SAPS ready for COP17

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Durban - The South African Police Service (SAPS) has briefed the provincial cabinet on their state of readiness to handle the upcoming United Nations' climate change conference.

The 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change gets underway in late November at the International Conference Centre Durban.

Provincial Commissioner Lieutenant-General Mmamonnye Ngobeni briefed cabinet during a KwaZulu-Natal Executive Council meeting in Ndwedwe on Wednesday.

Accompanied by a high-level delegation, the commissioner shared some of the initiatives and strategies to ensure that the conference, expected to be attended by heads of state, proceeds smoothly.

Cabinet was assured that normal policing would continue unhindered in the province during the high-profile climate change conference.

Provincial SAPS spokesperson, Colonel Jay Naicker, told BuaNews that there will be a team of dedicated personnel for COP17 that will be deployed around the ICC and exhibition area.

Naicker said a substantial number of police officers would be drafted in to assist with SAPS' detailed safety and security plans.

Further details about the plans could not be discussed due to their sensitive nature. But Naicker confirmed that SAPS would be working closely with the SANDF, Metro Police, fire department, correctional services and disaster management.

KZN Premier Zweli Mkhize said COP 17 would be important not only for the outcomes in the negotiations, but because it is happening in South Africa, and in KZN in particular.

"The whole world is focusing on us and we want to demonstrate that our country has effective and firm policing that can deal with any situation, as was evident when we hosted a great soccer World Cup last year. We have no doubt that again we will do a sterling job.

"We are also pleased with the assurances from the police that the security needs of our communities will not be neglected while the police focus on COP 17 and delegates to the conference," said Mkhize.