Cape Town - Lucozade will no longer be promoting their tour sponsorship for the Linkin Park tour to South Africa, the sports drink brand have announced.
On Wednesday, Florentina Heaven-Popa, 33, died after a scaffolding tower advertising Lucozade outside the Linkin Park concert venue in Cape Town, collapsed under pressure from a strong south-easterly. Nineteen others were injured.
The structure had been preapproved and certified as safe before the event.
Lucozade released a statement on their website which read: “Out of respect for victims of this accident we will not be actively promoting our tour sponsorship up to and at the final event.”
Linkin Park are due to perform their second and final date of their SA tour at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on Saturday.
The UK company’s announcement also follows their official response to the tragedy: “We are deeply saddened by these events and extend our sincere condolences to the family of the bereaved.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have been injured and those who witnessed the tragedy.
“As tour sponsors of the concert, we are in close contact with the concert organisers and investigating authorities and will co-operate fully with them in their investigations.”
Meanwhile, the City of Cape Town has appointed a wind specialist and a structural engineering firm, who were on Friday starting their investigations into Wednesday’s incident.
Strong south-easterly winds, a feature of spring and summer in Cape Town, must be catered for by having adequately braced structures, a knowledgeable source in the structural engineering industry told the Cape Argus on Friday.
The Cape Town Weather Office said on Friday that on Wednesday the wind near the stadium was gusting at up to 70km/h.
The Cape Argus source explained: “The structure would have to have been adequately braced, installed according to approved methodology, in order to withstand the forces from the wind and the weight of any people.
“For example, it would have had to have been erected by a certified scaffolding erector, and signed off by a qualified inspector.
“Because we live in Cape Town, any design has to allow for extreme winds of at least 100km/h.
“While it does not often blow stronger than 100km/h, micro-climate conditions can be impacted by all sorts of factors, which can funnel gusts of wind, for example – so any design has to be massively robust,” the expert said.
The way certain structures are configured can cause wind speeds to exceed 100km/h – for example the tunnels under the Cape Town Civic Centre.
The city’s Kylie Hatton said while the scaffolding structure in question at the stadium had been signed off in the process of granting the overall event permit for the concert, the investigators would now study the full process followed in minute detail.
Popa’s husband, Leslie Heaven, said on Thursay he would mount legal action.
A further dozen people were taken to hospital and a source said today that it appeared that between two and four of them had suffered injuries that could be regarded as “serious”.
It remained unclear on Friday who would carry legal accountability for the death and injuries, should any of the victims or their families sue.
The City of Cape Town has launched an independent external investigation into the events leading to Wednesday night’s death and injuries.
The investigation will be headed by the police and a structural engineering firm.
Mayor Patricia De Lille said the city and event organisers Big Concerts would co-operate fully with the investigation.
“I would also like to give the assurance that the city has moved proactively to institute an independent external investigation into the causes of the incident,” she said.
A spokesperson for UK-based pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), which manufactures Lucozade, said the branding activation had been erected by a contractor who “fully complied” with the safety specifics required by the city and the concert organisers.
The spokesperson said the structure had been checked and signed off by concerned parties.
“Our main concern now is with the immediate family of the deceased and the injured.
“A full investigation is under way and we will co-operate fully with authorities looking into the matter,” she said.
Nicky’s Spotlight’s Promotions, the company that supplied promoters for Lucozade, had about 30 staff – men and women, between 18 and 28 years old – at the stadium on Wednesday.
The company’s Steven Barker said two of the promoters had been injured in the incident. One was discharged from hospital on Thursday.
“We have arranged for trauma counselling for all of them,” he said.
One of the promoters, Marinique Welsh, 15, of Bothasig, had two broken vertebrae. She is heavily sedated at the Panorama Mediclinic.
Her parents will be consulting a lawyer on whether to pursue legal action.
Cape Argus, IOL