PARLIAMENT, May 8 – MPs on Tuesday suggested those found guilty of public violence at soccer matches in South Africa be banned from sporting and recreational events for life.
“I maintain hooligans who are found guilty never, ever go to any public event…,” said Beauty Dlulane, chairwoman of Parliament’s portfolio committee sport and recreation, following a briefing by police, the Premier Soccer League, the SA Football Association, private security companies and other stakeholders on the violence that occurred following a soccer match at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on April 21.
It emerged 21 people were injured, including 15 spectators, four private security guards, one police officer, and one Metro police official after fans stormed the pitch and went on a rampage when Kaizer Chiefs lost to Free State Stars in the Nedbank Cup semi-final.
MPs said given the increasing cases of hooliganism, harsher penalties were needed for those guilty of these crimes.
“One of the lessons and also practice in other jurisdictions – shouldn’t we ban spectators for life involved in that action?” asked Francois Beukman, chairman of the portfolio committee on police.
Premier Soccer League chairman Irvin Khoza agreed with Beukman and Dlulane, highlighting the absence of penalties for hooliganism
“You are absolutely right, when you look at the legislation, there is no deterrent for supporters and that is why it is easy for them to commit whatever crime in the stadium…,” said Khoza.
Earlier, national police commissioner Khehla Sitole said a review was needed of the law governing safety and security at sporting events.
“This particular legislation was promulgated before 2010 and it responded well in 2010. Between 2010 and now there was drastic change in modus operandi which requires a review of the Act,” Sitole said while briefing parliament’s portfolio committees on police and sports.
The Safety at Sports and Recreational Events Act (SASREA) governs the way police, soccer league bosses and other role players secure big sporting events.
In addition, Sports Minister Thokozile Xasa has requested President Cyril Ramaphosa to institute a judicial commission of inquiry into public violence at soccer matches, a move supported by Deputy Police Minister Bongani Mkongi.
Mkongi told MPs soccer hooliganism posed a big threat to national security.
A total of six people have been arrested on charges of public violence and malicious damage to property.
Sitole was asked whether the six people and those identified in photographs released to the media by the police this week, were the masterminds.
“To a large extent…they are the drivers of the modus operandi, those who want to attack the well-being of the country.”