Correctional Services said that “matters are under control” at Johannesburg’s Sun City Prison on Wed.
Charles Nqakula, Safety and Security Minister, is satisfied with the 2010 Fifa World Cup preparations, saying it augurs well for a great global soccer showpiece.
Nqakula, who also sits on the Local Organising Committee board, shares his thoughts with Ramatsiyi Moholoa.
RM: Safety and security is the most important aspect when a country hosts a big event like the 2010 World Cup finals. As South Africa, are we are ready in so far as your department (the South African Police Service) is concerned and is there a budget for the tournament?
CN: The SAPS was allocated budgets for procurement as well as deployment and they are approximately R645 million and R665 million, respectively. These budgets are specifically for security preparation for 2010.
RM: Is there a special unit that the government has assigned or is training to deal specifically with the tournament?
CN: No, there is no special unit as such, but there are experienced officers throughout the country that have been involved in many a successful event here in SA as well as abroad that will form part of a joint team.
Also, younger policemen and women are exposed locally and internationally to gain the necessary experience to form part of the operational team.
RM: Who is in charge of such operations and how many police officers will be responsible for the World Cup?
CN: Commissioner Andre Pruis is in charge overall and he is the chairperson for the national joints (joint operational and intelligence structure).
Having said that, a similar structure exists on each provincial level where the provincial commissioner or deputy provincial commissioner responsible for operation will be in charge of his or her province.
There will be little over 41 000 police officers, including 10 000 reservists, dedicated to the security for the Fifa 2010 World Cup.
RM: And our relationship with the municipal police and South African National Defence Force in preparing for the tournament?
CN: We have for several decades worked closely with several external agencies and other security forces in the SANDF and metro police. This relationship still exists today.
RM: Is there any help you will be getting from some of the countries who have hosted similar big tournaments, like the Germans (2006 World Cup hosts)?
CN: We will certainly be requiring assistance from other countries, particularly countries that will be participating in the tournament in 2010. We are certain that we will not have a problem importing our counterparts. We will be meeting these officers primarily to overcome language and cultural barriers.
RM: Any plans to mobilise ordinary South Africans to serve as volunteers in safety and security operations during the tournament?
CN: Absolutely, but this will be executed by the national and local organising committees.
RM: What role will the community policing forums play?
CN: The community police forums and other supporting bodies like Business Against Crime and religious bodies are critical entities in our fight against crime. They will certainly play a significant role as they are now. However, in terms of the tournament itself their role is not clearly defined.
RM: Are there some areas of concern ahead of the World Cup?
CN: Information and intelligence is constantly being updated, but there are no particular concerns at this stage.
RM: Is there any cooperation agreement with the police in other southern African countries for the tournament?
CN: Yes, the same would apply with our southern Africa countries as it would with participating countries.
RM: Everybody is talking about the 2010 World Cup legacy projects, what would you say will be the projects for the police force?
CN: The SAPS is already internationally renowned for its policing abilities with regard to major events. To this end, we were required to assist in policing events in other countries for several years.
Given the magnitude of the World Cup in 2010, it will set a standard that will be talked about for decades, if not generations, and that none may be able to surpass. Most importantly, it will tell the world that South Africa is indeed the best destination for any tourist, business or (any other) event.
RM: Are we going to have a single centre where the 2010 World Cup safety and security operations will be handled. Still on that one, are we going to have mobile police stations around the venues where the matches will be played?
CN: We will certainly have dedicated police stations which will be the closest station to the stadiums. We will also have mobile command centers at each of the venues.
RM: There have been serious crime activities reported at the OR Tambo International Airport, where tourists are targeted. What are you doing to deal with that problem at that airport?
CN: Strategies have already been put in place - hence there has been no (further) reports of serious crimes linked to the airport.