20 August 2008
Visitors and soccer fans can look forward to a safe visit to South Africa during the 2009 Fifa Confederations Cup and 2010 Fifa World Cup as the country’s security plans are finalised, says Deputy National Police Commissioner Andre Pruis.
Speaking to SA2010.gov.za from Chaoyang, Beijing on Tuesday, National Deputy Police Commissioner Andre Pruis said he was upbeat about the 2010 safety and security plan he had submitted to Fifa in June.
Pruis, who has been visiting key security areas of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, said South Africa’s 2009 and 2010 safety plan was event-specific, addressing strategic areas of operation during each tournament.
“I think the first thing that one must take into account that a major event is something a bit different from combating crime in general,” Pruis said. “Because you know a lot of the information, the airport, you know the routes, you know where the accommodation will be, you know where – to a large degree – people will go to restaurants clubs, tourists attractions, and you know where the stadium is.
“To a large degree, your security plan is really based on a lot of known information.”
Force of numbers
Pruis said the plan had been developed to deal with specific crimes and would be rolled out in various phases, starting with crime prevention and combating and taking into account the numbers to be deployed during the event.
“From the police’s side alone, we will deploy 41 000 police personnel, but then take into account that we will have support from the South African National Defence Force for specific tasks,” Pruis said.
Joint operations training, involving simulations to sharp skills and ensure that South Africa’s various security forces work together, is being carried out in various parts of the country.
Safety and security structures for the Confederations Cup and World Cup are also being “trickled down” to host city level, with work being done to ensure that sectional and precinct policing mechanisms are in place ahead of 2009.
The second part of the plan is intelligence. A 2010 intelligence coordinating committee between police and military intelligence has been set up to explore options on how to counter opportunistic terrorism, hooliganism and unruliness.
“The committee has completed the second security appreciation for us, and we have had a presentation in this regard, so that long before the event we can get an idea of the security situation, but also possible problems that we may experience,” Pruis said.
The unit is also compiling a list of undesirable people, a must when hosting any major event.
He said the police would draw experience from the other major events which South Africa has hosted, such as the 1995 Rugby World Cup, 1996 African Nations Cup, 2003 Cricket World Cup and 2007 Twenty20 World Championships.
“If one looks at major events that we have had in South Africa, we haven’t had a single incident during any one of those events,” Pruis said.
Learning from the British
At the same time, he added, the SA Police Service (SAPS) was learning a lot from the British.
“We have had various visits already to Britain to see how they plan for their mechanisms, the operation of their soccer intelligence. We have a lot of experience in crowd management, but hooliganism is something different.”
The third phase of South Africa’s security plan, involving border control, has been divided into ports of entry and the border line. The SAPS has established operational committees with neighbouring countries, and an organisation called the Southern African Region of Police Chiefs has been set up.
Pruis said that although South Africa did not have policing jurisdiction in neighbouring countries, the same security protocols would apply, and SAPS members would be deployed in these neighbouring countries.
“Whether people will stay in Mozambique or Swaziland, the protocols applicable to securing the hotels will be the same, route security will be the same, airport security will be the same.”