Cape Town - Kaizer Chiefs chairperson Kaizer Motaung on Monday welcomed the sentencing of nine hooligans responsible for violent behaviour at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, with one fan receiving a three-year jail sentence.
A club statement said:
"We truly welcome the sentencing of the nine people who were responsible for the injuries to security marshals and damages to property amounting to millions of rands, Motaung said. "We hope this punishment sends a very strong message to all those fans who believe violence is the only answer when results don't go their way."
Khwezilomo Madiba was handed a three-year jail sentence while the other eight co-accused received suspended sentences. The reason for a harsher sanction for Madiba was due to the fact that he had been found guilty of a similar offence previously.
"I am of the view that his case should be dealt with differently as far as sentencing is concerned. I think a three-year imprisonment is an appropriate sentence," Magistrate Sam Luthuli said during the sentencing.
The eight who received suspended sentences are Siphosenkosi Knowledge Memela, John Sibongiseni Khumalo, Cebolendoda Hadebe, Douglas Mhlaliseni Mkhize, Nolwethu Cokotha, Zibongile Njova, Sihle Duncan Zungu and Dennis Thusi. They were also given 16 hours of community service and instructed to attend anger management programmes.
"Stadiums are and should always be child-and-woman-friendly environments. Families must be able to attend games with no worries of experiencing any violence. Barbaric acts of the senseless violence we witnessed in Durban last year endanger the lives of innocent people and cannot be tolerated under any circumstances," Motaung added.
"We once again call on those people involved in the deplorable acts and claim to be football supporters to stop this hooliganism as it takes the game and our society backwards. We also urge law enforcement agencies to deal with the perpetrators."
Kaizer Chiefs will once again take part in a Nedbank Cup semi-final this coming weekend in Port Elizabeth against Chippa United.
"Incidents like those that were witnessed last year have no place anywhere in our society. We call on our supporters to go to the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium and be at their best behaviour. We are playing in a knockout game and fans of the losing side should go home in peace," Motaung concluded.