Minister in probe fix

Two people died during a football stampede last year but new sport minister Tokozile Xasa has called off a probe instituted by the former sports minister, Thulas Nxesi.
Two people died during a football stampede last year but new sport minister Tokozile Xasa has called off a probe instituted by the former sports minister, Thulas Nxesi.
Image: Tadeu Andre / AFP

A showdown is looming in the corridors of the Department of Sport after new minister Tokozile Xasa called off the investigation into the deaths of two soccer fans at a friendly match between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs last July.

The announcement appeared in the Government Gazette on Friday.

The Department of Sport's chief director of communication, Mickey Modisane, said the department filed the notice because it was concerned about "the lack of cooperation necessary to execute the mandate of such an inquiry by key roleplayers.

"As inquiries of these nature relies [sic] largely on the cooperation of the affected stakeholders and there has been active opposition on this one, the department found it necessary to withdraw the current notice and to review other available legal instruments and to vigorously pursue the matter further through other law enforcement agencies to ensure that the interests of justice for the families of the deceased are served."

Last year, then sports minister Thulas Nxesi announced that retired Supreme Court of Appeal judge Ronald Pillay, as well as advocate Lindi Nkosi-Thomas, would be some of the legal minds comprising the committee investigating the soccer tragedy.

At the time, Nxesi said Pillay's committee must investigate, make findings and report on the events that led to the death of two soccer supporters and the injury of 17 others.

Johannes Khotso Nkosi and Prince Vuzumuzi Chauke died in a stampede outside the stadium during a derby match between the two Soweto soccer giants.

But strangely, the families of the deceased have not been informed of the move to call off the probe and the reasons.

Nkosi's father, Phineas, who resides in Madidi, north of Pretoria, was taken aback when Sunday World informed him that the inquiry into safety and security at soccer stadiums has been called off.

"It is the very first time I hear about the stopping of the investigation. The last time we heard from the authorities was when Stadium Management people told us to wait until the investigations are complete. That was a few weeks after the my son's funeral," said Nkosi.

"Regarding the stopping of the investigation, as the family, we will wait for them to contact us. I must say though that it is unprofessional not to inform us. We have questions to be answered.."

Also in the dark about the latest developments is Vero Chauke, the sister of Prince.

She said the last time they heard from the parties concerned was at a remembrance service held during a league match between Chiefs and Pirates last October.

"I attended the commemoration at FNB Stadium. We were informed about a government inquiry and that the police were also investigating," said Chauke. "Since then we have been in the dark. Many of the officials ... were present at my brother's funeral. As a family, we hope they will do the right thing and inform us about the latest developments."

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