Hundreds of angry fans of South African top flight side Kaizer Chiefs on Saturday evening (April 21) stormed the perimeter fencing at the Moses Mabhida stadium in Durban and went on rampage after a defeat.
The ensuing chaos led to attacks on the media, match officials and a security officer at the venue. Kaizer Chiefs lost the game by 2-0 to the Free State Stars in a semi-final cup match.
About eighteen people were injured, fire set to a part of the stands and damage to broadcast and advertising equipments around the stadium.
A severely assaulted security officer was hospitalized but later discharged after he was repeatedly kicked in the chest and hit with plastic chairs by a section of the fans.
The fans were protesting the continued stay in office of coach of the side following a string of poor results. Coach Steve Komphela who managed to escape unhurt resigned his post immediately after the incident.
One man charged, Kaizer Chiefs charged by League organizer
Police confirmed that one arrest had been made and that others would follow, most of the rowdy acts were captured on video with a number of these video clips having gone viral on social media space.
A 34-year-old man, Phelelani Jojisa, on Monday appeared in court on charges of malicious damage to property and pitch invasion following the riots. He is so far the only person who has so far been arrested over the violence. He is due back in court today (April 25).
In an initial condemnation of the fan violence of Saturday, the Premier Soccer League (PSL) said in a statement: ‘Hooliganism and thuggery of this nature has no place in football and acts of violence perpetrated by individuals are witnessed last night cannot be tolerated.’
A follow up statement of Monday confirmed that Chiefs had been charged over the conduct of their fans. ‘The Premier Soccer League has charged Kaizer Chiefs FC with bringing the League into disrepute and misconduct.’ The club is to appear before a disciplinary Committee on 03 May, 2018.
Police partly to blame, police open probe – League organizers insist
Police were partly to blame for a violent pitch invasion at a South African soccer match, where fans were caught on camera beating up security officials and destroying broadcast equipment, the country’s soccer boss said on Monday.
Before Saturday’s match, police officials didn’t show up for a planning meeting on security, Premier Soccer League Chairman Irvin Khoza told a televised news conference in Johannesburg.
“You can’t implement what you don’t have plans for,” Khoza said. He stressed that an investigation by the League’s disciplinary structure was underway.
“From the league’s perspective, whilst crimes or unlawful acts of public violence are being committed in their presence, the South African Police Service is required to be properly prepared and to immediately act,” Khoza said.
In response to the allegation, police said that the causes of the riot will be investigated. “We will be probing if the deployments of SAPS, Security Personnel and other security agencies were in place according to the plan, and whether those that were deployed to provide security event reacted as they were expected to,” police spokesman Jay Naicker said.
History of fan violence
Fan violence at soccer matches has a history in South Africa. Forty-three people died and 158 were hurt in a stampede during a match between Chiefs and the Orlando Pirates in 2001.
A commission of inquiry called by then President Thabo Mbeki blamed inadequate training for stewards and lack of coordination between police and stadium management. It found no criminal or civil liability against the clubs, the league or stadium management.