Minister assures of players' safety in 2010

Friday, November 13, 2009

Cape Town - Justice and Constitutional Development Minister Jeff Radebe has assured soccer teams and international visitors arriving in South Africa for the 2010 FIFA World Cup that they will be safe during their stay.

He said they should not be concerned about attacks on any of the teams or the officials who will be in the country for the event.

The minister's remarks follow concerns by international teams about their safety in the country during the World Cup. The Japanese team, which plays against Bafana Bafana in Port Elizabeth on Saturday, were apparently advised not to leave their hotel rooms after dark, in fear of their safely.

Radebe assured that there was no need for the panic as government was doing all it could to fight crime and to ensure their safety.

"Government is spending R640 million on the deployment of 41 000 officers specifically for the World Cup. This includes 31 000 permanent members and 10 000 police reservists," he said.

There will be a total of 54 dedicated courts spread across the country to deal with criminal matters that relate to the tournament.

The minister also pointed out that South Africa has had a successful record of hosting major sporting events since 1994.

"If you look at our event experience, we've hosted many big events including the Rugby World Cup in 1995, the 2003 Cricket World Cup and the Twenty20 in 2007. We have [teams] in and out of the country all the time.

"This year, we had the British Lions tour and the Confederations Cup and all went well."

During the World Cup, police will also be patrolling roads between airports and hotels as well as roads between stadiums and hotels to ensure that visitors are protected at all times.

This is in addition to the number of helicopters and command vehicles with state-of-the-art technology that have been procured.

Further to this, 54 special courts will be made available 24 hours, seven days a week across the country to expeditiously deal with criminal matters that relate to the tournament.