Loftus acts against AfriForum
Johannesburg - Loftus Versfeld stadium manager Hugo Kemp reaffirmed on Sunday what the Blue Bulls Company had warned earlier in the week when he commented on AfriForum's alleged attempt to use the venue as a platform to promote their smear campaign against Currie Cup sponsors Absa.
On Wednesday Blue Bulls chief executive Barend van Graan made it clear that the union would not tolerate any form of victimisation, racism, drunkenness or misbehaviour.
And with no recent reports of such incidents, the question was raised why the Bulls had decided to make the statement at that specific juncture.
"This is a pro-active step by us," Van Graan said. "We have had racial incidents in the past and while we are not referring here to a single incident at any match, we know there are from time to time incidents of drunkenness, crude language, racism or victimisation that take place."
On Saturday, AfriForum members were found to be in direct contradiction of what Kemp described as a long-standing policy. Two members of AfriForum Youth were kicked out of Loftus by security guards because they displayed a banner with the words "Sies Absa, ons eis meriete!" ("Sis Absa, we demand merit").
"We have a policy at Loftus and if there are any banners that are political, racial, religious or cultural, we take those banners away," said Kemp.
"Loftus is for everybody, we are not choosing sides and we are not saying one side is right and the other is wrong. We have done it before and we will do it again - there is nothing funny about that."
National chairperson of AfriForum Youth, Ernst Roets, one of the men escorted out of the stadium during the match between the Blue Bulls and Western Province, argued that they were within their rights to display their grievances at the game where approximately 35 000 spectators were seated.
"We simply exercised our constitutional rights by taking a stand for what we believe in," Roets said while also complaining about the manner in which they were removed from the premises.
Kemp added that the union would not take any further action.
"We are a sports stadium where people come to enjoy the sport, so if you write a banner with a bit of banter about this team or the other it is part of the atmosphere of the event," said Kemp.
"But we are not a platform for any political, cultural, historical or religious group or a place where people come to make their opinions heard or seen."