Government ups disaster management for 2010


With just 200 days to go to the start of the 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup, government will set up a national operations centre to monitor and report all incidents during the soccer tournament.

While each province, except the Northern Cape, has a central disaster management centre (DMC), government wants to create a central command post to monitor and control any disaster situations and emergencies that occur during the tournament, ITWeb reports.

The centre is set to link to all nine provinces and provide real-time monitoring, collating and reporting of any incidents. The centre, which will be managed by the National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC), will host ICT systems that will include online monitoring systems for all official venues and also provide radio linkages.

Deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe says that a report on the state of readiness of national disaster management systems for 2010 showed that coordination between provinces and municipalities needed to be improved.

A national guideline document had been developed and distributed to all relevant stakeholders. The NDMC has developed a national plan and is working on possible risks that emerged from the Confederations Cup, Motlanthe said.

The Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, which monitors the NDMC, says the centre will be established under the current disaster management plan. While funding for the centre had not yet been secured, the department says the focus would be on implementing effective IT systems to increase its monitoring capacity.

The department, however, failed to mention any plans for the 18 district municipalities and metros, which are yet to develop disaster management centres. The department added that the lack of funding was still the biggest hurdle.

“All cities do not enjoy the same level of development. It is necessary to increase support, and co-ordination and integration are still some of the most challenging areas,” it says.

The department says the new centre will be equipped with the latest hardware and software solutions, and consist of three units: a command and communication unit, a volunteer unit and an administrative unit.

“The government’s overall impression about the state of readiness for the upcoming 2010 Fifa World Cup is that commitment levels are high and many of the guarantees are being delivered on time,” says Motlanthe.

It is not clear what a national centre will cost. Gauteng opened a state-of-the-art R50 million facility in Midrand in November 2007 as part of its preparations for the World Cup.


Pic: Greenpoint Stadium in Cape Town, a World Cup venue