Minimal Security Mars Summer House Festival

THE SOUTHERN Times’ 10 year anniversary celebrations, held at the Windhoek Showgrounds on Saturday was marred by fighting and failed security.

While the entertainment itself proved to be some of the best Windhoek has seen this year, with DJs Zinhle and DJ Kent from South Africa, as well as local performers the KFC DJs keeping the crowd on their feet, some attendees were forced to run for cover to avoid being caught up in violence and fighting.

More than two fights broke out in the crowd which involved knives, and another fight took place outside the venue entrance after the last set. During this time security was not present and there were no first aid facilities available in cases of emergency.

The Southern Times’ acting general manager Gwen Snyders said they contracted 38 security guards from Etotongwe Protection Services, who were deployed during the event.

“Unfortunately we didn’t have first aid facilities on the premises. This was an oversight on our part,” Snyders said, because it was the first time their staff organised such an event.

She also said that the absence of an emergency exit is another lesson they learned from hosting the festival which attracted one of the biggest crowds any music show has seen in the city.

“Fortunately, during the entire event there was no requirement for an emergency exit, but we are much wiser after hosting this event,” Snyders said.

Although there were no serious injuries, some of the revellers fell victim to minor injuries after falling off the benches they were standing on as a result of one of the fights which caused the crowd to hastily disperse.

The subject of security at social events has become a growing concern as theft and assault is often a common occurrence at large events.

Senior superintendent at the City Police Gerry Shikesho said that when it comes to social and entertainment events, organisers must put security systems in place as well as restrict things like weapons and alcohol.

“The security system that you have in place should ensure that the security guards are deployed.

Fighting occurs after people take some drinks and get excited. I also recommend that you not allow alcohol at the events as well as dangerous weapons such as knifes and screwdrivers,” Shikesho said. He added that event organisers are free to request the presence of City Police officers to boost security efforts.

Source : The Namibian