No VIP treatment for MEC

Alfred Moselakgomo

Alfred Moselakgomo

Mpumalanga MEC for culture, sports and recreation Jabu Mahlangu was refused entry to the local stadium's VIP section when he wanted to watch a soccer match on Sunday.

Mahlangu, with other invited VIPs at Witbank's Atlantic Stadium, were forced to watch the game between Mpumalanga Black Aces and University of Pretoria with the crowd.

"I am shocked that 14 years into democracy we still experience such racist behaviour," he said.

Mahlangu told Sowetan yesterday he that he had been invited to the game and was surprised when security stopped him at the entrance and directed him to a different section and not his usual place.

"I have been to that stadium many times before and I was surprised when the officer told me he had been instructed not to allow anyone into the presidential suite," Mahlangu said.

"He told me that the president of the Pumas Rugby Club, Hein Mentz, had ordered them not to allow anyone into the VIP section."

Mentz is also president of Mpumalanga Rugby Union.

Pumas FC use the stadium as their home ground with Mpumalanga Black Aces.

"The stadium belongs to the Emalahleni municipality and it is disappointing that people are being barred from using its facilities," Mahlangu said.

He said he had asked for a report from the team's management.

Until he was told why he had been denied access to the VIP section he had no other choice but to conclude that the move was racially motivated.

Yesterday Mentz said he was forced to close down the VIP section because of extensive theft and vandalism.

"We sent messages to the clubs that because of repeated vandalism and extensive theft the presidential section of the stadium would be shut down until further notice," he said.