Pretoria – The South African Police Service has assured football fans of adequate security at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations tournament which takes place from Jan. 19 to Feb. 10.
“Everything is in place with regards to security; we started planning for the tournament as early as May this year,” the Deputy Minister of Police, Maggie Sotyu, told newsmen in Pretoria on Tuesday.
“ Both national and international screening regarding the participating 16 teams has been completed.
“Security will be provided for all the teams, including Bafana Bafana 24/7,’’ Sotyu said.
She added that security would be tightened at all the entry points into the country.
“We will strengthen security at all ports of entry during this period, especially our borders, airports, seaports and border points.
“All the teams would be provided round the clock security; from the airport to their hotels, their training sessions and to match venues; to ensure maximum security for them,’’she said.
Sotyu also disclosed that a permanent detachment of police officers will be deployed to all the hotels where the participating teams will be staying.
She also said that Home Affairs was ready to handle the movement of both people and goods simultaneously at the country’s various entry points.
“We also have our own police officers that we’ve trained, with regard to assisting at the ports of entry; in case we need more man power.
“Buses carrying players will be escorted by the police at all times; each and every movement of the buses carrying the teams will be covered by the police,” she said.
The deputy police minister also said that special courts to try criminal cases during the tournament will not be set up this time around.
“Dedicated investigators would be in place to focus on the cases that may come up during the tournament.
“While there would be the normal procedure of handling the cases, especially criminal cases during the tournament which would be prioritised in the courts of law,’’ Sotyu said.
On the issue of crowd control she pointed out that the police were going to put adequate measures in place to keep the crowd under control in and outside the stadiums.
Meanwhile Lt. Gen. Elias Mawela, the Chairperson of the National Joint Intelligence Structure (NATJOINTS) said part of the security concept to effectively contain any form of hooliganism was also in place.
“Part of our security concept to deal with hooliganism in and around the stadiums would entail the positioning of ‘spotters’ amongst the spectators to identity the so-called hooligans.
“Once they have been identified, they are to remove them from the stadium and taken into police custody.
“We would ensure that we have a rapport with the intelligence community that we are working with in the region, consisting the Southern African Regional Police Chief Council Organisation (SARPCCO), and Interpol.
“They will also assist us to monitor the movement of people coming to our country for the tournament,” he said.
SARPCCO is an official forum comprising of all the police chiefs in the Southern Africa region.
Mawela added that known football hooligans from neighbouring countries would be apprehended before they set foot in South Africa.
“We are not going to lower our high standards, which we are known for in the hosting of landmark events,’’he said.
He stressed that alternate plans would be adopted for the security guards, who will be working at the stadiums.
“We have plan D and even plan E, for the private security guards.
“We have a reserve group at a national level that can be moved around the country at short notice.
“We have contingency funds in place to ensure the quick dispatch of personnel to the affected stadium.
“There will not be any problem with regards to this issue,” Mwela said.
The 2013 AFCON will hold from Jan.19 to Feb. 10 in five centres across South Africa, the country will be hosting the competition for the second time since 1996.(NAN)