The police are ready to protect everyone here for next week’s FIFA soccer World Cup, Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa says. “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 (VVIPs).”
Mthethwa, along with the police leadership and the country’s nine safety and security MECs, have again said that the provinces are ready to secure all citizens and visitors during the June 11-July 11 event. “Police have been preparing for the 2010 FIFA World Cup since 2004 by adopting a working-together approach,” Mthethwa says. “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. Now we are ready to put the plan into action.”
“The preparations have helped in identifying certain discrepancies which may have existed; such as vetting of security companies, hotels or stadia which have been effectively addressed,” he adds. “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.”
National police commissioner General Bheki Cele at a media event yesterday followed the same line. “We are ready for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Our police, supported by the international counterparts who are already in the country, are feeling it. We have also activated the International Police Committee, which closely works with the NATJOINTS (Natinal Joint Operational Intelligence Structure) for the overall security management. If one looks at this operational centre, it indeed reflects a ‘united nations’.
The general again stated that there is no known threats to the tournament. “We are continuously engaging with the intelligence teams of all the teams and these bilateral cooperations enable us to plan ahead. We have a 24-hour hotline with 19 other agencies, including Interpol. We also have full access to Interpol database if we have any international issue we may want to confirm.”
He further emphasised that the deployment or focus of security agencies towards the 2010 FIFA World Cup, will not hamper normal policing as contingency plans from a personnel perspective, intensified operations in and around non-hosting cities will continue unhindered. Some 44 000 police – out of about 190 000 – are assigned to the event.
Mthethwa further urged all visitors to familiarise themselves with SA law and to comply “because there will be no favours or compromise on any criminality.