The police and 13 supporting government departments are ready for every safety and security-related eventuality – from terrorist attack to ambush marketing – ahead of June’s FIFA Confederations Cup and next year’s FIFA Soccer World Cup.
Police 2010 senior operational planner Director David Garnett adds that the country`s intelligence services have to date not identified any specific threats against either event.
“On a positive note we don`t expect or envisage that many challenges, we are quite positive about our ability with deployed resources and the experience of our [officers] to deal with incidents that might come our way.
“Specific issues [we are paying attention to] are crowd control, the influx of persons into the country, the verification and identification of those persons, the validation of tickets so that there is no counterfeiting… These are a number of issues we are looking at to ensure we wont be in a position to be embarrassed at any stage.
“We constantly review the threat that might be brought to us, the intelligence services have formed a joint committee and constantly advise the operational [staffs] of any threats that may arise and the operational staffs plan accordingly,” Garnett added.
“South Africa has hosted in excess of 141 major events since 1994. We are acknowledged as world leaders in the management of major events, we have managed some of the biggest events … we are in a very good position to do so,” he said at a joint police and military briefing on preparations for the events.”
Garnett adds that SA`s Special Forces, both police and military “are recognised as among the most advanced in the world. We are in position to deal with any contingency and fully confident we can handle any contingency in a very comprehensive way.”
“We are very confident in our ability, though cooperation with other departments across the spectrum, to address safety and security of every spectator, every official and every team that comes into the country.”
Garnett could not say what safeguarding the two events would cost, noting many expenses were contingency based and that 14 separate government agencies and departments are involved.
“It is difficult to give a global figure,” he said at a police-defence force briefing on preparations as well as Exercise Shield 3, part of the groundwork for the two events, currently underway in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Rustenburg.
The police has a budget of about R1.3 billion for the two events and the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) believes it needs about R350 million.
The police expect to deploy some 41 000 officers to safeguard the soccer events – for which they have allocated R640 million and bought equipment and services worth R665 million. The 41 000 are to be deployed as follows:
Ø Intelligence: 1000
Ø “Very important person” protection: 1000
Ø Point-of-entry protection: 500
Ø Borderline security: 2500
Ø Route and rail security: 1126
Ø City security: 15 000
Ø Reaction force: 2000
Ø “Plans to address specific threats”: 6256
Ø Command and control: 850
Ø Standby group: 960
Ø Reservists: 10 000
Total: 41 092
The SANDF`s support to the police includes its Special Forces to assist the SAPS Special Task Force (pictured), helicopters, fighter aircraft, command-and-control specialists, ships and soldiers as required.
The SA Air Force (SAAF) is the lead agency for airspace security during both events and for enforcing “no-fly zones” around event soccer stadiums in collaboration with the Air Transport Navigation Service (ATNS).
Air Force Brigadier General Des Lombard says all aircraft approaching within 50 nautical miles of a stadium will be strictly monitored and its identity verified. The area within those zones will be deemed military air space for the duration of the cup events and all aircraft will have to file and strictly comply with approved flight plans and air traffic control routing instructions.
Aircraft, helicopters, microlights, balloons or any other air vehicle not complying with instructions or flight plans will be intercepted by SAAF fighter aircraft and will be forced down “as a last resort.”
Picture: Police Special Task Force snipers on post next to a command vehicle, a modified BAE Systems RG12.