News24

'Rivals' question 2010 safety

2010-01-19 22:12

Johannesburg - The safety of visitors to the Soccer World Cup is being questioned by "competitors" who fear losing tourists, LOC organising chairperson Irvin Khoza said on Tuesday.

"I've got a suspicion that the competitors of South Africa, they are creating this negative messaging... discouraging people coming to this country to see the beauty... for the first time," Khoza told the SABC.

"South Africans must consistently and insistently communicate the message with confidence, because we are sure about what we are doing."

He claimed the debate was being fuelled by countries that had a large share of the tourism market.

Stab-proof vests

British company Protektorvest has come under fire for offering stab-proof vests to tourists visiting the country in June and July.

On Monday the Local Organising Committee described them as an "abominable money-making ploy using fear tactics".

"Sport fans visiting South Africa have never needed stab vests. The marketing of such vests is a joke," spokesperson Rich Mkhondo said.

"They will not and will never need them during the World Cup."

The vests cost R510 and will be delivered free of charge to any hotel in Johannesburg or Pretoria. The company will also customise the vests with team or national emblems.

Cricket, rugby fans safe

Mkhondo said at no time was the safety of about 20 000 English cricket fans - who came to watch the Test series between England and South Africa - questioned.

"Similarly when the British and Irish Lion fans visited South Africa last year, no-one expressed fears for their safety."

Mkhondo said the LOC, police and the military had detailed security plans for the World Cup in place.

"We want to encourage fans travelling to South Africa to come here without any fear. They do not need any stab vests."