5 June 2002

South Africa: Police Serrvice Ready to Provide Security At Summit

Pretoria — The South Africa Police Service (SAPS) says it is well prepared and ready to ensure the safety of thousands of delegates expected to attend the forthcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg.

The announcement comes amid intelligence reports hinting the absence of any threat to the gathering or dignitaries.

At least more than 60 000 delegates, including 130 heads of state and thousands of journalists, are expected to gather at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg from 26 August to 4 September.

They will thrash out some global issues that impact on sustainable development, socio-economic and environmental issues, and poverty eradication in developing countries.

The United Nation's largest gathering will also discuss global inequalities in accessing water, food, energy and education, amongst others.

National police commissioner Jackie Selebi's office says the delegates, visiting dignitaries, Gauteng residents, businesspeople and commuters need not worry about their safety.

'A large number of police officials will be deployed in the environs of the Summit and normal policing will continue in Gauteng as well as in all other provinces,' said Mr Selebi's office.

The SAPS said due to the enormity of the task, it has since established a national priority committee, chaired by the elite VIP Protection Service, to coordinate and plan all operations necessary to ensure that appropriate security measures are in place during the event.

At its monthly meetings, all information gathered by the intelligence community is closely monitored and plans made and altered accordingly.

'Precautionary measures for any eventuality have been put in place, including routine problems encountered at large gatherings of this nature such as traffic congestions, illegal gatherings and marches.' As part of security measures, police will shut down strategic areas and roads, especially where the presidential motorcade would be passing through.

Meanwhile, South African security agencies have in the past shown a good track record of pulling out international gatherings of this magnitude with ease.

Such previous events included the Non Aligned Movement summit, World Conference on Racism in Durban, the Rugby World Cup, and the African Cup of Nations.

'We will again prove that we are one of the most efficient and committed police services in the world,' the SAPS said confidently.

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