SouthAfrica.info (Johannesburg)

18 January 2013

South Africa: All Set for 'Safe, Enjoyable' Afcon 2013

Soccer fans attending the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) tournament in South Africa can be assured of a safe, enjoyable experience.

The South African Police Service (SAPS) and SA National Defence Force (SANDF) have assured visiting Afcon fans that they will be protected from the moment they arrive at the country's ports of entry.

Joints operations centre

Addressing the media in Pretoria on Thursday, the SAPS's Lieutenant-General Elias Mawela said that all Afcon security operations would be coordinated through a national joint operational and intelligence structure (Natjoints).

Situated in Pretoria, and fitted with the most sophisticated technology, Natjoints will be manned by representatives from the SAPS, SANDF, Metro Police, Intelligence agencies and representatives from various government departments.

It will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week for the duration of the tournament, which runs from 19 January through 10 February.

Natjoints started operating on 10 January and will continue with its operations until 19 February. Natjoints structures will be duplicated in other host provinces.

"The mandate is to plan, implement, execute and monitor all inter-departmental and cross-provincial operations affecting safety, security and stability in the Republic of South Africa," Mawela said.

He added that much had been done to ensure that soccer fans enjoyed the tournament.

According to Mawela, Natjoints had been successfully coordinating major events for the past 12 years, including the 2003 cricket and the 2010 soccer World Cups and various international conferences, the most recent being COP 17.

Police along all routes, in stadiums, on trains

He said police would be deployed along all major routes leading to the stadiums, adding that "spotters" would be deployed inside and outside the stadiums during matches to ensure that trouble makers were immediately identified and removed from the stadiums.

Air-space restrictions will also be in force over all stadiums used for the Afcon tournament.

Police officials will also be deployed in trains to ensure the safety of fans travelling to and from the stadiums.

Mawela added that there would be a team of dedicated detectives dealing with all Afcon-related cases.

National Police Commissioner Ria Phiyage expressed confidence in the Afcon security strategy, saying she was certain all would go according to plan.

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