THE 2010 Fifa World Cup Local Organising Committee has assured soccer fans that the recent spate of mall robberies would not affect the biggest sporting event to be staged in South Africa next year.
LOC spokesperson Rich Mkhondo said yesterday they had a comprehensive security plan in place to ensure that the soccer spectacle takes place without any problems.
"We are confident that the 2010 Fifa World Cup will go on and be successfully completed without any security problems," he said.
Mkhondo said 41000 police officers would be deployed in all the host cities while hundreds would be specifically around the stadia. He said all of them would be sent for specialised training.
"Criminals will not succeed in destabilising the World Cup," said a confident Mkhondo.
He said the country had over the past 15 years hosted more than 10 major events without any problems.
Daring robbers have attacked nine malls around Gauteng in the past week, raising fears that criminals would disrupt the showpiece. Three people lost their lives in the attacks, while six others were wounded and 10 suspects arrested.
New national Police Commissioner Bheki Cele's spokesperson Nonkululeko Mbatha promised that "police would be equal to the task".
When asked if the attacks were a test to see if Cele would walk the talk, Mbatha said: "There were complaints about crime before Cele took over. The only difference is that we have had many malls robbed in one week."
Gauteng MEC for safety Khabisi Mosunkutu said yesterday that more heavily armed police would now be deployed at the country's malls.
Mbatha said the public should not fear.
"Police will be tough," she said.