South African Sports and Recreation Minister Thulas Nxesi has announced a ministerial committee of inquiry into the FNB Stadium tragedy in which two fans died.

The incident took place during a match between rival football clubs Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates on July 29.

A stampede in the stands at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg left two dead, two fans critically injured and a further 19 people with minor injuries.

Nxesi said that fans’ safety should always be a priority and added that he welcomed the Premier Soccer League (PSL) conducting its own investigation.

“This can never be acceptable – hence the need for an inquiry,” Nxesi said. “But this is a very serious matter, where government has to take the lead by appointing an independent committee of inquiry.”

Judge Ronald Pillay has been appointed to chair the committee, with several other members due to be appointed later.

One month will be given to the committee, after its appointment, to report its findings back to Nxesi.

Earlier this month, Stadium Management South Africa (SMSA), which manages the venue, found in a preliminary study that fake tickets led to crushing at the 87,000-capacity stadium.

However, SMSA called for a larger probe into the incident and the country has responded by confirming the launch of a full-scale investigation, with senior counsel advocate Vincent Maleka calling for witnesses to come forward with information.

Meanwhile, Nxesi has also launched a ministerial committee of inquiry into a wide range of allegations of maladministration at the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc).

He said the inquiry into Sascoc was in response to numerous assertions of poor governance, financial mismanagement and non-adherence to the Sascoc constitution, and the Sascoc board’s failure to respond to these matters.

“It is no secret that these two committees of inquiry were in the pipeline,” Nxesi told journalists at the Imbizo media centre in the Parliamentary precinct, according to News 24. 

“In the light of these serious allegations, I have decided to appoint a committee of inquiry – consisting of a retired judge, two additional members and a team leader for leading evidence.”

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