Beyoncé on stage during the Global Citizen Festival. (Picture: Instagram)
Beyoncé on stage during the Global Citizen Festival. (Picture: Instagram)

#GlobalCitizen crime fiasco blame game

By BOTHO MOLOSANKWE Time of article published Dec 3, 2018

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The blame game is on regarding the chaos around security at the Global Citizen concert held on Sunday.

Many revellers who attended the concert took to social media to complain about how they were traumatised by what happened after the concert, saying they were robbed or witnessed gunmen robbing concert goers.

Others said they had to physically fight off robbers, complaining about the lack of security saying there was no police visibility.

However, the Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) and the Stadium Management South Africa (SMSA) have pointed fingers at the South African Police Services, saying they were the one who were supposed to have ensured the safety of the revellers.

JMPD's Wayne Minnaar said their hands were full directing traffic before and after the concert and they would have not had time to be chasing after criminals.

SMSA's Dr Jacques Grobbelaar, on the hand, said they had nothing to do with safety and security at the event as they were sidelined when it came to planning it.

Meanwhile, the SAPS said the security they provided at the event was more than enough and that only one robbery was reported and the perpetrator was arrested.

While some people who were at the event drew the metro police in the mix, saying officers were in the vicinity when some criminal elements were harassing people, JMPD refused to take the blame in what happened, saying all their time was spent on managing huge amounts of traffic.

"Where was SAPS? We were not just standing there and doing nothing, all the officers were busy managing traffic at all intersections. There were about 160 officers but more than 160 points.

"Yes we heard that there were muggings reported at Sasol garage but how could we be chasing after criminals when we were directing traffic?

"I had never seen so many Uber taxis in my life. In addition to that, we had to manage thousands of cars, minibus taxis and buses. Our responsibility was to manage traffic around the FNB stadium," Minnaar said.

SMSA's Grobbelaar, however, disagreed with Minnaar, saying "what the JMPD is telling you is blatantly wrong."

He said the JMPD was a formation constituted under the Police Act and they were, therefore peace officers themselves.

"Their mandate  means they manage traffic control into and outside the venue as well as enforcing municipal by-laws including acts of  criminal nature as well as public order situations that may arise in the precinct. They have a police function to execute."

Whenever there are big events at stadiums such at FNB Stadium, SMSA  plans its own security unless the events are of national importance. That's when the government take over the security issue.

In this instance, Grobbelaar said, they were not not involved in the security for the Global Citizen event. He said he himself saw that safety and security was not properly planned for as there was no visible policing at the FNB precinct on the day of the concert.

"The blame has got to be laid squarely in front of the SAPS. This was an event of national importance, it was attended by 58 heads of state and police took over. 

"We as stadium management had nothing to do with all arrangements relating to safety and security. Global Citizen and the police took over operations; we were sidelined.

"We were highly annoyed. The planning documents were even withheld from us because they were classified as highly secret.

"I myself saw how the JMPD were neglecting their duties. I saw the agitation of motorists and how people were getting annoyed with each other.

"I know that there are reports of people running into filling stations to shelter themselves from criminal elements that were adjacent to the stadium.

"It's time that the SAPS and JMPD are called out in terms of what their responsibilities are. If I were one of the people mugged, one whose vehicle was damaged or one whose life was put in danger, I would lay a criminal case against the SAPS for the lack of safety and security.

"I would lay that criminal case in terms of Act 2 of 2010, Safety at Sports and Recreational Events Act."

Police's Brigadier Vish Naidoo however, rubbished Grobbelaar's claims that the SMSA was sidelined in the planning of the event.

"We don't sideline people, we take over because we have to be accountable. We oversee the whole security detail and operation and you are calling me now to account so we must take control of security," he said.

While many people on social media reported many criminal events they said happened, Naidoo said people were busy reporting incidents on social media but not approaching the police and opening cases. 

"We had this one event (cellphone robbery) that went on social media then everyone came out and said they were shot, they were robbed, they were punched in the nose, they were hijacked...but we absolutely have no record of that.

"I have said in my media platforms that people must come forward and report these incidents so that we can investigate and confirm. People are complaining that there was no security yet they could not enter the stadium from the highway because of that security

"So how do you complain that there was no security? First there was too much then there was none? We had more than enough police officers." he said.

"If they say there was no police presence, there will never be a policeman for every one square foot. There was police presence but police can't be everywhere at the same time.

"If that was possible, we would have one policeman for every citizen in the country. We worked very hard, the general responsible for the operation left at 2.30am and the police were still there. Patrol vehicles with blue lights flashing parked on the highway and under the bridges," he said.

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