High-risk matches covered

2010-05-14 00:00

EXTRA security will be given to soccer matches featuring risk countries like Britain and the United States during the Fifa World Cup.

National Police Commissioner General Bheki Cele said the extra security will be provided to soccer matches featuring countries that have been threatened by terrorist groups.

Cele told this to media at King Shaka International Airport during an event that displayed the South African Police Force’s (SAPF) capabilities ahead of the tournament next month.

Police units like the Bomb Squad, Search and Rescue and hostage negotiators displayed procedures followed should any disaster occur during the World Cup.

In a simulated attack, a hijacked plane was rescued by a police helicopter and brought to the ground where hostage negotiators and the dog unit were on stand-by.

Cele said one of the high-risk games was the match between the United States and Britain, who will play at the Royal Bafokeng stadium in Rustenburg.

Several threats have been received by these two teams, which has resulted in the reinforcement of security around these teams.

“It has been reported that a group said it would be pleased to see the bombing of the stadium where the U.S. team was playing during the World Cup,” he said.

Cele said the worst case scenario for the SAPF would be the hijacking of a plane carrying high profile people or soccer players.

“Fighter jets have been placed in all provinces to help with security,” he said.

Cele and his team have also worked closely with Interpol and have obtained a list of “hooligans” who are heading towards the country.

He said the United Kingdom, France, Germany and the Netherlands have the most soccer offenders who will not be allowed to attend games.

To help with security, each country has been allowed to bring between six and eight police officers with them. Some countries like the United States asked to bring 12 members. However, this was still being discussed by Cele and his planning committee.

“[The officers] will only be allowed to stay for two days after their team is knocked out, and then will have to leave, unless they can pay for the rest of the event,” he said.

Community liaison MEC Willies Mchunu said South Africa will benefit from special World Cup security plans long after the event has passed.

“World Cup will play an important role in the fight against crime, Mchunu said.

“A lot of effort has been put in by government. A lot of our officers have been trained, and we believe that their skills will continue to be useful after the World Cup.”

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