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  • Disgraceful

    World Cup Fans

    Celeb jets strand fans

    Soccer fans have reacted with outrage after five planes loaded with supporters and journalists heading to Durban for the World Cup semi-final match on Wednesday night were forced to turn back to Johannesburg and Cape Town.

    Football fans that had paid thousands of rand for match tickets ended up watching the game at airport bars.

    “We have done well up to now, but today is a disgrace,” said an outraged fan.

    “The fact that one of our airports does not even know what their capacity is, is quite pathetic,” said another.

    Among those stranded on the planes were soccer analyst Marks Maponyane, singer Danny K and Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

    And according to Eyewitness News, the 2010 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee on Thursday said that fans who missed out will not be compensated.

    “We are very sorry about the inconvenience caused and about the fact that some missed the match but unfortunately under the conditions of sale there shall not be any refund,” said the OC’s Rich Mkhondo.

    Locals and tourists said South Africa’s transport system failed them at a crucial point in the World Cup tournament.

    “We ended up circling around Durban airspace and they told us they can’t land the planes because there are too many chartered airlines coming in so they are sending them back,” said one person who was affected.

    The 5.15pm kulula flight from OR Tambo International, packed with Spanish fans, was one of those affected. When the plane returned to Johannesburg at 7pm, and the captain announced that passengers would have to remain on the plane, many became incensed.

    “We spent R14 000 on tickets and another R7000 on flights,” said one fan.

    After vociferous protest passengers persuaded the crew to let them off the aircraft, but were informed that their luggage would go on to Durban.

    Stranded passengers demand refunds

    Many passengers approached airline staff demanding refunds, and even compensation for their match tickets. Airline staff were apologetic, but even the victory for La Roja left them sipping a hollow victory in the airport pub.

    A Spanish fan who arrived at King Shaka International Airport an hour after the game finished said Acsa officials were not helpful when he asked about a refund for his match ticket.

    “We did not get much information from the company on what to do, we tried to ask but we don’t have much hope for that money,” he said.

    A Brazilian fan missed out on the game because he was waiting for friends at the King Shaka International Airport. He said the delays have tarnished his perception of travel in South Africa.

    “I heard that you [South Africa] are always on time, but not today because of this,” he said.

    Eyewitness News reports that the Airports Company of South Africa (ACSA) said nearly 700 people were unable to get to the match because planes were delayed while trying to land at Durban’s King Shaka Airport. It is understood there was not enough space for all of the planes to land.

    Celeb jets to blame?

    Acsa blamed the congestion on private jets who were told to land at King Shaka and then move to the old Durban Airport, but their pilots refused to move them after dropping off their star-studded passengers.

    It is understood actress Charlize Theron’s private jet was among those allowed to land at the airport.

    Acsa chief of operations Bongani Maseko said private planes caused all the problems.

    “We had put in place a specific procedure for private aircraft to drop off the VIPs at King Shaka and reposition to the old Durban Airport. Some of those operators unfortunately refused to take off,” said Maseko.
    The celebrities whose planes caused the problems should compensate the paying fans for every single rand they lost, and then some...
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