cops take over security at world cup stadiums

POLICE have taken over security at Moses Mabhida in Durban, Green Point in Cape Town, and Soccer City and Ellis Park in Johannesburg, and will move into other stadiums if workers go on strike.

POLICE have taken over security at Moses Mabhida in Durban, Green Point in Cape Town, and Soccer City and Ellis Park in Johannesburg, and will move into other stadiums if workers go on strike.

Spokesperson Brigadier Sally de Beer said hundreds of police trainees were also on standby to help handle the situation if the need arose.

Police say they will not call in the army for help because they believe they have the capacity to deal with any situation in the country.

Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa's spokesperson Zweli Mnisi said there was enough capacity in the police force to provide security at "hotspot" stadiums which have been marred by protest actions. Mnisi said 190000 police officers were recruited and trained, and that 42000 of them were earmarked for the tournament, and that there was no need for the army to be roped in.

"These officers were trained in crowd control and can handle riots and violence. The security around the World Cup is a joint effort with other departments such as Home Affairs. Our officers are ready."

Cosatu said it supported its members who went on strike as they were fighting for what was rightfully theirs. About 500 guards and stewards went on the rampage at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Sunday over "inadequate" wages.

The altercation with the police took place in the glare of the international media, minutes after the final whistle of the match between Germany and Australia.

Police had to use rubber bullets and teargas to disperse the marauding guards.

In Cape Town, angry fans were left stranded when security officials, who were due to monitor the match between Italy and Paraguay, walked off the job - also complaining of low wages.

The stadium was said to be half-full moments before kickoff because important security measures could not be carried out. Both groups of security guards are employed by Stallion Security.

Fifa's local organising committee spokesperson Rich Mkhondo distanced his organisation and Fifa from the embarrassing impasse.

"This was not a Fifa- related matter," Mkhondo said. "There was a wage dispute between employer and employees, and we have communicated our wish (to both parties) to have the matter resolved as it makes the country look bad."

LOC chief executive officer Danny Jordaan also rebuked the protesters. "This is an employer-employee wage dispute. Although we have respect for workers' rights, we find it unacceptable for them to disrupt match day proceedings and will not hesitate to take action in such instances."

Police spokesperson Vish Naidu confirmed that the police had taken over security at both stadiums.

"We have deployed sufficient personnel to take care of security at both stadiums. I won't give figures but we will be there as long as is required of us," Naidu said.

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