Red card for rowdy rugby fans

Beer bottles and rubbish litter parts of Newlands and Rondebosch after a rugby game at Newlands.

The Stormers’ recent performances at Newlands Stadium were enough to get fans celebrating, but the aftermath has locals crying foul.

Residents complain that when the supporters leave the stadium, they carry on late into the night with rowdy chants and drunken behaviour, which includes urinating and vomiting in the streets.

Beer bottles, fast food bags and other litter are also discarded and left, residents say, for them to clean up.

Newlands resident Lincoln Lawrence said he breathed a sigh of relief whenever Stormers were not using the stadium because it meant he could get a peaceful night’s sleep without facing the prospect of having to clean the neighbourhood the next day.

“I was also a massive Stormers fan. I still support them up until today, but I spend most of my time having to worry whether there is somebody that is going to urinate against my wall or have some party after the match in front of my house,” Mr Lawrence said. “I chose not to go to the games any longer and stay home to prevent this from happening.”

Mr Lawrence recalled an encounter he had with a bunch of Stormers fans who stopped in front of his house, cranked up the volume on their sound system and whipped out some beers to toast a victory.

“At first, it was okay because it was still early, but then more people arrived and joined this little party in the street. I had not reported the matter, because it was a great victory (Stormers vs Chiefs). It went on until around midnight, but when we came out the next morning, I was shocked and regretted my decision to allow this party to continue,” he said.

Mr Lawrence found beer bottles on his lawn, urine stains on his boundary wall and vomit outside his door.

“It’s sickening to think people feel this is okay. We understand that Newlands Rugby Stadium is very popular, but these are issues we sit with when people leave this popular venue.”

Madeline Thomas said she empathised with Mr Lawrence and had lodged several complaints with the council,asking for areas to be cleaned after matches.

“It started off with one or two bottles with some normal litter. Now we find crates of empty beer bottles, filth that people shove into your letterbox and, what is even worse, is that there are a few people who deliberately litter the area just to get on your nerves.

“I approached one group of supporters recently and, to spite me, they left all their mess behind, right in front of my door,” Ms Thomas said. “The Stormers are great, but maybe one or two of their supporters should be taught a lesson or two on how to respect the area.”

Ward councillor Ian Iversen said he had had several complaints from residents about the behaviour of the rugby supporters. Most of these related to the area under Campground Road bridge, a popular post-match party spot.

He said it wasn’t fair to expect Newlands residents to clean up after the supporters.

“Responsible people would have placed the empties and other items in their vehicles and then taken it home to either recycle or dispose of,” he said.

“Note all the empty liquor bottles, and I imagine that the people got behind the wheels of their cars and drove home.”

He said he would ask traffic officials to arrange roadblocks and breathalyser tests in the area after rugby matches.

Gavin Lewis, general manager for marketing and events at Western Province Rugby, which owns the Stormers franchise, said they always strived to act responsibly given their position in the community.

“Hosting approximately 16 events annually, Western Province are very aware of being responsible corporate citizens.”

He said the union had been “made aware of the issue” and had “immediately liaised” with the City of Cape Town and met with the City’s solid waste department.

In addition, various City officials from fire, Metro and law enforcement visited the site during the last match, he said. “Western Province will continue to work with the City towards a solution.”