Police Minister Bheki Cele says 15 suspects have been arrested so far for various crimes that took place around the Global Citizen concert in Gauteng.
The Minister said this when he briefed the media in Cape Town on Wednesday.
“…I want to reiterate that it must also be acknowledged that the challenges experienced after the concert, collectively as government, event organisers, all stakeholders and society at large must take responsibility.
“Those who had become victims of such criminality are encouraged to report to their nearest police station. Cases that have been reported since the 3rd of December are 50 thus far, of which five are in court. Fifteen suspects have been arrested for various crimes committed,” Cele said.
The Minister said this following reports via social media from concert goers, who related their horrific criminal experiences when they were stranded at the Sasol garage near the FNB stadium as they left the concert.
Hundreds of people told of how, after they went to the Sasol garage with the aim of calling taxis to go home, were attacked by thugs who robbed them of their cellphones and other possessions.
Briefing journalists, Cele said out of the 15 suspects, six were arrested for incidents that took place after the concert for charges ranging from common assault and theft.
Minister sets the record straight on police visibility
Cele said while the point of his media briefing was not to point fingers, as per the Event Safety and Security Planning Committee, all protocols were followed and adhered to with an aim of ensuring the successful delivery of the concert, with the exception of what occurred at Sasol garage, which was unforeseen.
“Our planning was not extended to the Sasol garage, which is located plus or minus three kilometers away from the stadium. However, unforeseen circumstances like failure of traffic management and congestion of mobile network pushed fans/people to the garage, which resulted in a chaotic situation,” he said.
He said the ministry has been monitoring social and mainstream media platforms and have seen reports of people relating their traumatic experiences.
“What we have up to this point is that one person received medical attention for shock and minor injuries after being bumped by a bus. We have also noticed people saying that ‘there were no police’ to be seen in and around the Sasol garage.
“We dispute the narrative that no police members were on site. I have in my possession a video clip, which was sent to me, showing a Booysens police van in the midst of the stranded crowds,” Cele said.
He said SA Police Service is the main stakeholder as far as the prevention of crime is concerned.
“We concede that inadequacy and the lack of prompt response of the police may have exacerbated the situation and presented an opportunity for criminal activities.”
Cele said police are committed to ensure that future incidents of this nature will be attended to with utmost efficiency to avoid a repetition of what transpired in the early hours of Sunday morning.
“[Let me express] my sincere sympathy to festival guests who suffered trauma, loss and injuries during that period in question. Those incidents, some of which have been reported to the police, should not have happened.
“We condemn such incidents in the strongest possible terms and those found to have perpetrated the crimes will be tracked down and, together with those in police custody, they shall face the full might of the law.” – SAnews.gov.za