Safety at Sports and Recreational Events Bill [B7-2009]: Public Hearings

Sports, Arts and Culture

17 August 2009
Chairperson: Mr B Komphela (ANC) and Ms L Chikunga (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Portfolio Committees on Sport and Recreation, and Police, sitting together, heard submissions from by the Department of Sports & Recreation South Africa (SRSA), the Private Security Industry Regulating Authority (PSIRA), the Premier Soccer League (PSL) and the 2010 FIFA Local Organising Committee (LOC) on the Safety at Sport and Recreational Events Bill (B7-2009).

SRSA provided an outline of the reasoning and working of the Bill, specifically stemming from the need to prevent disasters at sporting and recreational events. The reasoning behind the Bill stemmed from the Ellis Park soccer disaster in 2001 and the Oppenheimer Stadium Orkney soccer disaster in 1991, and recommendations from the Ngoepe Commission of Inquiry into the Ellis Park disaster had been included. The Bill was not intended to cater for the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup, but rather aimed to streamline sport and recreational event safety. It was reasonable and took a middle of the road approach. He noted that the recent vandalism at Newlands Stadium on 15 August occurred through poor planning and safety, and this could also happen at concerts or religious gatherings. Members asked whether the Bill applied to political rallies, whether the application process was not too onerous, how long obtaining a permit would take, the necessity for three metre high fences, the problems around accreditation of small business vendors, how far the Bill extended to areas surrounding stadiums and whether safety certificate inspections would apply to alterations to stadiums as well. A Member cautioned against fast-tracking, and wondered if the capacity of the South African Police Service would cope. Written comment was requested on the access routes and safety for the Port Elizabeth stadium.

The Private Security Industry Regulating Authority generally supported the Bill, and outlined its mandate. It suggested that changes to the definition of a “steward”, and asked that a representative from PSIRA should be included in the Event Security Planning Committee. Members asked how steward training would be dealt with, in which category cash-in-transit guards were placed, whether security guards were paid according to grade and why only 1 000 guards were registered as Special Events officers. The situation with the Confederations Cup in Bloemfontein was examined, and it was agreed that the Local Organising Committee and PSIRA should attempt to agree a uniform definition of “steward”, while the drafters and PSIRA would try to agree the inclusion of PSIRA in the Planning Committee.

The Premier Soccer League submitted that provisions of the Bill dealing with security concerns would be financially impossible to meet, and that the upkeep of municipal stadiums to meet the requirements of the Bill was not feasible, as desirable as it may be. The League generally supported the Bill, but claimed that there had not been consultation. The Department indicated that the PSL were invited to a workshop, but had failed to attend, and that most of the concerns had already been covered, as PSL had referred in their submission to an earlier draft of the Bill. The drafters agreed that they would discuss the issues with the PSL.

The FIFA 2010 Local Organising Committee was also not opposed to the Bill in general, but was concerned that it was not necessary to pass it prior to the 2010 World Cup, as all security measures for that event were already catered for, as it might impinge on government guarantees given concerning the framework of the 2010 Soccer World Cup. The LOC also claimed that it had not been adequately consulted. It suggested either that Parliament delay the implementation of the Bill, or include an exemption for the World Cup under Clause 2. The Department responded that the provisions around the 2010 event would not conflict with this Bill, and that it was likely that this event could be exempted. The drafters of the Bill would meet with the LOC to ensure that the 2010 event was not affected.

Meeting report

Safety at Sports and Recreational Events Bill B7-2009 ( the Bill ): Public Hearings
Department of Sport and Recreation South Africa (SRSA) Submission

Mr Gideon Boshoff, Legal Advisor, Department of Sport and Recreation, presented and read through his presentation (see attached document). He noted that  the Bill  would be introducing novel security consideration specifications for South African sports. He added that the reasoning behind  the Bill  stemmed from the Ellis Park soccer disaster in 2001 and the Oppenheimer Stadium Orkney soccer disaster in 1991. Mr Boshoff stated that as South Africa was becoming a desirable sports destination,  the Bill  was not introduced to cater for the 2010 Soccer World Cup, although it would in fact enhance it, but would generally streamline sport and recreational event safety. The Bill was cross referenced with other legislation. Mr Boshoff added that  the Bill was reasonable, took a “middle of the road” approach and as such did not impinge upon any constitutional rights.

With reference to the Premier Soccer League (PSL) Kaizer Chiefs and Ajax soccer match vandalism incident at Newlands Stadium on 15 August 2009, Mr Boshoff stated that incidents such as this were due to poor planning and safety. He added that similar incidents did not happen solely at sporting events, but at concerts and religious gatherings as well. Mr Boshoff stated that findings of the Ngoepe Commission of Inquiry into the Ellis Park soccer disaster were all incorporated into the Bill.

Mr Boshoff then provided definitions of key tenets of the Bill (see attached presentation for details). He added that there might be a need to reconsider the categorisation of events from under the auspices of the Minister of Sport and Recreation to the Minister of Police.

Mr B Holomisa (UDM) asked whether this Bill applied to political rallies.

The Chairperson replied that as soon as a political party had a festival the Bill became applicable, but that otherwise the rally would fall under the Police Act.

Mr G MacKenzie (COPE) asked whether the applications would not be too onerous, and asked how long it would take to get a permit for an event. He also questioned whether a three metre high perimeter fence was necessary for low risk events.

Mr Patrick Ronan, Specialist Technical Advisor, SRSA, replied that the three metre high fence component did not form part of the Bill, but may form part of the regulations. He added that however this was incorporated, the three meter stipulation would not apply to low risk events.

Mr Holomisa stated that if South Africa had first world infrastructure, then this legislation would succeed, but that he did not think that it would work in South Africa as it was at the moment. He added that he did not think that Small, Micro and Medium Enterprise (SMME) vendors, who obtained their living mainly from selling goods at soccer matches, would be accredited within the boundaries of the stadiums. Mr Holomisa asked whether the Bill talked to the safety or insurance of those out of the exclusion zone of an event, and whether FIFA’s objection to the Bill was reasonable.

Mr Ronan replied that the definition of a stadium in the legislation incorporated the surrounding area and that it followed the FIFA contractual platform. He added that with regard to FIFA’s objections a written response had been received, and he did not believe that FIFA’s concerns were warranted or correct.

Mr Bertus (JA) van der Walt, Director: Legal Support, South African Police Services, stated that only at high-risk events would vendors be excluded, due to safety and access concerns.

Ms D Schafer (DA) stated that there were provisions for safety certificate inspections for planned alterations to stadiums, but that there should also be provision for safety certificate inspections after alterations. She added that there should be a stipulated time provision for the appeal process for event categorisation. She also asked, with reference to public liability insurance, what would happen in the case where local government or government organised an event, as in essence municipalities or government would then be regulating themselves.

Mr Ronan replied that the appeal process currently only related to the National Commissioner of the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the Minister for Sport and Recreation (the Minister), and that consideration was being given to not including the Minister. He added that timeframes for the process were stipulated in the Bill. Mr Ronan stated that safety certificates were issued after an annual process and grading, and that a stadium would need to resubmit to this process after any alterations, as the alterations would be subject to approval from a registered structural engineer. He added that municipalities would be subject to the same criteria as any event organiser, and that they would be subject to public liability insurance provisions.

Mr van der Walt added that the drafters would need to ”clean up” the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) issues, with regard to insurance for municipalities.

Mr L Suka (ANC) was concerned that the provisions of the Bill would overstretch the capacity of SAPS and have financial implications. He added that the Bill should not be fast tracked, but that full consultation was needed. Mr Suka added that there was a need to assist disadvantaged communities in a developmental state, as they lacked services such as metro police.

Mr Ronan replied that the Bill had gone through a lengthy drafting process and had already been streamlined significantly, in the clauses dealing with responsibility, risk profiling of events, annual scheduling of events and integrated security planning. He added that these did not cost very much as they were common sense considerations, which the SAPS had already been attending to. He added that the problem was consistency, and that this Bill would redress this issue. Mr Ronan added that with regard to minimum safety requirements, measures such as the Venue Operational Command (VOC) were not applicable to low risk events, and that primary focus of  the Bill was high risk events.

Mr van der Walt confirmed that the Bill merely formalised what SAPS had been doing all along and that there was already capacity in terms of knowledge and experience, along with a budget. He added that at medium risk events there was normally a mobile VOC to co-ordinate safety measures at stadiums.

Mr Holomisa asked for comment on the situation around access routes and safety with the Port Elizabeth 2010 stadium.

Mr Ronan replied that he would provide Mr Holomisa with written comment on the matter.

Mr van der Walt added that with regards to access to the stadium in Port Elizabeth, the Bill covered provisions for traffic free zones.

The Chairperson asked whether this meant that vendors would be excluded from selling their wares at high risk events, and whether FIFA had a dispensation to allow poor vendors to sell their wares at World Cup games.

Mr van der Walt replied that at FIFA games, the previously disadvantaged (PDI) vendors were being drawn into the fold by being accredited. He added that when the presenters were talking abut high risk events; they were concerned about vendors blocking access and egress routes.

Mr T Lee (DA) stated that not only the stadium, but the surrounding areas also needed to be safe.

Mr van der Walt replied that Clauses 19 to 21 would allow the organisers to channel spectators away from events in an orderly fashion.

Private Security Industry Regulating Authority (PSIRA) submission
Mr Benjamin Ntuli, Minister’s Omnipotentiary, Minister of Police Intervention Task Team, PSIRA, stated that the objective of PSIRA with regard to this Bill was to ensure that all private security companies and their use of certain equipment complied with the regulations of the country. He added that PSIRA covered the private security industry and that it needed to ensure that security companies were accredited and that their employees were accredited to use security equipment, such as firearms.

Mr Stefan Badenhorst, Manager: National Investigation Team & Training Department, PSIRA, provided an overview of PSIRA (see attached document for details). He explained that PSIRA was a statutory body and organ of State. Mr Badenhorst outlined the statutory requirements in terms of the Private Security Regulation Act (PSRA) and regulations, as far as event security was concerned, in line with PSIRA’s mandated responsibility to regulate the private security industry, specifically the registration and accreditation of security personnel and companies.

Mr Badenhorst then outlined the comments and proposed amendments suggested by PSIRA on the Bill, as explained more fully in the attached document. Mr Badenhorst stated that under Clause 1, the current definition of a steward, which referred to “a person appointed in terms of Section 3(4) (b)” should be changed to read “a security officer as defined in Section 1 of the Private Security Regulation Act, 2001 (Act No. 56 of 2001) and a person appointed in terms of Section 3(4)(b).”

He added that under Clause 16(3), a representative from PSIRA should be included in the event security planning committee.

Mr Ntuli added that there should be a move away from operating in silos, and that there was a need rather for plans to allow for adequate deployment. He added that there needed to be an emphasis on human security as well, from the security professionals. Mr Ntuli said that PSIRA, Department of Home Affairs and the National Intelligence Agency were sharing information in order to track every security professional.

Mr V Magagula (ANC) stated that the concept of a “steward” was recently introduced and asked how steward training would be dealt with before the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

Mr Badenhorst replied that in regard to stewards PSIRA wanted to provide adequate information on using legitimate services, and he added that PSIRA had asked the 2010 FIFA Local Organising Committee (LOC) for information. He added that if a steward provided crowd control then he or she fell under the scope of a security officer, and therefore needed to be registered, as he or she performed security functions.

Ms P Mocumi (ANC) asked in which category cash in transit guards were placed, in terms of the categorisation set out on page 13 of the presentation document.

Ms A Molebatsi (ANC) asked whether security guards were being paid according to grade. She asked for clarity whether PSIRA was saying that 1 000 security guards had been registered as Special Events officers.

Mr Badenhorst stated that PSIRA did not determine employment terms, but that the Department of Labour and a Bargaining Forum did this. He added that PSIRA determined the level of training standards. He stated that the PSIRA database indicated that only 1 000 guards were registered for Special Events, and as such it was clear that major contraventions were occurring.

The Chairperson asked whether, during the Confederations Cup in Bloemfontein, the security guards met PSIRA’s requirements.

Mr Badenhorst replied that in Bloemfontein PSIRA had requested the information in advance but had not received it in time and that this was currently the subject of an investigation. He added that PSIRA did need the information in advance and that was why it was motivating for being part of the event planning committee.

The Chairperson asked Mr Ronan whether it would be difficult to include PSIRA in the event planning committee process.

Mr Ronan replied that the Bill currently allowed the SAPS in command to co-opt anyone deemed necessary. He added that there would need to be a mechanism to involve PSIRA, but that in principle the request was sound.

The Chairperson stated that a working relationship with PSIRA should solve the issue of vetting and training of security officers.

The Chairperson asked where, under the PSRA, car guards were noted.

Mr Badenhorst replied that the definition of security services included them.

The Chairperson asked, with reference to page 19 of the presentation document, whether PSIRA and the 2010 FIFA Local Organising Committee (LOC) could discuss and agree on a uniform definition of the term “steward” in the legislation.

The Chairperson also wanted to know what the reference in the document to “a new authority” meant.

Mr Badenhorst replied that the PSIRA did not want ‘stewards’ to fall under the auspices of the Department of Sports & Recreation.

Mr van der Walt stated that from SAPS side it was very important to distinguish between stewards and security providers.

Mr Badenhorst added that the term was borrowed from the United Kingdom (UK), but that even so these people were considered as security officers.

Mr Ronan thanked PSIRA for engaging with the Bill. He added that the difficulties around the stewards arose from the blurring of the lines that allowed unscrupulous security businesses to avoid registering de facto security officers by calling them stewards instead. Mr Ronan added that the Bill did make reference to the PSIRA legislation, and that the drafters would ensure that PSIRA was happy with the final version. He assured the Chairperson that no new authority would be created. The drafters largely agreed with their submission.

Premier Soccer League (PSL) submission
Mr Zola Majavu, Legal Advisor, Premier Soccer League, stated that the Premier Soccer League (PSL) had gone into great detail and had cross referenced the first version of  the Bill with the latest version. He added that feedback had not been received, but welcomed the opportunity to present the submissions to the Committee.

Mr Majavu stated that the PSL would support government initiatives with regard to safety, where possible. It did support the principles of  the Bill and were in agreement with government, but had some doubts about some of the prohibitions, which may become problematic.

Mr Majavu stated that the PSL had practised the points raised by the Bill for the past eight years, but that despite this the incident at Newlands Stadium incident occurred. He added that municipalities owned all but two of the stadiums relating to the 32 members of the PSL, and that there was a serious challenge in terms of these stadiums’ state of repair. PSL did not own the stadiums and there were problems, regardless of who did own them, in the affordability of renovation. PSL were not being obstructive, but pointing out that there were infrastructural problems.

With regard to the scheduled notification of fixtures six months in advance, he added that the PSL was not opposed to notification, but that the time period was not feasible. 

Although PSL agreed that the intentions and majority of the Bill were laudable, the issues he had outlined would mean that costs would outweigh ticket takings, rendering the PSL unfeasible economically. With regards to security and safety measures, Mr Majavu reiterated that even in the case of the Newlands Stadium, Kaizer Chiefs and Ajax match, where these provisions were in place, an incident had still occurred.

Mr M George (COPE) asked whether comprehensive consultation with stakeholders was not done, and why the issues raised by the PSL were not taken into consideration.

Mr Suka stated that Mr Majavu was advising the Committee to consult extensively. He noted that there was a submission from FIFA that asked the Committee not to pass  the Bill before the 2010 World Cup.

Mr Majavu replied that he did not know how to answer this question, other than to say that those who were meant to consult did not. He added that the PSL’s national safety officer was working closely with the Department on an informal basis. He added that the sooner the legislation was in place, the better, but that there was no need to rush the process.

Mr Boshoff replied that when the Department had embarked on the drafting process it had conducted workshops, and took into account the Ngoepe Commission’s recommendations. He added that the Department had invited the PSL, but that the PSL had not attended. Mr Boshoff referred Members to the attachment to the draft Bill, which showed that comprehensive consultation had occurred. He added that the consultation alluded to, with the PSL National Security Advisor, did not happen. Mr Boshoff stated that the Bill incorporated the main thrust of submissions made on earlier drafts of the Bill and that the drafters had in fact incorporated the PSL’s 2007 submissions. He added that most of the issues seemed to stem from the PSL using an older version of the draft Bill, but that now the parties actually were on common ground. He added that the drafters and PSL together would iron out the minor issues.

Mr Ronan thanked the PSL for positive comments. He added that there was already provision in the Bill for short notice events and knock out tournaments.

Mr Ronan stated that the point was well made about municipal stadiums, but that municipalities were not exempt from the Bill and that as a result of the 2010 World Cup 30 stadiums were being improved. He stated that the Department acknowledged the PSL’s safety measures, but that these were not consistent in their application.

Mr van der Walt stated that there was a great deal of input around municipal stadiums, but that medium and high risk games would not be occurring at these stadiums anyway. He added that the SAPS needed a schedule of fixtures to allow for resource planning.

Mr Majavu stated that PSL would participate to whatever extent they could to ensure a practical Bill.

2010 FIFA Local Organising Committee (LOC) submission
Adv Leslie Sedibe, Head of Legal matters, Local Organising Committee, tabled and read through the LOC’s presentation, outlining the statistics of the 2010 World Cup Soccer event and the Project’s strategic timeframes. He stated that the LOC was currently in the operational phase, with less than 300 days to go. He added that above the FIFA requirements the LOC was looking at legacy requirements, which would talk to the issue of social change. Mr Sedibe mentioned that Government had given the guarantees requested by FIFA and that Government’s commitment to these guarantees had been put in a declaration. He added that the 2010 World Cup had accelerated infrastructure development. Mr Sedibe stated that there would be approximately three million seats available, and that although last minute tickets would be sold, these would not be available near venues, in order to prevent security and safety issues.

Mr Sedibe stated that the FIFA LOC welcomed the Bill, subject to appropriate amendments. He stated that in light of the contractual framework, there was enough that had been done to allow South Africa to deliver this event. Mr Sedibe reiterated that Parliament needed to be mindful of what Government had agreed to in its guarantees to FIFA, and that Parliament, when enacting this Bill also needed to be mindful of how the Bill would impact on the 2010 World Cup. He reiterated that there was already a sufficient safety framework for the 2010 World Cup.

Mr Sedibe stated that the legislation was long overdue, but, like the PSL, the LOC had not been engaged in any workshop. He reiterated that because there was already a contractual framework for the World Cup, he felt that Parliament should either delay the implementation of the Bill until after the World Cup, or include an exemption under Clause 2 excluding the World Cup from the ambit of the legislation.

Mr Suka asked what would be the rand price of tickets, as the presentation showed prices in US dollars.

Mr Suka appreciated the frankness of the LOC and stated that the issue raised around the impact of the Bill on the World Cup was valid. He asked the drafters to comment.

Mr George stated that Mr Boshoff’s reply had clearly indicated that there had been no consultation. He asked whether there was nothing that could be done to redress FIFA’s contractual conflict issues besides delaying the passing of the Bill.

Mr Boshoff replied that inputs had been received, and that he could provide proof, by way of correspondence, that the drafters had tried to interact with the PSL.

Mr Lee stated that the Bill could not be delayed and that he felt that exemption was a better solution.

Mr Boshoff stated that the provisions around the 2010 Soccer World Cup would not cause any conflict with the Bill, and pointed out that the 2010 legislation was drafted for a specific purpose. He added that exemption tied closely in with the 2010 legislation, and that if it was felt that there was an issue, FIFA could probably be exempted, after further interrogation of the issue.

Mr van der Walt confirmed that the two Acts around the 2010 World Cup were specially enacted for that event, and that the general provisions of this Bill would not override the provision of the Special Measures Act.

Mr Ronan added that the regulations would have to be drafted to ensure that there was no conflict.

Adv Sedibe added that he was reasonably comfortable with the provisions on the prohibition of resale of tickets, and pointed out that reproduction of tickets was pure criminality and could not be tolerated. He added that ticket prices were fixed in rands at a forex rate of one dollar to seven rand, which was more favourable than the current foreign exchange rate.

Mr Mlungisi Ncame, Divisional Manager: Security, LOC, stated that it was clear that the LOC needed to engage with the SAPS legal services. He added that the LOC had held meetings with the SAPS and Metro Police to determine who performed which function, including security officers. He added that they agreed on security measure backup. Mr Ncame stated that the LOC had also met with PSIRA to discuss training and registration of stewards.

The Chairperson questioned whether there was any clause in the Bill that stated that it also applied to the 2010 World Cup. He reiterated the previous advice that the timing of this Bill as overlapping with the World Cup event was a coincidence, and that the 2010 World Cup Special Measures legislation covered the 2010 World Cup, so that there was no problem there. However, he reiterated that this Bill was intended to cover the long term, that it recognised all guarantees and had nothing to do with the organisation of the 2010 World Cup.

Adv Sedibe asked whether the drafters could harmonise the legislation so that it fitted together.

The Chairperson stated that the drafters of the Bill should meet with the LOC and make sure that the latter were not affected.

The meeting was adjourned.


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