The Gauteng police have clarified that there was no bomb threat at Loftus Stadium in Pretoria during the African Football League final between Mamelodi Sundowns and Wydad Casablanca, after a viral video saw a man being escorted out of the stadium by police.
THE GAUTENG police have clarified that there was no bomb threat at Loftus Stadium in Pretoria during the African Football League final between Mamelodi Sundowns and Wydad Casablanca, after a viral video saw a man being escorted out of the stadium by police.
A video of a person who claimed to be a foreign national went viral moments after the Pretoria club lifted the inaugural AFL cup, bagging a whopping $4 million (R74 million).
In the video, the man was seen being whisked away by uniformed police officers, while circulating voice notes expressed anti-foreigner sentiment, saying “take him away” and “these people want to kill us; we are not safe; they want to bomb us”.
The AFL final was attended by a sold-out crowd, including Caf president Patrice Motsepe and Fifa president Gianni Infantino among the high-profile delegates.
Gauteng police spokesperson Colonel Dimakatso Nevhuhulwi confirmed it was a misunderstanding and said the person who had been taken away by police officers was a service provider.
“The person is a service provider contracted to supply and display pyrotechnics at the end of the game. He had accreditation and a permit, which were verified by the explosive unit,” said Nevhuhulwi.
In a detailed operation report of the incident, which was signed by a lieutenant-colonel, the police explained that a Stage Effects Permit was issued for pyrotechnician MM Charles.
It said the pyrotechnician was given access to the stadium and proceeded to the selected site to set up his display.
“Spectators of the event who noticed the pyrotechnician setting up misunderstood what was happening and alleged that the pyrotechnician was setting up an explosive device (a bomb).
“They reported to the SAPS members at the venue, who approached the pyrotechnician and removed him from the venue,” the report said.
The report also confirmed an inspector from the SAPS Explosives unit in Pretoria arrived at the scene, and they later allowed the pyrotechnician to re-enter the stadium and complete his work as he had a valid permit.
“The pyrotechnician was then allowed back into the venue to continue with his stage effects display. The Inspector of Explosives reported again to the VOC Commander after the display was completed.
“It was thereafter established that videos and photos of the incident went viral on social media.
“The said pyrotechnician was previously issued with SEPs to conduct such similar stage effects at the same venue and had not experienced any problems.
“There were no non-compliances during the inspection by the Inspector of Explosives.
“The misunderstanding was as a result of the spectators being ignorant to the processes and set-up of stage effects and the pyrotechnic charges used and did not understand what was going on,” it said.
Sundowns were crowned AFL champions after winning 2-0 in Pretoria and 3-2 on aggregate.