R1.3 billion for World Cup safety

2010-04-20 16:55

President Jacob Zuma said the government had a R1.3 billion war chest to ensure safety and security during the World Cup.

The month-long soccer tournament, which starts in the second week of June, is expected to see an influx of foreign tourists visiting the country and concerns over security threats have been raised.

Speaking at the opening of the R2.2 billion new central terminal building at the OR Tambo International Airport in Kempton Park, Zuma said the war chest was over and above the “routine” security budget.

“Both genuine and alarmist concerns have been raised about safety and security during the tournament. We took these into consideration years ago when we started our planning.

“We have a comprehensive security plan, which includes addressing terror threats, hooliganism and general crime,” Zuma said.

He said the government would set up special World Cup courts to handle criminal offences during the tournament. The courts – which will include at least one district court and a regional court per host city – will start working two weeks before the tournament, and shut down two weeks after the World Cup.

“Dedicated, skilled and experienced magistrates, prosecutors, attorneys, local and foreign court language interpreters will be assigned to each of the 2010 (World Cup) dedicated courts within each province.

“Therefore, budding offenders, local and foreign, can be assured of instant and efficient justice,” Zuma said.

The president said the investment in World Cup-related infrastructure, such as roads and stadiums, had helped alleviate poverty and was likely to inject R4.9 billion into the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

The ugrades to the airport means it can handle a higher traffic volume – about 28 million passengers a year.

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