Operational plan for ill-fated match between Chiefs and Stars match only signed next day, police admit

2018-05-08 14:40
Police react to crowd violence during the Nedbank Cup Semi Final match between Kaizer Chiefs and Free State Stars at Moses Mabhida Stadium. (Anesh Debiky, Gallo Images)

Police react to crowd violence during the Nedbank Cup Semi Final match between Kaizer Chiefs and Free State Stars at Moses Mabhida Stadium. (Anesh Debiky, Gallo Images)

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The operational plan for the Kaizer Chiefs/Free State Stars match at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, which erupted in violence last month, was only signed the day after the match.

On Tuesday, the Premier Soccer League (PSL) and the police briefed a joint meeting of the Portfolio Committees on Sport and of Police on the tumultuous Nedbank Cup semi-final.

DA MP Dianne Kohler Barnard asked if it was correct that the operational plan was only signed the day after the match. She said that if this was indeed the case, it appeared to be a "massive cover-up".  

READ: Two more men appear in court for Moses Mabhida Stadium violence

KwaZulu-Natal acting commissioner Major General Bheki Langa responded: "That we're not going to deny. It was signed after the match."

As he continued to answer another question, chairperson of the portfolio committee on police, Francois Beukman, interrupted him and said to police commissioner Lieutenant General Kehla Sitole that there needed to be "consequence management", as it was a very serious matter.

SEE PICS: KZN police call on public to help identify Moses Mabhida Stadium pitch invaders

Internal investigation

Sitole agreed and said he has already instructed an internal investigation, which would also deal with other issues.

The committee heard that the match had been rated as a medium security threat.

At the meeting of the legally required event safety and security planning committee on April 17, representatives of Kaizer Chiefs reported that their supporters were dissatisfied with the coach, Steve Komphela.

This meeting also received a threat assessment report from the police's crime intelligence unit, with a pitch invasion highlighted as one of the risks.

As the final whistle sounded on the evening of April 21, with the Amakhosi on the losing side, this is exactly what happened, resulting in the violence.

The police officer in charge of the event did not attend the safety and security planning committee's meeting, as he had to be in court on that day.

Sports Minister Thokozile Xasa said she had asked the Presidency for a judicial inquiry, and that the Presidency had agreed.

"We are not waiting for the outcomes of the judicial inquiry," she told the committee. "There are short-term issues that need to be tackled."

PSL chairperson Irvin Khoza said the PSL supported such an inquiry, adding that its "position on the increasing trend of public violence and criminality at professional football is quite simple - there needs to be a separation of criminals from the millions of football loving law abiding members of public who annually attend professional football matches across our country".

He said the PSL wasn't legislatively empowered and resourced to execute this alone.

"Sadly, it appears that the elevated levels of criminality, unlawfulness and violence within our society, is increasingly manifesting itself at professional football matches," he said.

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Read more on:    police  |  crime  |  parliament 2018

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