Guns N' Roses fans: 'We were also mugged at FNB Stadium'

2018-12-04 13:27
Guns N’ Roses perform.  (Deaan Vivier, Netwerk24)

Guns N’ Roses perform. (Deaan Vivier, Netwerk24)

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Muggings of concertgoers outside FNB Stadium in Soweto, as reported by scores of Global Citizen Mandela 100 Festival attendees this week, do not appear to be a new occurrence.

News24 spoke to people who were mugged as they left the venue following a concert by US rock band Guns N' Roses on Thursday.

Countless people were also attacked, mugged, stabbed and punched by gangs of juveniles at the Global Citizen event on Sunday night. Seven people have been arrested over the incidents.

Since then, people have come forward claiming to have suffered similar experiences last week Thursday, despite Johannesburg member of the mayoral committee for public safety Michael Sun saying in a statement that the Guns N' Roses concert was overall incident-free, except for a suspected domestic violence incident.

On Monday, Anneli Steenkamp tweeted: "We were mugged after the Guns [N'] Roses show on Thursday. That made me decide not to risk it again last night and missing out on Beyoncé."

Mugged twice

Tara Aberdeen, 28, and her husband, Rohan, 30, flew in from Durban to attend the Guns N' Roses concert. Speaking to News24, she recounted how the couple were mugged not once, but twice.

Aberdeen said although lighting had been set up, it was dark as these lights had been switched off.

"We made our way to the parking area with the crowd to catch an Uber, but Uber had to cancel on us about 12 times because they couldn't get near us. It didn't look like anyone was directing the traffic, it was just gridlocked."

People who had hoped to catch public transport then started making their way to the Sasol garage close to the stadium.

The couple managed to get hold of a taxi and waited for the car to make its way through the traffic to the petrol station.

"As we were walking to the taxi, we suddenly noticed lots of young men walking around near the garage. I immediately sensed that something was wrong. One guy made eye contact and then lunged at me and tried to get my phone. He pushed me on the ground and hit me in the face. Then he got up and ran away.

"When my husband tried to chase him a second man jumped on me. I was screaming and managed to fight him off.

'I thought he was being stabbed'

"When I looked up, there was a whole lot of men on top of my husband, between four and six of them. I thought he was being stabbed. I could hear him calling for help.

"I tried to pull them away but instead I was pulled to the ground.

"I was screaming. There were cars and people everywhere. [The attack] was so brazen," Aberdeen said.

People in a nearby car then got out assisted the Aberdeens by chasing the attackers off.

According to Aberdeen, the attackers casually strolled away as if nothing had happened.

One of the women in the car was crying because she had herself been assaulted earlier.

The couple suffered injuries including bruising, a cut to the lip and a bloody nose.

Aberdeen has since encountered other people who had a similar experience following the concert.

"It was not as bad as Sunday but it was very similar."

Aberdeen has been trying to report the incident to the police but has not had much success.

"I phoned the police in Joburg [from Durban] but was told I had to physically be there to report it. Then I was told I could go to my local police station but they demanded a medical report."

Police: 'Oh, sorry...'

Another concertgoer, who asked to remain anonymous, told News24 that she and her husband were also mugged twice on Thursday.

"Within a few minutes of us leaving the concert, on our way to the Sasol garage, my husband was mugged. They took his cellphone.

"Twenty minutes later, my phone was grabbed out of my hand. They knocked me to the ground.

"Luckily my husband tackled that guy and got my phone back, but yes, we were mugged twice in 20 minutes."

The attacks on the couple were carried out by around four men.

The couple was not isolated but surrounded by people and occupied vehicles.

"There were lots of people around and police were visible," she said.

"We went to the police van and I told the lady what had happened. Her response was: 'Oh, sorry.'"

The couple has also since learnt of similar incidents since sharing their ordeal on social media.

Jay Clark wrote on Facebook: "Nice touch leaving all the lights outside the stadium off after the concert, saw a nice couple get mugged on the way to their car."

Duhne Buys wrote: "We experienced the same. They tried to take my husband's phone."

News24 attempted to reach a Big Concerts representative by phone but the call went unanswered. However, on Tuesday afternoon, the company tweeted: "Big Concerts is deeply saddened to learn of the horrific experiences that attendees to the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 had to endure after the conclusion of the event on Sunday night.

"As the lead prod[uction] partner we take this very seriously [and] are working with the relevant authorities to investigate these incidents. We encourage the public to come forward & report any crimes to their nearest Police station to be investigated to the fullest extent of the law."

Access to CCTV footage

On Tuesday, Sasol said in a statement the South African Police Service (SAPS) had approached the company to request access to the CCTV footage of several muggings at the Ormonde View franchise in Soweto on Monday morning.

According to Sasol, the company was "shocked and appalled at the traumatic situation that unfolded at our Sasol Ormonde View franchise retail site".

Global Citizen and the House of Mandela, the organisers of the Global Citizen event, said on Monday that they were "deeply disturbed" by the reports of criminal attacks on concertgoers.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura on Monday also said he was "disturbed" by the attacks and had sought a full report from law enforcement authorities.

National police spokesperson Brigadier Vish Naidoo told News24 earlier that incidents needed to be reported before the SAPS can take steps. 

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