Moses Mabhida Stadium vandals await sentencing

Violent scenes at Moses Mabhida Stadium Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Nine individuals found guilty of public violence for their actions following the Nedbank Cup semifinal between Kaizer Chiefs and Free State Stars in Durban in April face an anxious wait for their sentencing on December 12. 

In ugly scenes that saw destruction to stadium infrastructure, seats set on fire, the assault of security guards and broadcast equipment worth over R2.5-million damaged or stolen, fans rioted after Chiefs lost the cup game 2-0 to continue a poor run of results.

The nine were convicted in the Durban Regional Court this week, while the case against two others was provisionally withdrawn, the South African Police Services said in a statement. 

Those waiting for sentencing have been named as Siphesenkosi Knowledge Memela, John Sibongiseni Khumalo, Kwezilomo Madiba, Cebolenkosi Hadeben, Douglas Mhlaliseni Mkhize, Nolwethu Cokotha, Zibongile Njova, Sihle Duncan Zungu and Denis Thusi.

The incident led to the immediate resignation of Chiefs coach Steve Komphela, while there were also questions asked over the security at a game that had the potential to be highly charged.

It came just weeks after Chiefs fans had caused damage to the FNB Stadium in Soweto following a 3-0 home loss to Chippa United, an incident that should have alerted organisers to the potential for violence in Durban.

Chiefs were ordered to play two games behind closed doors in Durban as punishment for failing to control their fans. 
Those games resulted in a 1-0 loss to Polokwane City and a 0-0 draw with Chippa United, a fixture that was played this past weekend.

Chiefs have gone trophyless in their last three seasons, the longest period without success in the club's history, which has seen growing discontent among their sizeable fan base.

Signs have not been much brighter in the current campaign, though they have reached the semifinals of the Telkom Knockout, where they will play bitter rivals Orlando Pirates at the same Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on November 24.