The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) condemns the violent behaviour of the soccer fans that vandalised a stadium and injured scores of people, including two photographers during a Sundowns and Orlando Pirates match at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria on Saturday 11 February.
Angry Orlando Pirates fans invaded the pitch, tampered with TV cables thereby interrupting the live broadcast of the match in which their team conceded six goals without a response.
One of the photographers, the Daily Sun’s Themba Makofane, said he was hit in the foot with a blunt object during a commotion that erupted after Sundown scored its sixth goal. He was taking photographs of fans that were ripping plastic stadium seats from the stands to hurl them on to the field.
He turned back and realised another group was trying to snatch his wallet, which had R400, and a spare camera from his bag. He pleaded for their mercy and they gave his belongings back.
Another photographer, BackpagePix’s Sydney Mahlangu, was not so lucky. His laptop, which he used to download, edit and transmit images from the stadium, was stolen. He was also struck with one of the metal objects the raging fans pulled from the advertising billboards surrounding the field.
“The situation was so scary, the police started running for cover like the rest of us,” said Makofane.
Sanef condemns this behaviour and calls on both the police and the sporting authorities to make sure the perpetrators are brought to book. Such thuggish behaviour needs to be eliminated from our sport so that the safety of the football-loving community is guaranteed and that journalists can at all times operate without fear and intimidation.
Reggy Moalusi, Sanef Secretary General, 071 682 3695
Sam Mkokeli, Sanef Media Freedom Sub Committee Chairperson, 082 084 2051