Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Johannesburg - Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) said on Wednesday they have launched an internal investigation following allegations of non-adherence to the traffic management plan and critical road closures at the Global Citizen Festival at FNB Stadium 10 days ago. 

This comes after 15 people were arrested and 50 cases opened after scores of revellers were robbed and assaulted at a nearby petrol station while waiting for lifts from the star-studded concert.

Last week, police minister Bheki Cele said a comprehensive policing plan was in place, but there had been "unforeseen circumstances" which included a "collapse of traffic management" and the fact that mobile network congestion and lack of signal had pushed people to the Sasol Garage to catch rides home.

On Wednesday, Joburg member of mayoral committee for public safety, Michael Sun, said the JMPD was responsible for traffic management in accordance with the master plan which was approved by the event safety and security planning committee (ESSPC).

Sun said the overall planning and command for the event was under the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure which was under the command of SA Police Service (SAPS), including the Presidential Protection Service as the lead security role-players in light of various Heads of State attending.

He said the majority of JMPD officers reported for duty with sufficient equipment and vehicles from 6am on the day of the concert until 7am the following day.

"As the City's government we must account to our residents and will not jump on the band-wagon of finger pointing to shift responsibility. Yet, it must be noted that reports surfaced that road closure equipment and fencing did not arrive and deliver on time the morning of the event.," Sun said.

Sun said the City was further concerned about the report that the Presidential Protection Service had overruled JMPD in vehicular access control which contributed further to the traffic congestions.

"JMPD adhered to the traffic management plan which was approved by ESSPC and there is yet to be any evidence that JMPD or any of the City structures made any deviation from the said traffic management plan," Sun said.

"We strongly reject the blaming tactic being deployed by several key stakeholders to shift responsibilities as it is neither progressive in rectifying the problem nor giving our residents any comfort in knowing that the next major event will be a safe one."

Sun said an internal investigation has commenced as the City needs to establish what went wrong and learn valuable lessons. 

African News Agency/ANA