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Metro cops slammed over Global Citizen Festival chaos

Concert organisers accuse JMPD of dereliction of duty

09 December 2018 - 00:06 By JEFF WICKS, GRAEME HOSKEN and ALEX PATRICK

Ineptitude, negligence and "dereliction of duty" by the Johannesburg metro police department (JMPD) have been blamed for the chaos and violence that followed last Sunday's Global Citizen Festival.
The JMPD's bungling - which began with officers arriving nearly seven hours late to start closing roads around FNB Stadium - could see truant officers and those who called the shots criminally charged under legislation put in place after the 2001 Ellis Park disaster in which 43 people died.
Road closures were supposed to begin at midnight on Saturday, but sources said by 9am on Sunday many JMPD officers were still not on duty, and by noon private security guards were summoned in an attempt to stabilise a "chaotic" situation.
The Sunday Times has established that a detailed traffic management plan - which had been used for earlier concerts and soccer derbies at FNB Stadium - was abandoned by JMPD officers in command.
After 58 heads of state and celebrities were safely escorted from the concert, helpless festivalgoers stranded in gridlocked traffic faced brazen attacks by criminals who "lurked like wolves" with no police in sight.
Chief superintendent Wayne Minnaar of the JMPD declined to respond in detail to the charges, saying only that they had been "escalated to parliament". The City of Johannesburg denied that officers did anything wrong.
But several sources said the failure of metro police to implement road closures and the traffic management plan was the catalyst for what went wrong. They said: Certain roads were not closed at prescribed times;
Resources were not deployed to key locations at prescribed times;
A dedicated three-lane entry and exit traffic plan on Nasrec Road was not implemented;
Critical road closures were changed, preventing buses accessing dedicated routes; and
Critical roads that had been closed were reopened prematurely. As a result, incoming traffic met the outgoing traffic and the gridlock took several hours to untangle. Concertgoers could not connect with transport operators and law enforcement officials could not adequately respond to criminal incidents.
Jacques Grobbelaar, CEO of Stadium Management SA, which runs FNB Stadium, said the JMPD had arrived late and its departure from the plan was "criminal".
The department was supposed to start closing roads at midnight, he said, but the first officers only arrived after 6am. This was confirmed by several sources, as well as by City of Johannesburg mayoral committee member for safety Michael Sun, who said the JMPD started its operations at 6am.
Grobbelaar said: "They never followed the plans and, by their inaction, placed innocent lives at risk. The plan was signed off by the relevant authorities, and once that is done you cannot deviate from it because ultimately all parties are responsible for their specific areas."..

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