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Fears of another heist being planned by thugs as Justin Bieber heads to SA soon

Justin Bieber performs in front of thousands of young fans at FNB stadium held. Picture: Adrian de Kock

Justin Bieber performs in front of thousands of young fans at FNB stadium held. Picture: Adrian de Kock

Published Aug 6, 2022


Johannesburg - On Saturday, October 1, 2022 , Canadian superstar Justin Bieber will be returning to the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg to perform to a sold-out crowd.

It will mark nine years since Bieber last performed to a rousing crowd in Johannesburg.

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However, it also marks nine years since one of South Africa’s most infamous heists took place.

While the Canadian pop star blew the roof off FNB stadium , it wasn’t his performance that was most remembered on the night, but rather the well-planned heist that took place afterwards and which made headlines around the world.

In what was a meticulously planned heist. Robbers chiselled their way through FNB stadium and made off with over R3 million in cash from alcohol, food and merchandise sales from the concerts that took place over the weekend of August 12, 2013.

TheE aftermath of the heist at the FNB Stadium. Picture by SEBABATSO MOSAMO/EWN.

They cleared out the safe and walked away undetected with a reported R3m in cash.

Now, nine years later, as Bieber plans to return to FNB Stadium, the thieves responsible for the well-planned heist are still at large.

Scene of the FNB Stadium robbery. Picture by Sebabatso Mosamo/EWN.

Could these very same criminals or others now be planning to strike FNB Stadium once again when Bieber takes to the stage in October?

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Stadium Management South Africa (SMSA), the owners of FNB stadium, say they will be doing everything in their power to ensure there isn’t a repeat of the 2013 concert.

“We consider all risk and mitigatory factors with the Event Safety and Security Planning Committee and deploy security accordingly, and it won't be any different this time round,” said Bertie Grobbelaar, CEO at Stadium Management SA.

While Grobbelaar wasn’t employed by SMSA when the heist took place in 2013, he said all recommendations from the report of the heist were taken into consideration when planning future events, and that they would be well prepared going forward.

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“I was not employed by SMSA during the previous concert and therefore unable to comment on the background and circumstances surrounding the incident,” said Grobbelaar.

“The recommendations in the report following the incidents were implemented in the safety and security planning of all the other concerts and mega events post this unfortunate incident.

“The event safety and security planning committee, as constituted in terms of the safety at sport and recreational events act, considers all risks associated with every event and dictates the security deployment in accordance with a formal security plan.”

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Justin Bieber performs in front of thousands of young fans at FNB stadium held. Picture: Adrian de Kock

While they are doing all they can to make sure concert goers are safe , Grobbelaar did admit to being frustrated that no arrests had been made of those responsible for the 2013 heist.

“It is always frustrating if criminals are not brought to book,” said Grobbelaar.

But while Grobbelaar and his team will be hard at work making sure everything goes off smoothly when the Canadian pop star performs in October, he says he is delighted that FNB Stadium is able to welcome Bieber and other mega stars following a few difficult years during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Thousands of fans gather outside FNB stadium for the Justin Bieber concert in 2013. Picture by ADRIAN DE KOCK

“As a stakeholder, we are extremely relieved that the sport, eventing and entertainment industry is up and running again.”

“The past 25 months had a devastating impact on the industry, unfortunately resulting in many roleplayers unable to survive and closing business. We are excited that the industry is opening up again.”

“As SMSA, we are excited to host the first arena show post the lifting of the disaster management act regulations. It is always a privilege to be involved in hosting international acts to South Africa.”

Meanwhile, police have confirmed that they have temporarily closed the case, having not come any closer to making an arrest for the 2013 heist

“The case has been undetected (temporarily closed),” said Gauteng police spokesperson Colonel Noxolo Kweza.

“This is because no suspects were arrested. Fingerprints were identified but for now no suspect has been arrested. The investigations are continuing.”

Bieber’s highly anticipated concerts in South Africa will take place on September 28 at the DHL Stadium in Cape Town and on October 1 at the FNB Stadium.

The Saturday Star