Tshwane plays down stampede

2004-04-28 12:14
Pretoria - A stampede in which several people were injured during the democracy celebration concert at the Union Buildings on Tuesday was described as "nothing serious" by the Tshwane metro council on Wednesday.

"We have checked with all the hospitals and found that nobody was admitted," said spokesperson William Baloyi, noting that many of the injuries comprised only of bruises and scrapes.

Pretoria Academic Hospital said on Tuesday evening it had treated 15 patients for minor injuries - the most serious being broken ankles and arms.

An estimated 200 revellers were caught in a "human wave" when 20 000 people swept onto the southern lawns of the Union Buildings at the start of the a music concert to mark the country's 10th anniversary of democracy, shortly after the inauguration of President Thabo Mbeki.

The problem is alleged to have been caused when crowds in Church Street broke through the fence onto the lawns and jostled for space near the front of the stage with those already there.

An estimated 20 000 people flooded into the grounds in 45 minutes.

Human wave

Beeld photographer Felix Dlangamandla said he still gets "goose bumps" when thinking of his narrow escape.

"I was in the crowd shooting pictures when all of a sudden there was a feeling of apprehension and anxiety in the crowd. Seconds later a wave of people surged towards the stage - I was suddenly sweating and found it difficult to breath," he said.

Dlangamandla said there was much shouting and screaming.

"I managed to get hold of a marshal who dragged me to safety," he said.

He was pleased to see that children were the first to be saved by marshals who dragged many from the crowd and flung them to waiting hands on the other side of a fence, Dlangamandla said.

Candace Freeman, who was enjoying the festivities near the back of the lawns with friends, said she heard there had been a stampede but from her position it had not seemed like a "major thing".

Tshwane Emergency Services confirmed it had assisted the injured but was restricted by the department of foreign affairs from speaking to the media on the matter.

The department was not immediately available for comment.


Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.