LOC: Red-light district proposal not discussed

The 2010 World Cup local organising committee (LOC) has not discussed police National Commissioner Jackie Selebi’s proposal to legalise prostitution and public drinking for the duration of the tournament.

Speaking at a press briefing in Johannesburg on Tuesday, LOC chief executive Danny Jordaan said the committee had noted the idea but had not made any decisions.

“It just an idea, but we have noted the idea,” said Jordaan.

LOC chairperson Irvin Khoza said the committee would discuss the matter at their next board meeting in June.

“I can’t comment as I [would be making] ... a comment on behalf of the board.
We will discuss the suggestions in our next board meeting and brief you at the next press conference,” Khoza told the media.

As part of the safety campaigns for 2010, Selebi proposed to the safety and security committee in Parliament last week that prostitution and public drinking be legalised.

He said it did not make sense to arrest all the prostitutes or fans drinking in public and suggested that government adopt innovate ways of controlling public drinking and prostitution.

His comments have been slated by opposition parties and Doctors for Life International, who said his suggestions were “appalling”.

Khoza also acknowledged that Zimbabwe’s political crisis needed to be solved urgently to ensure that the 2010 World Cup in South Africa was not interrupted.

He was concerned about the crisis in Zimbabwe as the country was one of the proposed camping bases for teams participating in the World Cup.

“Yes, we are concerned about the spill-over in terms of the security reasons for the 2010 World Cup. The matter has to obviously be solved urgently as Zimbabwe is one of the proposed basing camps for the World Cup,” said Khoza.

On Monday, Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai warned that the crisis in Zimbabwe could blight the pride Africa had taken in South Africa being selected to host the 2010 World cup.

Said Khoza: “We are happy that Tsvangirai himself has expressed confidence in our president [Thabo Mbeki] and we ourselves are confident that our president will be able to broker the situation before the 2010 World Cup.”

Fifa general secretary Urs Linsi said he was pleased with the progress made by the LOC.

“The progress is visible. We are pleased with what has been achieved. We were happy with our first inspection of the building of the stadiums, but we are still in development phases. We have to make sure that the millions of fans who will arrive here are comfortable and safe,” said Linsi.

Khoza also announced that the LOC would appoint a chief operating officer to take care of the more than 650 projects related to the tournament.

A committee comprising Khoza, Jordaan, South African Football Association president Molefi Oliphant and Deputy Finance Minister Jabu Moleketi would take of the appointment.

“A notice will go out this weekend notifying people of the post. We will then make an announcement once things have been finalised,” said Khoza.

Meanwhile, Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has been appointed to the board of the LOC, while Ron Delmont from the United States has been appointed as the head of the Fifa office in South Africa.

Delmont replaces Australian Michael Palmer, who has resigned for personal reasons.—Sapa

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