Health dept confirms 63 injured at ANC rally

The KwaZulu-Natal health department on Monday confirmed that the number of people injured during a stampede at Durban’s Chatsworth stadium had risen to 63.

The department’s communication manager Cebe Zwane said all the patients had sustained minor injuries and were discharged on Sunday night.

Reports that some patients had sustained fractures were not true, said Zwane.

Among the injured were two bleeding children who were carried out of the stadium on Sunday.

The 20 000-seater venue was packed to capacity, with thousands bussed there to hear African National Congress (ANC) president Jacob Zuma speak.

Local police said more than 30 000 people had been inside the venue.

The incident took place after ANC KwaZulu-Natal secretary Senzo Mchunu invited only some spectators to sit inside the stadium’s centre arena, as the stands were full.

While trying to enter the area via a small section of the gated barrier, a rowdy crowd of supporters pushed down part of the barricade and stormed in.

Many people were trampled on while others were violently pushed down.

Mchunu repeatedly warned ANC supporters not to push others but the defiant crowd then stampeded towards journalists, in the centre of the arena, near the stage.

Mchunu urged the media to move away when the crowd continued to push forward.

After about an hour, marshals and police managed to calm the crowd, who sat down in the arena.

At 1pm Mchunu asked that the gates into the stadium be closed as there was no more space.

The Congress of the People in KwaZulu-Natal on Monday alleged that the ruling party had bussed in 30 000 people from outside the Chatsworth suburb.

Spokesperson Siyanda Mhlongo said it was not the first time that people from outside the area were brought in by the ANC ”to show they had support”. — Sapa

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