse’s mouth, that there was no loss of life and those who were admitted to hospital were later discharged,’ Gumede said at a press conference at the venue on Wednesday.
‘After the events of the weekend, we requested the management of the stadium to compile detailed reports, which is what we are presenting to you today. We received a report detailing the damages and also a medical report about those who were injured, including one of the stadium employees [Richard Zikhali], who suffered minor injuries.’
Mabhida Stadium general manager Vusi Mazibuko explained why the stadium could not replicate what is being done in European Stadiums, who often use barricades to prevent pitch invasions.
‘The first part of it is that it is easy to invade the stadium. However, there are three reasons why it is easy to invade this pitch; the first reason, ironically, is for the safety of the spectators, because the design of the stadium allows for the pitch to be an assembly point in the event there was to be an incident… that’s why it is designed like that.
‘The second reason, it is meant for enhancing the spectators’ experience. Thirdly, this stadium, as the mayor has said, is not a football stadium, but it is a multi-purpose stadium. Can you imagine if we have a cage kind of a thing as you have elsewhere and then you have athletics and you have runners, and they run in an environment like that?
‘However, as I said, this is the time maybe to accept that the public that we serve deserves something different in terms of design.
‘Because, even if you were to put up a barrier, that barrier must be collapsible in the event of an incident. Because if it is not collapsible, more people might die in the event of a stampede.
‘So those are the issues we need to consider going forward, learning from the incident.’
Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix
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