[Listen] Stadium Management SA CEO's account of deadly FNB Stadium stampede

A deadly stampede occurred at FNB Stadium during a cup final between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs on Saturday afternoon.

Two football supporters were killed and several others injured, one of whom critically, during the stampede.

Stadium Management SA CEO Jacques Grobbelaar speaks to Phemelo Motane about what happened.

He says management will be meeting with family members of the deceased and injured at FNB Stadium during the Carling Black Label Cup game between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs

From a legal perspective, Grobbelaar explains that the events are regulated by the Safety at Sports and Recreational Events Act (Sasrec Act)

The Act is based on the Hillsborough guide, he says. That tragedy took place 29 years ago at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, northern England, during an FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.

Government put in legislation to control the management of events, specifically the planning of events and the roles and functions, and the responsibilities of certain role players adds Grobbelaar.

You are outraged, we are outraged about what happened. We are very sad that we lost two lives and our condolences go out to the families of the deceased who we will be meeting with during the day.

Jacques Grobbelaar, CEO Stadium Management SA

There are many parties involved from a legal perspective he says.

You have the event's organiser Carling Black Label, ...Stadium Management South Africa, various police units, EMS from the city, private security, private medical companies...it is a group of in excess of 50 organisations that have put the event together in terms of the Sasrec Act.

Jacques Grobbelaar, CEO Stadium Management SA

Planning began three months ago with multiple meetings.

We are confident that in terms of the planning, everything went as it was supposed to happen.

Jacques Grobbelaar, CEO Stadium Management SA

But everything did not go as it was supposed to, argues Phemelo Motane.

But it can't be business as usual. You can't be confident that everything went well, it didn't go well.

Phemelo Motane, 702 host

I agree with you, it didn't go well, we lost two lives, one person is in a critical condition and we have 19 people in hospital and one is, unfortunately, a child.

Jacques Grobbelaar, CEO Stadium Management SA

But did we take due care? Did we plan according to the legislation? Did we tick all the boxes?

Jacques Grobbelaar, CEO Stadium Management SA

Grobbelaar recounts how on Thursday afternoon a Kaizer Chiefs branch manager reported to the stadium ESSPC (Event Safety and Security Planning Committee) which he says is controlled by Saps.

He reported to them that he bought two tickets, counterfeit tickets, that he brought with him. We immediately traced the serial numbers on the tickets.

Jacques Grobbelaar, CEO Stadium Management SA

They confirmed with Computicket that the printing stock had been stolen and a case was opened with the Hawks involved in the matter.

I understand arrests were made and 3000 complimentary tickets were confiscated.

Jacques Grobbelaar, CEO Stadium Management SA

He says while the 50 organisations involved have a responsibility, there is also a responsibility on the part of the public.

We went on record on numerous occasions to say the event was sold out two weeks ago.

Jacques Grobbelaar, CEO Stadium Management SA

He says they announced on various media platforms - radio, print and social - that they were of counterfeit tickets, and people should only buy through Computicket or the official distributor Shoprite Checkers.

Knowing that at least 3000 extra people might arrive at the match with fake tickets, is what management did enough to prevent a potential tragedy, asks Phemelo Motane?

Grobbelaar insists they did alter their planning to accommodate additional people and placed their concerns on record with Saps nationally.

On Friday as late as 8pm, additional police staff were made available by the police to deal with this.

Jacques Grobbelaar, CEO Stadium Management SA

Motane questions the call made at 3.30pm to go ahead with the event despite intelligence reports of counterfeit ticket holders.

Grobbelaar says the incident took place at 3.10pm and he has seen the video footage.

It was a group of about 350 people who created a rolling mass moving from gate to gate and trying to push open gates. And that's clearly visible on video footage prior to 3pm. The at 3.10 this incident took place.

Jacques Grobbelaar, CEO Stadium Management SA

The gates were pushed open and 300 people just pushed through the gates.

Jacques Grobbelaar, CEO Stadium Management SA

He explains that in the Venue Operating Centre or VOC, all role players are on duty in control of their various structures they command on the ground.

As soon as we heard about and could see those issues on the CCTV footage and calls from security staff, it becomes a public order policing matter, only the police can assist with that. The police immediately responded, and what this group of people did, is they broke up in smaller groups and targeted certain different gates.

Jacques Grobbelaar, CEO Stadium Management SA

He insists it was attended to immediately and says they work on a risk matrix and factor in possible scenarios.

There was no pressure at the gates after this incident so no reason to stop the game and create mass panic. The situation was totally under control and it is preserved in CCTV footage.

Jacques Grobbelaar, CEO Stadium Management SA

He says a full police investigation is underway.


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