Memories of Global Citizen Festival crime terror fresh as police step up Soweto derby security

Police will over the weekend beef-up security for the Soweto derby match between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg.
Police will over the weekend beef-up security for the Soweto derby match between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg.
Image: Gallo Images

The South African Police Service (SAPS) will "significantly increase" its presence at Saturday's Kaizer Chiefs vs Orlando Pirates Absa Premiership Soweto derby in reaction to the rampant crime that affected the Global Citizen concert at the venue in December.

The Global Citizen Festival Mandela 100 concert on Sunday‚ December 2‚ descended into chaos afterwards as concert-goers outside the stadium waiting for hours for Uber and Taxify cabs were preyed upon by pickpockets and thieves with guns and knives.

Captain Lorraine van Emmerich‚ communications official for Booysens Police Station‚ said the SAPS will be deployed inside and outside the stadium.

"We have put our deployment of personnel to the maximum‚" Van Emmerick said.

"We have got a dedicated group of detectives who will be in our charge office‚ in our [on-site] community service centre.

"We have got a large contingency of members deployed.

"We also have undercover members of Crime Intelligence who will be observing what is going on‚ and from there we will react to anything happening.

"We have members who will be deployed in the parking spaces‚ at the Sasol garage‚ at Nasrec Expo Centre.

"Members will patrol in the stadium. We have got members from public order policing and from our provincial office. A soft target for Global Citizen was the Sasol garage.

"We will have an Nyala [armoured car] placed there‚ and so will JMPD."

Johannesburg Metro Police Department [JMPD] chief superintendent Wayne Minnaar said the dynamics for the concert‚ which ended close to midnight‚ and the 3.30pm kickoff derby are different.

"The majority of the fans coming to the stadium for the derby will be using [minibus] taxis‚" he said.

"With the concert the majority [not in their own cars] were using Uber. And there was a cellphone network problem.

"And therefor people moved away from the stadium."

Bertie Grobbelaar‚ managing director of Stadium Management South Africa‚ which manages FNB Stadium‚ said cellphone companies have undertaken to boost their signal around the stadium on Saturday.

"The SAPS have undertaken‚ and this was not previously done‚ that there will be a redeployment plan so that as people leave the venue officers inside the stadium disseminate outside the stadium‚ exiting with people as they leave‚ to target these petty crimes‚" he said.

Grobbelaar said fake tickets sellers and buyers are also being targeted by police.

"That is a huge effort we are going to be putting in on Saturday as well. Because 200 or 300 [extra] people put the lives at risk of 80‚000 or 90‚000 at risk‚" he said.

"There will be criminal prosecution on that. It's fraud. The seller and the buyer of the ticket will be charged and prosecuted."

The holding cells at the stadium will be activated‚ Grobbelaar said.

By Wednesday morning 6‚700 tickets were left on sale for the derby.

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