cops get 70 000 phones for cup

THE country's three cellphone giants, in partnership with the Ministry of Communications, yesterday gave 70 000 cell phones to the South African Police Service.

The Police Ministry hailed the donation from Communications Minister Siphiwe Nyanda, MTN, Vodacom and Cell C as a major resource boost ahead of the World Cup kickoff on Friday.

Speaking in Pretoria, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said: "The donation will improve communication among our members and will have an impact on crime levels.

"In turn this will lead to society and our visitors from across the globe having greater confidence in the police."

He emphasised that this gesture represented more than a donation, but served as a motivating factor and a boost in the fight against crime.

"Crime has the potential to destroy our social and economic goals by derailing business growth and compromising the safety of our citizens.

"But the government is in control of the crime situation."

The ministry said in a statement that challenges facing the police department required it to be innovative in dealing with the issue of crime.

This, whether one looked at information, communication and technology, human resource or re-skilling of police.

"Part of this approach entails utilizing all the resources at our disposal to deal with criminals," the statement said.

Mthethwa said the ministry believed the donation "was but one of the many positive steps you took, which will benefit the whole country during and after the 2010 Fifa World Cup".

He once again assured all South Africans and visitors currently in the country that the police would ensure a safe and secure World Cup.

"South Africa is ready. We are ready. The police have gone beyond feeling it. We are touching it because it is here," he said.