No major security breach during Confeds Cup

Tuesday, June 30, 2009
By: 
Nthambeleni Gabara

Pretoria - There was no major security breach committed during the prestigious FIFA Confederations Cup, thanks to the efforts made by the National Joint Operations and Intelligence Structure (NATJOINTS).

NATJOINTS Chairperson and Deputy National Police Commissioner, Andre Pruis, on Monday briefed reporters about security operations during the FIFA Confederations Cup.

"Since we've been tasked with the responsibility of all security-related operations during the eight nation tournament, we are satisfied that our years of planning and preparations resulted in no major security breach occurring during the tournament," he said.

He said the overall concept of the operations in respect of safety and security, will be implemented during the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Deputy Commissioner Pruis said FIFA hotels in all four host cities, Tshwane, Johannesburg, Bloemfontein and Rustenburg were monitored on a 24 hour basis.

An analysis was also done on the incidents of serious crime around the stadiums during the two-week period of the Confederations Cup compared to the same period in 2008.

The analysis revealed that there was a dramatic decrease in serious crimes such as murder, attempted murder, robbery aggravated, theft of motor vehicles and sexual assaults during the Confederations Cup.

According to Deputy Commissioner Pruis, approximately 600 000 people attended the sixteen matches.

"During this period, only 39 cases of criminal conduct were reported, which could be directly linked to a stadium or the immediate vicinity of a stadium while people were entering or exiting or going back to their hotel rooms," he said.

He said the majority of cases recorded during the Confederations Cup were theft, especially of cell phones, with five robberies, mugging of wallets, one case of reckless driving, two more of corruption, one incident of using counterfeit money and one case of assault.

A special detective team acted swiftly to respond to the burglary case at the Pretoria Hotel, where two suspects entered the hotel rooms of Brazilian nationals.

The detectives managed to nab the burglars who were convicted and sentenced to ten years imprisonment each.

"This incident indicated the effectiveness of a dedicated court system for the Confederations Cup which will be duplicated for the 2010 FIFA World Cup."

He said all participating teams were protected and escorted at all times by dedicated security forces en route to and from training sessions, matches and travelling between the host cities.

Their movements were also monitored by the National Joint Operational Centre by means of a tracking system.

"This protection will continue until the last team has left the country," he said.

Force levels deployed for city security varied between 6 000 and 8 000 employees. This included all government departments participating in security-related operations.

Specialised high-risk forces, comprising members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) and South African National Defence Force (SANDF) were also on standby to deal with any emergency situation.

Various special trains were utilised between cities and more than 550 Railway Police members performed security functions on special trains as well as Metro trains.

On the final day of the tournament, Deputy Commissioner Pruis said a total of 12 trains were policed to and from Ellis Park stadium, in Johannesburg.

Although, event safety is not the responsibility of the police, additional law enforcement members were deployed at all the stadiums for security duties in the inner-perimeter of the stadiums.

This was also appreciated by both FIFA and the Local Organising Committee (LOC).

"The NATJOINTS would like to congratulate all members of the security services who sacrificed a great deal of their time to ensure that the beautiful game could be enjoyed by all South Africans and the visitors," he said.

One of the major successes was the way in which sixteen government departments and other role players cooperated to implement the operation in a coordinated and united manner.

"We will build on the lessons learnt and expand on best practices to assist FIFA and the LOC in presenting the best World Cup ever next year," he said.