LOC promises a safe, secure World Cup

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Cape Town - With just 212 days to go until the kick-off of the world's biggest soccer extravagant to hit African soil, the 2010 Local Organising Committee (LOC) is promising the best service for a safe and secure World Cup next year.

Briefing Parliament's Committee on Sport and Recreation, 2010 LOC boss Danny Jordaan assured tournament supporters and media that the country was ready to put on a premier tournament and protect every visitor, "without a doubt."

International media have raised concerns about South Africa's ability to host a secure soccer spectacular.

But Jordaan said he was never worried. "Yes, we have crime," he said, noting that there was a difference between "societal crime and the ability to host a big event."

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.

"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.

"There's clearly a distinction to be made between societal crime in the country and event safety and security," Jordaan said.

Government has invested about R1.3 billion for the World Cup. There will be 41 000 police officers dedicated to securing the tournament, with 700 police officers around the stadium for each match.

The South African Police Service in conjunction with other law enforcement agencies like the National Joint Operations and intelligence structure as well as the South African Army will be used during the event.