15 years ago South Africa experienced a sporting tragedy when 43 fans died and 158 sustained injuries during a Soweto Derby match between Kaizer Chiefs and Pirates on 11 April 2001.
“Fifteen years on, we look back and say never again shall we experience such a low moment in our industry. It is with this mentality that we take extra precautions in planning for all our matches,” the chairman told his club’s official website.
“The findings of the Ngoepe Commission have seen all stadiums, security service providers and the municipalities work together to protect the lives of spectators attending events countrywide.
“History loses meaning when it fails to help us learn and take precautions going forward. People always say that what happened in 1994 – a free and democratic South Africa was a miracle. I say it was not a miracle, it happened because of the mental capabilities of South Africans.
“Following the Ellis Park disaster in 2001, we are now witnessing South Africans take on another so-called miracle. Nowhere in the world will you see supporters of two rival clubs sitting together.
“However, here in South Africa our supporters continue to buck this senseless trend and out of their own initiative decided now ‘we will go to derbies and sit together’. Now people go to matches in the same car and support different teams as friends or family.
“The Ellis Park disaster for me will forever be celebrated by the wish that supporters made of their own volition to sit with each other.
“[Chiefs chairman] Kaizer Motaung and myself understand the meaning of cooperation – we compete for 90 minutes but we cooperate afterwards.”