Big Concerts ‘freaked out’ by Bieber heist
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Cape Town - The theft of millions of rand from the FNB Stadium after the Justin Bieber concert on Sunday has left the organisers, Big Concerts, “shaken”, “freaked out” and considering “paramilitary” security for major events.
The theft from a strongroom in the bowels of the stadium took place early on Monday – apparently through a hole that must have been chiselled away, undetected, over a significant period.
Initial reports said as much as R3 million had been stolen.
Big Concerts’ chief executive, Justin van Wyk, told the Cape Argus: “This has rattled us to the core. I’m even concerned about our personal security. It’s freaked us out.”
Van Wyk said the heist had left them asking serious questions.
“You bring out these huge stars, and the next day someone’s cleaned you out. Literally. They had planned for weeks and weeks, and taken (the strongroom) apart piece by piece, right in the belly of the stadium.”
Van Wyk said the stolen funds would exacerbate crime.
“These proceeds of crime are going to be reinvested in crime. These are people with specialist knowledge, and they are going to use these resources to buy more guns, to further crime.
“They’re hitting shopping malls, airports and now stadiums. What’s next?”
Van Wyk emphasised that the police had been “amazing”.
“When we have these big stars, we hire a wide range of security experts and teams. The management, at the top, is excellent. And the close-protection officers, who guard the VIPs, are excellent.”
His concerns were about stadium security, Van Wyk said.
“At every big event like this we have in excess of 1 000 guards. And long before this incident we had concerns.
“We have guards at the primary barricades, the secondary barricades, backstage, at the turnstiles, all the key areas – and we find that no matter how many measures and mechanisms or oversight authorities there are for the security industry, it seems crime is endemic.
“The security industry is overrun by people who cannot necessarily be trusted.”
Stadium Management South Africa’s chief executive Jacques Grobbelaar called on the security industry to do something urgently about its integrity.
“We will be moving from private security to paramilitary security. If that’s what it takes, they’re the people we’ll be hiring.”