It is not necessary to establish a commission of inquiry into the deaths resulting from the stampede at the FNB Stadium on July 29, 2017, according to a parliamentary reply from Sports, Art and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa,
News24 reported at the time that two people had died and several were injured in the stampede during the Soweto derby between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates during the Carling Black Label Cup.
The police said the tragedy was caused as “a rolling mass of people were trying to get into the stadium” resulting in “two fatalities caused by blunt force trauma”.
DA MP Tsepo Mhlongo asked Mthethwa whether his department had asked President Cyril Ramaphosa to establish a commission of inquiry into the deaths and whether there would be one or not.
To this, Mthethwa responded that Ramaphosa had taken note of the response but had taken a view that “… there is an unprecedented proliferation which has resulted in too many commissions of inquiry being established”.
“Besides, the Ngoepe commission of inquiry that investigated and reported on the Ellis Park soccer tragedy in 2001 has already constituted rules that relate to incidents in sport at stadiums and elsewhere that should rather be utilised and built on instead of opting to build afresh.”
Mthethwa, expanding on the president’s view on the matter, explained that “… we must reflect on all tools in available toolboxes and exhaust all remedies, actions, etc. that stem from the findings and recommendations of the Ngoepe commission of inquiry” and “even though one can pursue the establishment of a commission of inquiry, it would be far quicker and practical, among others, to execute applicable and available processes to ensure proper law enforcement and criminal investigations for effective outcomes…”
Therefore, he said, it would not be necessary to establish a commission of inquiry any more as his department had, on the advice of the Department of Justice, decided to execute alternative applicable and available processes “as motivated above so as to ensure proper law enforcement and criminal investigations for effective outcomes in the above regard”.
Mhlongo, responding to Mthethwa, said rules relating to such incidents in sport at stadiums which the Ngoepe commission had instituted, were either not implemented or effective in preventing the FNB Stadium stampede.
He continued, saying the DA “… maintains that major crowd control catastrophes at stadiums must each be interrogated to ensure that they do not happen again in future. Failure to this will only lead to further tragedies. The ANC government is essentially preventing life-saving lessons from being learned”.
“The DA is of the view that there are still too many questions surrounding the incident and that it is frankly unethical that a probe into how two innocent people died has seemingly been muffled.
“The South African public deserves to know the truth and most important, the families of the victims deserve closure and justice,” said Mhlongo.