Stadium Management SA in the dark about Soweto Derby stampede inquiry withdrawal

Minister of Sport Thokozile Xasa will pursue the Carling Black Label tragedy

Following the Sports Ministry’s decision to withdraw the inquiry into two deaths and injuries at the FNB Stadium last year, Stadium Management South Africa (SMSA) said they are not opposing the rule by the ministry.

New minister of Sport and Recreation, Thokozile Xasa announced last week, through the Government Gazette that she withdrew the establishment of the committee of inquiry.

In their response, SMSA’s Jacques Grobbelaar said they welcomed the decision by then Minister of Sport, Thulas Nxesi, to call for an inquiry, but he said he was not aware of this notice from the Ministry of Sport and would not comment on it.

During a Carling Black Label Champions match between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates on July 29 2017, two fans lost their lives whilst 21 sustained injuries and The Sowetan website reports that families of the deceased were also in the dark over the developments.

According to the report, SMSA was expected to be among key witnesses before the inquiry that was to be chaired by retired Judge Ronald Pillay.

However, Grobbelaar said they are waiting for the master of the court to get back to them and that an ongoing police investigation into the July 29 disaster should take precedence over any other inquiry.

"Two investigations are happening now; the police are investigating a criminal case, which has been ongoing after the stampede and this is taking precedent over any other inquiry," Grobbelaar told The Sowetan.

"The then minister Thulas Nxesi called an inquiry and we welcomed it. The only aspect we are challenging is the timing. We can't have parallel investigations - that's the long and short of it," he said.

"We are still waiting for the master of the court to get back to us," he wrapped up.

Despite the notice to withdraw the inquiry, Xasa said her department will take it upon itself to pursue the matter with law enforcements agencies.

“The Department will take it upon itself to pursue this matter further with other law enforcement agencies and to explore other intra-governmental instruments to ensure that the matter is still fully investigated and that where necessary justice is served appropriately,” she said in a statement.