The Deputy Minister of Police, Ms Makhotso Sotyu, South African Police Service (SAPS) Divisional Commissioner for Operations Lieutenant General Elias Mawela and the Chief Executive Officer of the Local Organising Committee (LOC), Mr Mvuzo Mbebe today assured South Africans that the 29th Edition of the Orange Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2013 tournament will be safe and secure.
The assurance was made during a media briefing on the national security plans state of readiness for the AFCON, in Pretoria this morning.
The security planning for the event is coordinated by the National Joint Intelligence and Operations Structure (Natjoints) which brings together all Government departments that are involved in planning safety, security and emergency services of major events. Planning for emergencies is coordinated by the National Joint Operations Committee (Natjoc) with the support of the National Disaster Management Centre.
Natjoints started planning the event in May 2012, based on the same standards and operating procedures which are used for hosting major events hosted in South Africa including the successful model of 2010 FIFA World Cup tournament.
Deputy Minister Sotyu stated that security measures that have been put in place to ensure a safe and secure tournament, include security of teams, security at all points of entry, escorting of players to their respective training sites, hotels and to the stadium, as well police presence at hotels. "We commenced with our security planning in May this year, working with various Justice, Crime Prevention and Security cluster departments to ensure that the tournament is secure. Whilst we will be deploying our police officers to deal with security, we also want to assure South Africans that normal day-to-day policing will continue unhindered."
"We have specialised police officers to handle any eventuality that may arise and based on our experience of having hosted over 400 international events, we are confident that the tournament will be safe and secure. Whereas there will be no special courts established during the stadium, there will be dedicated investigators on standby to deal with any areas of criminality and cases will be prioritised for prosecution when the need arises," she stated.
When addressing the issues of security of fans during the tournament, Lieutenant General Mawela said: "as part of our security plan, we will be deploying what we term "spotters" around all the stadiums to identify any act of hooliganism and perpetrators will be removed and arrested on the spot. We are also working with our regional counterparts including Interpol to assist in identifying hooligans before they even arrive in the country or at the stadiums."
"More importantly our security plans includes putting in place measures aimed at preventing human trafficking, as previous experience has indicated that such crimes tend to increase during the hosting of such tournaments. That is why we will be intensifying our operations around all our points of entries around land, sea and air as such we want to assures all citizens that we will not drop our guards in fighting crime, including prostitution. Those who think they will have a flourishing business out of prostitution, we will make sure that their businesses do not thrive," added Lieutenant General Mawela.
Mr Mvuzo Mbebe expressed his satisfaction on the work of the NATJOINTS and guaranteed the media that the tournament will be as safe as any measure event that this country is accustomed to, if not better.
All the Security for LOC and Confederation of African Football (CAF) events which have taken place to date have been coordinated by Natjoints and their respective counterparts. This includes the Preliminary Draw, the CAF Inspections and the Final Draw. The SAPS and the LOC are in close liaison with the Embassies of the 15 Participating Countries to ensure exchange of information, continuous risk assessment and integrated planning. An information session with the Ambassadors of the 15 countries is will be held in due course.
Natjoints and the LOC are also taking measures to address some of the lessons learnt from the 2010 FIFA World Cup. This includes dealing with the strikes and the intrusion in dressing rooms at Cape Town Stadium.