Tshwane ready to host rugby fans

Friday, June 26, 2009

Pretoria - The Tshwane Community Safety Department said it was ready to welcome thousands of rugby fans, who will descend on the city for the Springboks versus British and Irish Lions on the second leg of their test match on Saturday.

"The department will deploy its forces to ensure that the match is secured and fans are able to enjoy the game," said the department's spokesperson, Console Tleane.

This commitment comes after the city had successfully hosted the FIFA Confederations Cup matches.

As with other big matches at Loftus, the department will pull out all stops to ensure that the match is held in a safe and secure environment.

In terms of personnel, the Tshwane Metro Police will deploy 150 officers who will perform road traffic management and general crime prevention.

The officers will be manning the street closures and assist motorists who may need guidance.

"While ensuring that the match is secured and fans are safe the Metro Police will also ensure that normal crime prevention and by-law enforcement operations remain priorities," Mr Tleane said.

This, he said, has become even more important after the events in Durban over the past weekend when some of the fans engaged in disturbing behaviour.

Collaboration between the Metro Police and the SAPS units will ensure that fans are allowed to celebrate while at the same not disturbing the peace for other fans, residents and businesses.

"To this end, the Hatfield area will be under strict supervision as it has a number of entertainment areas that will without doubt attract fans," he said, adding that the police will maintain zero tolerance against any unruly and unlawful behaviour.

According to Mr Tleane, a number of streets will be closed to traffic around the Loftus precinct.

The area that will be closed is the one surrounded (demarcated) by the following streets: Park Streets on the northern side of the stadium; Lynnwood Road on the south; University Road on the east; and Walter Jameson Street on the west.

"These streets will themselves not be closed, but the artery streets from them getting into the precinct will be closed," he said.

Street closures will be effective from 6am on Saturday morning. The streets will be closed until around 5pm, just after the match, which starts at 3pm.

Park-and-ride and park-and-walk facilities have been organised by the Blue Bulls company, he said.

The Pretoria Sports Union grounds on the corner of Queen Welheminah and Toits Street will be a park-and-ride, while busses will shuttle fans to and from the stadium.

The following park-and-walk facilities will be operating: Afrikaans Meisie Hoerskool, Pretoria Boys High, Pretoria Girls High, and Pretoria Technical High, which are within walking distance of the stadium.

In addition to the Metro Police, the department will also deploy the Fire Brigade at the stadium to ensure that any emergencies and disasters are responded to. Additional resources will be on standby at around the fire station.

"The same applies to additional Metro Police officers who will be on normal duty elsewhere," he said, adding that they will be deployed in the event of any eventuality.

"Overall, the department is confident that the Operational Plan that it has drafted will, as in the previous events, be successful. We can promise fans safety and security," Mr Tleane said.

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