Ellis Park Disaster Commemorated Today


Every nation has its stadium disasters, and today, in South Africa, SA Blog’s 2010 World Cup coverage takes a somber turn. For it was on this day, five years ago, that 43 people were crushed to death in a stampede at Ellis Park stadium, Johannesburg, during a derby between the two giants of SA football, Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates.

A litany of factors combined in the making of the tragedy – from corrupt security guards letting too many people into the stadium, to a poor public address system – but the overall blame lay squarely at the feet of the SA Football Association and its Premier Soccer League.

Ellis Park – home to the Golden Lions rugby franchise – is scheduled to be used in the 2010 World Cup, before which it will receive a hefty upgrade.

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Today, however, South Africans are looking back five years, at the old, body-littered pitch (where the dead were laid out) – not forward to the new jewel of Johannesburg sport.