Visitors have nothing to fear

THE government has assured more than 500000 tourists who will visit South Africa during the 2010 Fifa World Cup not to waste their time worrying about their safety.

THE government has assured more than 500000 tourists who will visit South Africa during the 2010 Fifa World Cup not to waste their time worrying about their safety.

Deputy Minister of Police Fikile Mbalula said security would be tighter than ever at all the World Cup venues and South Africa in general.

Mbalula was speaking in Polokwane at the official opening of the new Peter Mokaba Sports Complex on Saturday, one of the 10 stadiums for the World Cup.

"We want to assure everybody who will be coming to South Africa that their safety is our first priority. South Africa is not a war zone.

"We are not Afghanistan or Baghdad, South Africa is a peaceful country and people coming here for the Cup will enjoy themselves.

"South Africa has hosted a successful 2009 Confederations Cup, there were no problems and all the teams were impressed with the level of security."

Fifa, led by president Sepp Blatter and secretary-general Jerome Valcke, have also commended South Africa on the World Cup security plan.

The South African Police Service has put aside R640million for the deployment of 41000 police officers specifically for World Cup, comprising 31000 permanent members and 10000 reservists. The 32 participating countries will send their own specially trained police officers to assist with language and cultural differences, working closely with the SAPS.

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