EFF leader Julius Malema has given the ANC government a deadline of until next week to allow spectators back into stadiums.
Malema joined around 2 000 protestors outside the Department of Sports and Recreation in Tshwane on Thursday to demand the return of fans to stadiums to attend live sporting events.
Frustrated local fans have been prohibited from attending live matches at stadiums around Mzansi for nearly two years due to Covid-19 safety measures.
“So EFF fighters let’s not get tired we are here today to demand that if stadiums are not reopened in a week, we are going to the SAFA offices.
“We are going to try to find our way to the FNB Stadium and sleep inside the stadium and wake up tomorrow and tell them we are still alive,” Julius Malema threatened while addressing those in attendance.
The trade union South African Football Players Union (SAFPU) which represents footballers in South Africa joined Malema at the picket.
“SAFPU will unite in the picket hosted by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and pledge our support in getting the gates of stadia across the country open, pleading for the support the players need and making a way for fans to enjoy the game they love, not off a screen but in person.”
“The status of locked doors and keeping fans at bay needs to be done away with. It is time to allow the fans back and with that the regeneration of small informal businesses that have lost valuable income during the dark months of lockdown. These very businesses kept their families afloat and benefitted very little from the resource that there was to apply for redemption,” stated SAFPU Secretary General Nhlanhla Shabalala.
“In the name of football, let the fans support their teams fully in outdoor stadia that are big enough to social distance and keep safe, the FNB Stadium is about 90 thousand seater venue. Allow fans back, not to capacity but enough so that the stands are filled in the safest possible number, which exceeds the current provision of 2000 people allowed. Outdoor venues should not pose a problem,” Shabalala explained.
Will fans be finally allowed to return in time for the next Soweto derby on 5 March?