Safety of fans and visitors "non-negotiable"

Monday, August 17, 2009

Johannesburg - The South African government has once again reiterated its commitment to ensuring the safety of visitors and football fans during the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Minister of Transport Sibusiso Ndebele told the gathering of the 2010 National Communication Partnership Conference in Johannesburg on Monday that government would pull out all the stops to uphold South Africa's event security reputation during the 30-day tournament.

"The safety of our people and our visitors is non-negotiable. For the past five years the issue of security was perhaps the most consistently voiced issue by the international community. While some of it could be attributed to a fear of the unknown, such concerns must be attended to," said the minister.

He said South African law enforcement agencies were improving on their capacity to secure major international events.

"Our law enforcement agencies have proven their might to create secure environments during the Confederations Cup and past major events hosted by our country. They will continue to improve on their capacity to deal with incidents of crime and will be ready to neutralise any potential threat," said Mr Ndebele.

National police spokesperson, Senior Superintendent Vish Naidoo, echoed the minister's sentiments saying South Africa's event security record speaks for itself.

"People have come here in the past for events and I can assure you that the World Cup in 2010 will be secure. We have our systems in place and we take the safety of our visitors and locals very seriously."

Minister Ndebele said the World Cup would provide various opportunities, one of which will be to forge national cohesion.

"The World Cup presents us with the single most unique opportunity to unite our people. The event also provides us with a chance perhaps better than most, to kick-start our way out of the current economic recession.

"The World Cup offers an opportunity for the igniting of passion and national pride amongst South Africans. It calls for the unity of our people regardless of colour or creed because indeed working together we can do more," the minister said.

Mr Ndebele said the government was certain that South Africa will host the event successfully in 2010.

"We have no doubt that we can do it. We are certain to host a successful World Cup in 2010," he said.

The 2010 National Communication Partnership Conference is a gathering of 2010 stakeholders in the communication fraternity. The conference aims to ensure South Africa and African brands are able to use the 2010 Fifa World Cup to showcase the country and the continent.