Kaizer Motaung welcomes tough punishment handed to hooligans
Kaizer Motaung has welcomed the punishment handed out to some of the hooligans who were responsible for the violent scenes that erupted at Moses Mabhida Stadium after a Nedbank Cup semifinal match between his club Kaizer Chiefs and Free State Stars last year.
Incensed Chiefs fans stormed the field‚ assaulted security stewards and rival fans‚ started fires and destroyed chairs after Stars had the temerity to beat the Naturena club 2-0 in the semifinal encounter.
A South African Police Service (SAPS) Inyala armoured vehicle drove onto the pitch and officers had to use teargas and stun grenades to disperse an angry mob that had proceeded to wilfully destroy SuperSport and SABC television equipment.
The fans ran riot without a care in the world‚ and the outnumbered police and security personnel initially struggled to keep them at bay.
After the dust had settled‚ the stadium was reminiscent of a battleground and Durban city officials were left counting the cost of the damage to the 2010 World Cup venue.
Nine people were found guilty of public violence and appeared at the Durban Regional Court for sentencing last month.
“We truly welcome the sentencing of the nine people who were responsible for the injuries to security marshals and damages to property amounting to millions of rands‚" said Motaung.
“We hope this punishment sends a very strong message to all those fans who believe violence is the only answer when results don’t go their way.”
One of the hooligans‚ Khwezilomo Madiba‚ was handed a three-year jail sentence while the other eight co-accused received suspended sentences.
The reason for a harsher sanction for Madiba was due to the fact that he had been found guilty of a similar offence previously.
"I am of the view that his case should be dealt with differently as far as sentencing is concerned.
"I think a three-year imprisonment is an appropriate sentence‚" Magistrate Sam Luthuli said during sentencing.
The eight who received suspended sentences are: Siphosenkosi Knowledge Memela‚ John Sibongiseni Khumalo‚ Cebolendoda Hadebe‚ Douglas Mhlaliseni Mkhize‚ Nolwethu Cokotha‚ Zibongile Njova‚ Sihle Duncan Zungu and Dennis Thusi.
They were also given 16 hours of community service and instructed to attend anger management programmes.
Motaung said stadiums should be family friendly.
He warned that similar "barbaric acts" witnessed in Durban should never be tolerated.
"Stadiums are and should always be child-and-woman-friendly environments‚" he said.
"Families must be able to attend games with no worries of experiencing any violence.
"Barbaric acts of the senseless violence we witnessed in Durban last year endanger the lives of innocent people and cannot be tolerated under any circumstances.
"We once again call on those people involved in the deplorable acts and claim to be football supporters to stop this hooliganism as it takes the game and our society backwards.
"We also urge law enforcement agencies to deal with the perpetrators."