According to Deon Francis, director at Eversheds, the Safety at Sports and Recreation Events Act 2 of 2010 (SASREA) places onerous obligations on controlling bodies, event organisers, sponsors and venue owners to ensure safety and security at events. Failure to comply can result in event cancellation or stakeholders being held liable to criminal sanction. In this regard, the SASREA makes it compulsory for these event organisers to have public liability insurance, yet compliance with these requirements is not near the levels it should be.

“One might think that the SASREA came into effect due to impetus from the FIFA World Cup, but it was as a result of a recommendation of a Commission of Enquiry into the Ellis Park disaster of 2001. This Act sets about to ensure the safety and physical well-being of all persons attending sports, recreation and similar events,’ he says.

Much like the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) where manufacturer, importer, distributor, wholesaler and retailer are each responsible to the consumer for redress, now those involved in an event can be found jointly and severally liable for failure to comply with the Act. In response to the public liability cover required for events, Aon South Africa has an Event Liability Scheme designed specifically for events.

“It is important that your insurer is aware of the nature of the event and companies should not rely on their usual business liability to protect them against event risks. SASREA does not stipulate the amount of public liability insurance but it is strongly advised that the organiser, venue owner, sponsor and anyone else who has a material interest in the event arrange their own cover to protect their respective interests. Companies have up until now relied on the event organiser to put a policy in place, but as each entity in the chain can now be joined in a lawsuit, they need their own protection,’ states Dani Ettridge of Aon South AFrica.

Francis adds that the implications of the Act mean that companies cannot lend their name to an event without being actively aware of the safety and security planning around the event.

“Obviously not all events are equal. Applications are made to the National Commissioner and each event is assessed and categorised as a low, medium or high risk event. There are different safety measures to be implemented dependent on the risk categorisation. Eversheds has produced A Practical Guide to SASREA and the draft regulations thereto and we would advise all parties involved in an event governed under the Act to consult the guide, their insurance broker and legal advisor to ensure all their bases are properly covered,’ adds Francis.

For more information contact Deon Francis on or Dani Ettridge of on