World Cup security on track

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Pretoria - There are no security threats to next week's Soccer World Cup.

This was the assurance from the Police Commissioner, General Bheki Cele, after he and Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa met with MECs responsible for safety and security in Cape Town on Thursday.

With a week to go before kick-off, Cele said local police, together with their international counterparts, were on top of all security concerns.

"We are ready for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Our police, supported by their international counterparts, who are already in the country, are feeling it," Cele said.

"We are continuously engaging with the intelligence of all the teams and this bilateral cooperation enables us to plan ahead. We have a 24-hour hotline with 19 other agencies, including Interpol. We also have full access to the Interpol database if we have any international issue we may want to confirm," he added.

Cele said normal policing would not be compromised during the World Cup and that contingency plans had been made.

Intensified operations in and around cities that were not hosting any matches would continue unhindered.

Years of preparation had gone into the World Cup and police were now ready to put their plans into action, Mthethwa said.

"Police have been preparing for 2010 FIFA World Cup since 2004 by adopting a working-together approach. That collective approach has helped in better planning, drawing lessons from previous hosts and generally re-skilling of our members. Previous experiences in hosting major events have also stood us in good stead during this planning phase," he added.

Anyone found to be flouting the law would be dealt with, the police minister warned.

"Police will not be influenced by any political stature or one's economic stance in society, but act on anyone who is found on the wrong side of the law. Taking into account the sophisticated nature of crime in the world today, we are confident that the resources we have invested in will definitely help our police going forward," Mthethwa said.

The police minister also urged visitors to brush up on South Africa's law and comply with it.

Police were committed to protecting all people, regardless of their status, he said.

"We have an obligation and we will ensure we protect all the people, from the ordinary people who will be at homes, fan parks, stadiums to the very, very important people," Mthethwa said.