Johannesburg - South African police on Monday dismissed allegations of lax safety and security outside the FNB Stadium after the Global Citizen Festival, saying that it was successful in combating crime and that those who allegedly fell victim to robberies should open criminal cases.
Festivalgoers have told of brazen robberies, traffic chaos and lack of public transport outside the concert venue and at the nearby Sasol garage in Nasrec where the stadium is located. Transport services such as the Gautrain said many of its buses were stuck in traffic while fares for e-hailing service Uber more than quadrupled.
On social media, people detailed how the precinct became a "war zone" as running battles ensued between criminals and showgoers, with many being mugged of their cellphones and other belongings while young women waiting for their rides home at a nearby garage were harassed and nearly raped, with allegedly no security or police in sight.
There were reports of a group of about 30 men using knives and guns to attack people and grab their belongings. The injuries included stab wounds and a broken nose.
Police spokesperson Brigadier Vish Naidoo, speaking to the public broadcaster SABC from Port Elizabeth, said that police had recorded one incident of mugging after the concert, and that the police will not be seeking CCTV footage from the petrol station as there have been no criminal cases reported except for one.
Naidoo said the South African police would not admit to the alleged lack of policing as the service was known for delivering safety and security at major events successfully as it had done at the 2010 FIFA World Cup and post the major tournament.
"There was one robbery that took place at Sasol garage which was reported to us and we arrested the suspect with regards to that. We do not have a report of any other cases. We do not go by what is posted on social media because the only time something is factual is if we get an affidavit," Naidoo said.
"It's different for the media and it's different for the police to respond to. (Victims of crime) have to understand an affidavit is absolutely essential to warrant an investigation. The fact that we arrested a suspect immediately after the robbery took place highlights the presence of police at Sasol garage."
Stadium Management also expressed regret at the reported incidents of violence and crime affecting festivalgoers but said that it had no authority over the safety and security of music revellers who had come to see their favourite local and international artists.
Speaking on Radio702 on Monday morning, chief executive of Stadium Management Jacques Grobbelaar said that their role was restricted to providing certain services and that the ultimate responsibility for safety and security in and around the stadium lay with the SAPS and the Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD).
"Because of this event being of national importance, it was taken over by National Joints Operations of SAPS. We as stadium management were not involved in the safety and security of the event as we would normally have been as we did with the Guns N' Roses concert last week Thursday," Grobbelaar said.
"For the Global Citizen Festival, the stadium provided the venue, we provided logistical services and provided certain cleaning, as well as medical services. The police and JMPD were responsible for the bylaws in the precinct and overall safety and security of the event."
The much-anticipated show to honour Nelson Mandela, who died in 2013 and would have turned 100 this year, lived up to expectations with the headline act of American superstars Beyonce and Jay-Z leaving fans crying for more. But afterwards, many fell prey to crime while trapped in the stadium due to heavily backed-up traffic.
African News Agency (ANA)