All set for Fifa preliminary draw

Eric Naki

Eric Naki

Security has been tightened in and around Durban with the arrival in the city today of Fifa president Sepp Blatter.

Blatter will be officially received at the Durban International Airport by Premier Sbu Ndebele.

This was announced after a provincial cabinet meeting yesterday considered a number of issues, but mainly focused on progress reports regarding the upcoming Fifa preliminary draw in Durban on Sunday.

"The cabinet was briefed on security arrangements for the draw and events leading to it by members of both the SAPS and NIA. Both agencies reported that security was beefed up in all the areas where activities around the draw would take place.

"This includes the Durban International Airport, hotels and the Chief Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre where the actual draw would take place," a cabinet statement said yesterday.

Security was also tightened in designated public viewing areas in Pietermaritzburg, Newcastle, Esikhawini, Harding and Ladysmith, and the Durban beach where a huge beach party is to be held on Friday.

Law enforcement agencies have already started patrolling using assorted vehicles, motorbikes, horses and also on foot.

"We have got the confidence that South Africa will ensure security for all. We have hosted big international conferences and events here in KwaZulu-Natal and people come back because of the security we provide among other things," said Ndebele yesterday.

Community safety and liaison MEC Bheki Cele assured cabinet that the SAPS were on top of things.

Among other things, Blatter is expected to make a site visit to the 2010 Moses Mabhida Stadium before the Kaizer Chiefs vs Orlando Pirates game at Absa Stadium on Saturday. The actual preliminary draw and a cocktail party will take place on Sunday.

All KwaZulu-Natal MECs will attend next week's Soccerex Football Festival, Exhibition and Conference starting in Sandton on Sunday.