South African officials have assured the public that extensive security measures have been put in place to provide security during the football (soccer) Confederations Cup which kicks off on Sunday.
On the eve of the football Confederations Cup, the head of the South African Organizing Committee, Danny Jordaan, once again patiently responded to nagging inquiries over the level of security for the tournament.
"Well, the security track record of this country is second to none," he said. "We've hosted 146 major events in the country and not a single incident. We've just completed the Indian Premier League [cricket tournament] in the country; not a single incident. We have the Super 14 [rugby competition] virtually every week in the country. So, this country's track record around staging and managing safe events is equal [second] to none in the world."
Jordaan has been responding to such concerns since South Africa was awarded the rights to host the Cup five years ago. They persist because of the country's high rate of violent crime, as expressed by this Johannesburg resident who did not want to be identified.
"One of the issues that we're really concerned about is the issue of security," he said. "Because, you know, most of the places that they are going to be using for the World Cup, if you watch the news these days, the news is always reporting the issue of crime and crime and crime."
Eight-thousand police officers, assisted by army troops, have been deployed in the four cities where Confederations Cup matches are being played.
Senior Police Superintendent Vishnu Naidoo says security preparations for next year's World Cup are even more extensive and include steps to prevent undesirable foreign elements from disrupting the event.
"We're working very closely with Interpol," said Naidoo. "They are in the process of establishing what is called the Dangerous and Disruptive Persons Database which will assist us in identifying people that may pose a potential danger to the tournament as far as organized fighting or hooliganism is concerned."
He says for the World Cup, 41,000 additional police officers and 10,000 reservists are being recruited and trained. And police have purchased additional crowd control equipment, including six helicopters, 10 water cannon, 10 bomb disposal robots and 300 mobile surveillance cameras.
Naidoo added that police and defense forces also successfully carried out two security simulation exercises during the recent national elections and international cricket tournament in South Africa.
The Confederations Cup kicks off on Sunday and the World Cup opens in June of next year.