'No mercy for 2010 criminals'
Cape Town - South Africa will act swiftly and "with no mercy" against criminals and terrorists who threaten the 2010 Soccer World Cup, warns Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa.
The country had spent R665m on special equipment, including state-of-the-art military technology, and would spend a further R640m to deploy 41 000 police and security officials for the event, he said in a statement published on the African National Congress SA Today website.
"An amount of R665m has been spent on procuring special equipment, including crowd-control equipment, crime scene trainers, helicopters, 10 water cannons, 100 BMWs for highway patrol and up-to-date body armour.
At least 300 mobile cameras will also be used. There will be four mobile command centres at a cost of around R6m each.
These centres will feature high-tech monitoring equipment, which will be able to receive live footage from the airplanes and other cameras.
Mthethwa said: "The SAPS will spend further R640m on the deployment of 41 000 officers specifically for the 2010 Soccer World Cup event.
"Recruitment and event-specific training for this force is under way. It is on a massive recruitment drive to increase general police numbers by 55 000 to over 190 000.
"The number of police reservists will also double before the FIFA 2010 Soccer World Cup, from 45 000 members to 100 000.
"So, by the time the 2010 Soccer World Cup starts, South Africa will have a significantly larger and well-trained police service."
Mthethwa warned the world was plagued by terrorism, and its perpetrators were prepared to kill and maim innocent people.
"This we will not allow to happen on our home soil. We are prepared for any eventuality. Any type of deviant behaviour, be it criminality or terrorism, will be dealt with swiftly and with no mercy," he said.
The police minister also referred to media organisation e.tv's controversial broadcast last week involving unidentified criminals, who said they were planning to prey on World Cup tourists.
"With the resources at our disposal and co-operation we have received so far, we would be able to know who will be attending what matches.
"This enables us to plan ahead and thwart evil intentions of the scoundrels, even those who were given prominence and hiding places by the media houses.
"One has been nabbed and will face the full might of the law whilst his accomplice and partner in crime decided to take his own life," Mthethwa said.
His statement includes general details of the security arrangements that will be in place during the World Cup, set to kick off five months from now.
- providing each visiting team with a special police intervention force;
- a special focus on border security at points of entry into the country;
- bolstering the security drive with a fleet of forty helicopters;
- intensified security along routes leading into host cities, specifically routes to airports; and
- special police focus on accommodation establishments, hotels, FIFA headquarters, stadiums, fan parks, restaurants and tourist venues.
"Our task as citizens of this beautiful country is to make sure that our visitors enjoy our warmth, hospitality, and generosity of our spirit and are treated with outmost [sic] care. This is what we Africans are known for and this is Africa's time," Mthethwa said.