11 November 2009
With just over 200 days to go till the 2010 Fifa World Cup™, the first on African soil, the 2010 Organising Committee (OC) is assuring tournament supporters and the media that South Africa is ready to put on a premier tournament and protect every visitor “without a doubt”.
Briefing a parliamentary committee in Cape Town this week, OC chief executive Danny Jordaan said the international media had raised concerns about South Africa’s ability to host a secure tournament, but said that he was never worried.
“Yes, we have crime,” he said, but pointed out that there was a difference between “societal crime and the ability to host a big event”.
The government has invested about R1.3-billion in World Cup security. There will be 41 000 police officers dedicated to securing the tournament, with 700 police officers around the stadiums for each match.
The South African Police Service in conjunction with other law enforcement agencies, like the National Joint Operations and intelligence structures as well as the South African army will be used during the event.
Proven event hosting track record
Jordaan said South Africa had regularly proved itself capable of hosting international showpieces, starting with the Rugby World Cup in 1995, just a year after the country’s first democratic elections.
“The Rugby World Cup, the Cricket World Cup, the Athletics World Cup and now the football World Cup,” he mentioned. “In golf too: the Presidents Cup and other major events. You cannot mention more than 10 countries in the world with that kind of event profile.”
Pointing to this year’s Confederations Cup and British and Irish Lions rugby tour, which passed without serious incidents, Jordaan reiterated that the level of crime in South Africa would not deter visitors or mar the first soccer World Cup to be held in Africa.
He said South African security forces had experience of policing major events by assisting at the 2006 World Cup in Germany and last year’s Beijing Olympics.