/ 26 November 2007

Cops defend Selebi’s assurances

Police have defended National Commissioner Jackie Selebi’s undertaking that crime would not mar the past weekend’s World Cup qualifying draw in Durban.

”The commissioner was 100% correct in that he was talking about what the police could be responsible for,” said national police spokesperson Senior Superintendent Vish Naidoo on Monday.

Former Austrian soccer player Pieter Burgstaller was murdered on a golf course outside Durban on Friday.

And on Sunday, the briefcase of German team manager Oliver Bierhoff was stolen from his breakfast table at his hotel on Sunday.

It contained his passport and two cellphones as well as paperwork relating to the draw.

Naidoo said Burgstaller’s murder could not be linked to the draw event and was a separate issue.

”I’m not even talking about that [the murder of Burgstaller] because it happened more than 130km from the zone we were securing,” he said.

Burgstaller was found dead with a single bullet wound to the chest on Friday at the Selborne Hotel, Spa and Golf Estate in Pennington.

On the theft of Bierhoff’s briefcase, Naidoo said: ”We don’t police inside hotels, which is where the bags were stolen,” Naidoo said about the theft.

On Thursday last week, Selebi told Parliament’s safety and security committee that the draw would happen without incident.

”I assure you now no incident will happen to any of the people that are going there that are VIPs because we have put measures in place. I assure you now, if anything happens, call me on Monday,” he said.

Naidoo said the draw, the soccer match between Pirates and Chiefs and the cricket match between South Africa and New Zealand all happened without incident. — Sapa