Police replace security guards at World Cup stadiums


The 2010 FIFA World Cup Local Organising Committee South Africa (LOC) and the South African Police Service (SAPS) have agreed that police will take over security services at four stadiums for the duration of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

They are the Soccer City and Ellis Park in Johannesburg), Green Point in Cape Town and the Moses Mabhida stadium in Durban. The police in a statement says the decision was taken following a meeting today between itself and the LOC. The meeting followed wildcat strike action by security guards in Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg over wages. LOC CE Danny Jordaan thanked the police for their committed support to ensure the success of the tournament. The 2010 FIFA World Cup must remain a special celebration of Africa’s first FIFA World Cup. We will ensure that the event environment is one that contributes to this celebration,” Jordaan said.

National Commissioner of the South African Police Service General Bheki Cele added that our “priority is the safety of the tournament and the country as a whole. We will perform our responsibilities with diligence and pride”.

The takeover follows a Cabinet statement on Tuesday that the police were ready to replace the security guards. Police clashed with guards in Durban early Monday morning after a game Sunday night and guards went on a wildcat strike before a game Monday afternoon. “Cabinet would like to assure fans that their safety is guaranteed. Police will be ready to take charge of security should any strike take place, like we saw in Cape Town,” government spokesman Thabo Maseko said following a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

He emphasised that the matter was just a labour issue between an employer and an employee and would not jeopardise security arrangements for the tournament. “As we have seen in Cape Town police took charge of the security and will be ready to do so any time”. Police in Cape Town quickly mobilised hundreds of personnel, many trainees, on Monday afternoon when guards went on strike. The personnel were rushed to the stadium, given training on the equipment they were to use and were ready for deployment in just an hour, according to an eyewitness. The witness, a police reserve officer at the match as a fan, said the police effort was superb.

Maseko further said Cabinet had been “extremely” satisfied with the way World Cup operations were progressing. “We think that fans have come out in their numbers and the match themselves have been outstanding.”

The police on Tuesday deployed about 1000 officers to conduct inner perimeter security duties at Ellis Park Stadium for the match between Brazil and North Korea after a further labour dispute between Stallion Security Consortium (Pty) Limited and stewards employed by the company.