News Release

You're In It Together

Joint and Several Liability for Events Organisers, Sponsors, Venue and Owners

South Africa's stature as a world-class destination for large sporting events, most notably the recent Afcon Cup and the Soccer World Cup before that, is growing tremendously. Given this status, there is increasing scrutiny by regulators, noted in the recently promulgated Safety at Sports and Recreational Events Act (the "SASREA"), to address the inadequacies which have been prevalent in many sports and entertainment events.

This is according to Deon Francis of Routledge Modise Inc.

"Some of these inadequacies include insufficient emergency, essential services, insufficient resources being made available by local authorities, inadequate public liability insurance, a lack of proper safety certification and structural engineering certificates for temporary structures, a lack of proper safety and security measures including crowd control at events. Much of the flouting of these requirements has been driven by the fact that enforcement of punitive measures to ensure proper safety and security measures at events has been left wanting, but these days are long over. An event that is found to be lacking in proper controls and safety measures could find all involved coordinating parties from organisers, sponsors, venue operators and owners all held liable for any damages and legal claims," warns Deon.

In order to address these inadequacies the Department of Sports and Recreation, through the promulgation of the SASREA has now placed the responsibility of ensuring safety and security at events on the shoulders of controlling bodies, event organisers and stadium/venue owners. Given the spirit of the Act, it is evident that these entities will be jointly and severally liable in the event of any civil liability arising at any given event.

Dani Ettridge, of Aon South Africa, a leading insurance brokerage and risk consultants, adds that SASREA has serious implications in terms of insurance liability cover.

"SASREA has a very similar effect as the Consumer Protection Act. In terms of the CPA, where damages arise as a result of defective products, consumers can seek recourse against any one of the parties in the supply chain, be it the manufacturer, the wholesaler or the retailer. Similarly, in terms of the SASREA, This would not affect the injured party though in that the injured party could look to any of these entities for compensation," she says.

"According to the provisions in SASREA, it is no longer viable or sufficient for only controlling bodies, event organisers and stadium/venue owners to have public liability cover. Indemnity clauses are now unlikely to be enforceable against third parties. It is imperative that each and every party involved takes out sufficient public liability to protect their own risks and not rely on the insurance policies of others," explains Dani.

The Act now demands that all parties involved, including sponsors, need to take an active role in vetting the planning of events. They can no longer associate their name with an event with no knowledge of the safety and security measures in place. Sponsors, as stakeholders in an event, can be drawn into a suit alongside the event organiser, venue owner and others. It is essential that all parties take a pro-active approach to ensuring that certain minimum standards are met around the planning and organising of any event and ensuring compliance with SASREA.

Routledge Modise and Aon have produced "A Practical Guide to SASREA" which provides an essential guide to any company party to an event to ensure that all their bases are properly covered. Should you require the practical guide or information around the event Liability policy, please contact:

  • Deon Francis at Routledge Modise via email on deonf@rmlaw.co.za
  • Dani Ettridge of Aon South Africa on dani.ettridge@aon.co.za

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