There has been a substantial amount of media coverage on South Africa’s preparedness for the FIFA 2010 World Cup. Besides the logistics related issues, one of the primary concerns has been around World Cup security. And no, Wonkie is not talking about the risk of someone stealing the lovely golden FIFA trophy itself – although that thought must surely have crossed through some entrepreneurial local minds.
The 2010 soccer world cup is the highest profile international event South Africa has hosted yet. Such an event would be considered a prize target for a terrorist strike because of the global reach of the coverage – it is quite literally the biggest recurring media event internationally in terms of viewership.
South Africa’s reputation abroad in terms of security is not great – not just in terms of crime in South Africa, but also in terms of the proliferation of dodgy passports (apparently according to Professor Hussein Solomon, head of the International Institute of Islamic Studies at the University of Pretoria, many al-Qaeda terrorists that have been arrested abroad were in possession of a South African passport). Add that to the recent report of South African Revenue Services (SARS) tax refunds that were allegedly fraudulently diverted to fund terrorist activity and one can see why the likes of Barack Obama are concerned about visiting the country next month.
Some 43 heads of states, unfortunately not including Barack Obama, have already provisionally confirmed their attendance.
Wonkie’s quote of the week:
“One challenge is the American president who is coming, not coming, coming, not coming … We are told that if it goes to the second or third stage, the US president may come. At the moment we have 43 heads of state provisionally confirmed. That 43 will be equal to this one operation. … It is 50-50. Our famous prayer is that the Americans don’t make the second round.”
– South African police commissioner Bheki Cele to Parliament’s portfolio committee, discussing the potential havoc if Mr Obama were to come watch the game, and have a Bud in person.
May nothing interrupt the festive vuvuzela blowing and beer drinking over the next two months. This event is South Africa’s moment to shine on the world stage and judging by the preparations at all levels, it will.
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