Johannesburg-Kaizer Chiefs chairman Kaizer Motaung says he will not forget the day that killed 43 football fans at Ellis Park Stadium 17 years ago.
On Wednesday 11 April 2001, at least forty-three people were killed and 250 more were injured at Ellis Park Stadium, at a football match between the two Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates.
The catastrophe unfolded 120,000 fans tried to enter the Stadium that occupy 60,000 people.
Fans interviewed after the tragedy condemned the clubs’ attitude to safety, accusing them of being more interested in tickets than safety of the spectators. The police were also blamed for not keeping order outside the stadium.
Motuang has sent condolences to the families who are still mourning for their loved ones.
“This day, 11 April, is significant and will forever be in our memories. This is a constant reminder to ensure that proper security measures are put in place at the stadiums. I will not forget this day; I get flashbacks when I remember the 43 people that died on this day. This is a heart-breaking part of our football history. He told the club website.
“Once more, I want to convey my message of sympathy to the families and friends that lost their loved ones in the disaster,” Motaung continues. “Words fail me; I still can’t believe the disaster happened. No words can describe how much I feel about it. This event was regrettable and we pay respect to the departed souls and the bereaved who had to endure this painful experience.
“The disaster taught us many things. From the disaster we learned the hard way to plan our match events thoroughly to avoid the repeat of this fateful night. I wish the families well and strength during this sad reminder.
“It is a coincidence that this time the disaster day falls within the period of mourning for the passing of Mama Winnie Mandela,” says Motaung. “This day cannot be work as usual at the Village, we will observe the day in the headquarters with the players and staff observing a moment of silence. We will amplify via various media our solidarity with the bereaved families and friends.
“On behalf of the Kaizer Chiefs Family, I wish to convey my utmost sympathy to the bereaved,” concludes a visibly distraught Motaung. “I hope with this as a constant reminder, we will continue to work hard to tighten the planning for safety at match events.
“May the souls of the departed continue to rest in the eternal peace.”