Ellis Park families in Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates’ prayers

The Ellis Park Soccer disaster in which around 42 people died after having been crushed in a stampede as fans tried to enter the crowded stadium to watch traditional rivals Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates.
The Ellis Park Soccer disaster in which around 42 people died after having been crushed in a stampede as fans tried to enter the crowded stadium to watch traditional rivals Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates.
Image: Joe Sefale. © Sunday Times

Kaizer Chiefs chairman Kaizer Motaung has said the club always keeps the families of the 43 football supporters who died in the Ellis Park disaster 18 years ago “in our prayers”.

Chiefs and Orlando Pirates posted messages of remembrance on their official websites of the tragedy‚ where 158 people were also injured in the crushes that were a result of overcrowding at a Soweto derby at Ellis Park on Wednesday‚ April 11‚ 2001.

Motaung told Chiefs’ website: “It is one fateful and unforgettable date. The picture remains vivid in my mind every time I think about that night.”

“I will not get used to talking about this. It happened‚ and it is part of our history.

“One philosopher‚ George Santayana‚ said: ‘Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it’.

“We are bound to refer to this unfortunate incident to renew and pledge our solidarity with the bereaved families and review the measures that were put in place as a result.”

“The Ngoepe Commission was appointed by former President Thabo Mbeki to investigate the cause of the stampede and make recommendations to avoid a similar occurrence in the future.

“My deepest feelings of sympathy to the families who lost their beloved stays on. We always keep them in our prayers because we share their pain as the football family.”

Pirates posted a message on their website.

It read: “The true beginning of wisdom is the desire to learn – The Wisdom of Solomon 6:17.

“‘As long as matters are really hopeful‚ hope is mere flattery or platitude. It is only when everything is hopeless‚ that hope begins to be a strength at all. Like all virtues‚ it is as unreasonable as it is indispensable.’

“The events of 11 April 2001 and the continued remembrance of all those who passed will forever represent the lowest ebb of hopelessness in South African football.

“If only as a mark of respect for those who laid their lives on 11 April 2001 our wisdom begins. Our desire to learn and make sure it never happens again is the greatest hope we can create for the living."

X