National Assembly: 18 February 2010
With only a hundred and thirteen days to go to
Africa's first World Cup, it is necessary that we debate and reflect
on the safety and well-being of all people attending important
sporting and entertainment events on South African soil.
South Africa has become one of the world's most
popular destinations for the hosting of major international sporting
events, but the Ellis Park Soccer Disaster in 2001 highlighted
several shortcomings with regard to the current measures we have in
place at our stadiums, countrywide.
On the 11 April 2001, following a soccer game
between soccer arch-rivals Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs, a
stampede led to 43 people losing their lives at an overcrowded Ellis
Park Stadium. The
disaster shocked our nation and led to the establishment of the
Commission of Enquiry, chaired by Justice Ngoepe, which was set-up
to establish what happened on that fateful night and to identify
mechanisms to prevent such tragedies in future.
Some of the reasons cited for the tragedy were:
corrupt security officials; dereliction of duty by stadium
personnel; a poor forecast of attendance and a lack of proper
planning to deal with a capacity crowd. Role players had also failed
to identify areas of responsibility, resulting in security functions
either not being carried out properly, or not being carried out at
all. There was also undisputed evidence which showed that security
personnel accepted bribes to allow spectators without tickets into
the stadium. Some points
were unmanned, enabling people to walk through without tickets.
Needless to say, we cannot allow any of these
unacceptable, unscrupulous actions cited above to disrupt our
successful hosting of 2010 Soccer World Cup and neither can we allow
such a disaster to ever again occur at any other event hosted within
South Africa's borders.
Therefore, the proposed Bill before us today,
which seeks to implement minimum safety and security standards at
sports and recreational events, is the way forward and the IFP
welcomes the proposals made in the Bill.
I am especially pleased that the planning,
management and enforcement of safety and security at sports and
recreational events held at stadiums and other venues, including
events in the form of a race or a tour or procession along a route,
will as from the implementation of this Bill, be managed by
professional people with experience in the field of safety and
But let me signal a warning today; some sections
of this Bill are ambitions to say the least. The Bill, which seeks
to promote the physical safety and security of individuals attending
sports and recreational events and their property, will fail in its
proposed mandate unless we address the serious crisis in the private
security sector - which is not properly regulated and which is beset
by incompetence and corruption.
In line with our constitution, it is the
government's obligation to keep its citizens safe, but just as
important is the safety of the visitors to our country, especially
during the 2010 World Cup. Whether we are able to protect our
international and local sporting spectators will determine whether
our country will remain a desirable destination for the hosting of
major international events in future.
Honourable Speaker, it is therefore imperative
that we ensure that this Bill does not remain a mere piece of paper,
but that we follow through on all its intended aims and objectives.
The IFP welcomes and supports this Bill.
I thank you.
Contact: Bonginkosi Dhlamini MP, 083 254 8576.