Govt approve return of fans to stadiums

The fans will be allowed back at the stadium, for the first time in 18-months, since the Covid-19 outbreak in March last year. Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Gazetted this permission to host spectators who have been on the sidelines for months.

“Sporting events, including both professional and non-professional matches, by the recognised sporting bodies are allowed, subject to a strict adherence to the times of operation as provided for in regulation 66 (3) and the following,” Dlamini-Zuma wrote in the Government Gazette, which was passed on Monday.

It carries on: “Spectators at the venue of the sports events are permitted but limited to 750 persons or less for indoor venues and 2000 persons or less for outdoor venues and if the venue is too small to hold the prescribed number of persons observing a distance of at least one and a half metres from other, then not more than 50 percent of the capacity of the venue may be used, subject to strict adherence to all health protocols and social distancing measures.

“An owner or manager of a sporting facility or an organiser of a sporting event referred to in sub-regulation (10) who fails to comply with sub-regulation (11), commits an offense and is, on conviction, liable to a fine or imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or to both such fine and imprisonment.”

However, Dlamini-Zuma warned the South African Football Association (Safa) that if they flout regulations in adhering in the World Cup qualifier on Tuesday, there will be strong repercussions.

Bafana Bafana will on Tuesday host Ethiopia in their 2022 Fifa Qatar World Cup qualifier at the 90 000-seater, where they would be hoping to stretch their seven points at the top, and increase the one point lead between themselves and Ghana.

Safa, after last month’s first two matches against Zimbabwe and Ghana, said they will speak to the government to have 2 000 fans to attend the match for free against Ethiopia, provided that they have vaccinated and present proof.

While Safa had a meeting with Health Minister, Joe Phaahla, last week, they were yet to agree with Sports Minister and Dlamini-Zuma over the weekend until Monday.

Country’s deputy president David Mabuza, in the mobilisation vaccination drive on Friday in Durban, said if fans can be allowed to the stadium now it will reigniting the increase in coronavirus infections.

Mthethwa was also unsure if fans will attend the matches, saying they are yet to agree with other stakeholders.

But now Dlamini-Zuma, who has been at the forefront for the entertainment sector since Covid-19 outbreak, has approved Safa’s request but it has conditions in line with the Government Gazette released under Section 3 of the Disaster Management Act 2002.


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