10 June 2009
The South African Police Service has assured soccer fans that they need not fear for their safety when they are in the country for the Fifa Confederations Cup.
“We want to assure international and local soccer fans that our strategic and operational plans will ensure that they enjoy the tournament in peace and harmony,” Assistant Police Commissioner Ben Groenewald said in Johannesburg this week.
Speaking at an event to celebrate the second anniversary of Primedia’s Crime Line initiative, Groenewald said all security measures for Fifa’s “Festival of Continental Champions” had been put in place.
“We warn criminals that our members and partners are standing by to crush any lawbreaker without clemency.”
Confed Cup safety plan
The Confederations Cup safety plan is divided into national and provincial structures, with the national structure dealing with strategic issues and the provincial structure implementing operational issues.
More than 12 000 law enforcement officials have been deployed to four host cities and non-hosting cities. This excludes normal police members, who have also geared up to ensure the safety and security of people during and after the tournament.
“More officials will be deployed to Coca Cola Park in Johannesburg during the opening and closing ceremony of the event. We have already sent thousands of police officers to monitor the venue at the opening ceremony taking place this weekend,” Groenewald said.
Further to this, police and members of the South African Defence Force have been positioned at all ports of entry, including airports and national borders, to ensure that criminals do not gain entry to the country as well as to prevent organised crime.
Groenewald said a number of law enforcement officials have been sent to popular tourist attractions and hotels situated around training stadiums. He said the members’ priorities include robbery, car theft and hijacking, drug-related crimes, organised crime and human trafficking, among others.
24-hour special courts
Further to this, a special investigation team has been established in all host cities, and special 24-hour courts will be set up in Bloemfontein, Johannesburg, Pretoria and Rustenburg to ensure swift prosecution of criminals.
An international security control office has also been set up, where national security structures will liaise with security organisations from all seven countries participating in the Confederations Cup.