Kaizer Motaung still pained by Ellis Park disaster on its 18th anniversary


April 11 marks a dark event in South Africa after 43 people were crushed to death in a stampede at the Ellis Park Stadium back in 2001, as Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates faced off in a Soweto Derby.

READ: 'We haven't deserted Ellis Park disaster'

Just as with any disaster, an anniversary serves as an opportunity to remember those who have fallen while sharing in the hurt of those who never saw their loves ones again.

Motaung has said the memory of that day, 18 years ago, remains vivid in his mind and he can never grow accustomed to talking about it despite the time that has since passed.

“It is one fateful and unforgettable date. The picture remains vivid in my mind every time I think about that night,” reflected Motaung on his club’s website.

“I will not get used to talking about this. It happened, and it is part of our history. One philosopher George Santayana said, ‘Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it’. 

“We are bound to refer to this unfortunate incident to renew and pledge our solidarity with the bereaved families and review the measures that were put in place as a result.

“The Ngoepe Commission was appointed by former President Thabo Mbeki to investigate the cause of the stampede and make recommendations to avoid a similar occurrence in the future.”

The Amakhosi boss further conveyed a message of condolences once again, while noting the commemoration events that take place at the stadium each year.

“My deepest feelings of sympathy to the families that lost their beloved stays on. We always keep them in our prayers because we share their pain as the football family,” he added.

“The day is remembered in various ways by different stakeholders. A prayer ceremony at the stadium is part of the commemoration and I know there will be visitations to mark the day at Ellis Park Stadium to show respects.

“I wish to reiterate on behalf of the Kaizer Chiefs Family my condolences to the families and wish that the departed rest in the everlasting peace.”

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