Newlands behind on safety
Fri, 15 Aug 2014 09:56
The due date for compliance has not yet passed
Newlands Stadium in Cape Town has all but run out of time to comply with safety standards that were put in place in 2011.
Legislation was drafted in 2011 giving stadiums three years to comply with the adjusted safety stadiums after the deaths of 43 people in a stampede at Ellis Park, Johannesburg, at a match between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates in 2001.
Should Newlands fail to comply by the end of the year it would see the Stormers and Western Province homeless as the law would prevent the stadium hosting any games.
Eight Super Rugby home games, five Currie Cup home games, one Springbok Test and possible play-off matches are scheduled for the season.
There have been no comment out of Western Province Rugby on whether the stadium will be upgraded to meet the requirements of the Safety at Sports and Recreational Events Act.
Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula's spokesman Anda Bici told the Cape Times that the act applied to events attended by 2 000 or more people.
“The due date for compliance has not yet passed. The act was passed after long consultations and inputs by sports stakeholders," Mbalula said.
"It remains our commitment to assist stadiums to comply with the act, upon receipt of requests.”
In 2012, the SARU and the City of Cape Town made submissions to the national Department of Sport and Recreation, for certain regulations to be reconsidered.
Among the regulations are that stadiums:
* Be evacuated within 10 minutes if there is an emergency.
* Have physical barriers that can collapse to separate a stadium bowl and its field in emergencies.
* Have a temporary or permanent heliport.
The regulations also specify dimensions for spectators’ seats:
* The backs should be a minimum of 50cm wide and 30cm high and, going up the tiers, there should be 80cm from seatback to seatback.
Newlands, with an official capacity of 48 000 spectators, would require an upgrade to 48 turnstiles – one to every 1 000 people.
The act also requires organisers to give the SAPS six months’ notice of a match with the failure to do so allowing a commanding officer the authority to shut down a match.
SARU has made its concerns known in it's 2012 submission with their main concern being the 'logistical impossibility' of some of the requirements due to the fact that Newlands is situated in a residential area.
Additionally, Currie Cup and other minor matches would also suffer as the cost of complying would make them unviable for Western Province Rugby Union
Representatives of the Western Province Rugby Union have not responded to the enquiries out forward by the Cape Times.
There is one large White Elephant in Cape Town that many are calling Western Province Rugby to utilise - the purpose built Cape Town stadium, a relic of the 2010 Soccer World Cup.
Gareth Bloor, the mayoral committee member for tourism, events and marketing, says the R4.5 billion Cape Town Stadium is fully compliant with the act.
“The safety and security plan of every event is carefully scrutinised by a multidisciplinary team of safety and security specialists, with final approval being provided by SAPS, who are the designated approving authority in terms of this act.”
The Athlone Stadium was being upgraded to ensure compliance with the legislation, Bloor added.
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