POLL | Should spectators be allowed back at stadiums?

10 January 2022 - 12:43
By Cebelihle Bhengu
EFF leader Julius Malema called on the government to allow spectators back at stadiums.
Image: ANTONIO MUCHAVE EFF leader Julius Malema called on the government to allow spectators back at stadiums.

EFF leader Julius Malema has called for spectators to be allowed to attend events at stadiums, sparking fresh debate. 

Addressing party supporters during the EFF's Siyabonga rally in eThekwini at the weekend, Malema said lifting the restrictions on gatherings would help alleviate unemployment, particularly in the entertainment sector, which has been hardest hit by the restrictions.

“We want the entertainment industry to open. We want our people to be entertained. We are unemployed. We don’t have money to go to school, pay rent, to buy houses. We need to entertain ourselves from our own poverty,” said Malema.

Under alert level 1, gatherings are limited to no more than 1,000 people indoors and no more than 2,000 outdoors. 

Malema called on the Premier Soccer League (PSL) to address the issue of spectators at stadiums and challenge the lockdown restrictions.

“We call on the leadership of the PSL to stop being scared and being cowardice (sic) and challenge this government. 

“Why is the PSL silent when political parties are meeting in soccer stadiums, yet soccer clubs are not allowed to meet in stadiums? That is absolute nonsense. It is not science.

“We want our soccer back, we want our entertainment back, we want our festivals back, we want our economy opened for all of us, for the youth of KwaZulu-Natal to get jobs back,” said Malema. 

Limited numbers of spectators were allowed to watch Bafana Bafana’s World Cup qualifiers towards the end of last year, but there has been little interest from PSL clubs to open stadiums to supporters.

Club officials surveyed by TimesLIVE said it was not economically viable for clubs to allow restricted numbers into stadiums. This is because of the extra security and staff needed to the check vaccination status of spectators and ensure there are no more than 2,000 at a venue.

Most SA clubs do not consistently make sufficent money from gate takings because of poor attendance.