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Sara slams lack of regulation in South Africa

The South African Roadies Association (Sara) has hit out at the loose regulations governing live events production in South Africa, as it emerged no one has been held responsible for the death of a rigger over two years ago at the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100.

Speaking to the Weekly SA Mirror of 4 June, Freddie Nyathela, president of Sara, describes the sector as a “free for all”, blaming the Department of Employment and Labour for dragging its feet on a proposed new framework for the technical events production and production services industry.

Lack of transformation in the industry is ultimately responsible for the death of Siyabonga Ngodze, the 36-year-old who suffered fatal injuries after falling in the set-up for the Mandela 100 event, which featured performances from Beyoncé, Jay-Z and Ed Sheeran.

Though Ngodze’s mother has received compensation from his employer, production company Gearhouse SA, and the Department of Employment and Labour (R39,000 [US$2,900] and R35,000 [$2,600], respectively), Thembekile Ngonze says she has yet to see justice for her “beloved son”.

“I cannot understand why it is taking so long to have someone prosecuted”

“I cannot understand why it is taking so long to have someone prosecuted for the death of my son”, says the 56-year-old.

According to the Weekly SA Mirror, progress in resolving the case has been delayed by successive lockdowns in South Africa. However, a Department of Employment and Labour investigation found that Gearhouse SA had failed to comply with the provisions of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

In addition to the death of Ngodze, the Mandela 100 event, held to celebrate the 100th birthday of the late Nelson Mandela, was also marred by reports of widespread lootings and assaults, blamed by the venue, FNB Stadium, on the lack of police presence.

The concert raised billions of dollars for education, HIV prevention and anti-poverty initiatives in Africa.

 


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Rigger dies amid turbulent Global Citizen: Mandela 100

A rigger who lost his life setting up Sunday’s Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 in Johannesburg has been named as Siyabonga Ngodze.

Ngodze, an experienced rigger who formed part of the charity concert’s production team, plummeted to his death on Saturday 1 December. He was helping to set up the stage for the mega-event, hosted by South African comedian Trevor Noah and headlined by Beyoncé and Jay-Z, at FNB Stadium (94,736-cap.) in the Soweto township.

Global Citizen spokesperson Andrew Kirk says the festival is looking into the circumstances surrounding Ngodze’s death. “A rigger working on behalf of a production partner for the Global Citizen Festival suffered fatal injuries arising from a fall at the site,” he tells South Africa’s Sunday Times.

“Global Citizen has been advised that the deceased was an experienced rigger and was wearing all appropriate safety gear and equipment. The circumstances around his death are being investigated.

“Global Citizen extends our deepest sympathies to the family of the deceased and all of his colleagues and friends.”

The free-ticketed Mandela 100 event – which also featured performances by Ed Sheeran, Eddie Vedder, Pharrell Williams and Chris Martin, Wizkid, Usher, Femi Kuti and Cassper Nyovest – aimed to celebrate the centenary of the birth of Nelson Mandela, the late Marxist revolutionary and former South African president, and continue his fight against extreme poverty.

“Global Citizen extends our deepest sympathies to the family of the deceased”

Current South African president Cyril Ramaphosa used the festival to pledge significant commitments towards education (R60 billion/US$4.4bn and youth projects (R2bn/$147.5m).

“Nelson Mandela has taught us that it is not the influential, the rich or the powerful who make history, but those citizens who are determined to make a difference,” he said.

Actions taken by ‘Global Citizens’ in the run-up to the event are additionally worth nearly R100bn ($7bn), according to the Global Poverty Project, the organisation behind Global Citizen.

Despite the positive economic impact, the Mandela 100 event was also marred by reports of violent assaults and thefts on concertgoers exiting the stadium. “The criminals were basically having a field day,” said Zikhona Tshona, a reporter for the South African news outlet eNCA, the Associated Press reports.

Jacques Grobbelaar of the venue’s operator, Stadium Management, blames the muggings on the lack of police presence, saying while security was tight when the festival kicked off, it thinned out as the evening wore on.

“What we saw happen last night in the precinct is a direct result of the lack of resources in the parking areas, on roads in, near and adjacent to the stadium and the road functions,” he tells Eyewitness News, “which in terms of the planning, were meant to be executed by the JMPD [Johannesburg Metro Police Department] and the South African Police Service.”

 


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