Cape Town - The South African National Editors' Forum (Sanef) has condemned the violent behaviour of the fans who vandalised the stadium and injured scores of people, including two photographers, during a Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates match at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday.
Angry Orlando Pirates fans invaded the pitch and tampered with TV cables thereby interrupting the live broadcast of the match in which their team conceded six goals without reply.
One of the photographers, the Daily Sun's Themba Makofane, said he was hit on the foot with a blunt object during a commotion that erupted after Sundowns scored their sixth goal.
Makofane was taking photographs of fans who were ripping plastic stadium seats from the stands to hurl on to the field.
Makofane turned back and realised another group were trying to snatch his wallet, which contained R400, and a spare camera from his bag. He pleaded for their mercy and they gave his belongings back.
Another photographer, BackpagePix’s Sydney Mahlangu, was not so lucky.
His laptop, which he used to download, edit and transmit images from the stadium, was stolen. He was also struck with one of the metal objects the raging fans pulled from the advertising billboards surrounding the field.
"The situation was so scary, the police started running for cover like the rest of us," said Makofane.
Sanef has condemned the behaviour and called on both the police and the sporting authorities to make sure the perpetrators are brought to book.
Such thuggish behaviour needs to be eliminated from our sport so that the
safety of the football-loving community is guaranteed and that journalists can
at all times operate without fear and intimidation, the press statement concluded.