Police could have responded better to Global Citizen Fest crimes - Cele

Police Minister Bheki Cele has, however, denied that security was inadequate or that police were not visible.

Minister of Police, Bheki Cele addressed the media on security detail and police deployment at the FNB Stadium during the Global Citizen Festival. Picture: Cindy Archillies/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Police Minister Bheki Cele has conceded that the South African Police Service (SAPS) could have responded better to the crime and security challenges at the Global Citizen Festival at the FNB Stadium on Sunday night.

But he’s denied that security was inadequate or that police were not visible.

Cele responded to the furore over safety at the event in Parliament on Wednesday, saying police conducted thorough sweeps in and around the stadium until the early hours of Monday morning.

Concert goers sought refuge at a Sasol garage some three kilometres away from the FNB Stadium while waiting for transport to take them home.

But they weren’t safe there either and became targets of assault and robbery.

Cele says while the garage was not factored into the event’s security plan, the police can never shirk the responsibility for keeping people safe no matter where they are.

“That’s why when we are crying to say we could have better responded and promptly so. But to say there is an area that there's no responsibility for SAPS to police the area, that cannot be so.”

The minister says while police could have responded better to crime around the stadium on Sunday night, the arrests prove that police were doing their job.

Cele says rather than apportion blame for the security lapses after the concert, the SAPS should treat what he's termed as unforeseen circumstances as a learning experience to protect stadium attendees in future.

“It doesn’t mean that policing there was adequate, it wasn’t adequate and the prompt response could have been better.”

Fifty complaints have been laid with police, while five cases have already come before the court.

Six more people are in police custody for related crimes.

Cele says this shows that police were visible and doing their job in the early hours of Monday morning.

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)