/ 30 November 2009

SA’s safety record ‘second to none’, says Jordaan

Soccer World Cup organising head Danny Jordaan on Monday described South Africa’s safety record in hosting major sports events as ”second to none”, but stressed that he could not be held responsible for the country’s appalling social crime statistics.

Speaking at a business conference less than seven months before the World Cup, Jordaan said that the country had hosted top events such as the rugby and cricket world cups and the Confederations Cup without any major security problems.

”Any team you mention who has been to South Africa, they will tell you they were safe,” Jordaan said. ”When you come here we take care of everyone, from journalists, to teams, to fans. We have had 141 major sports events and we have not failed any of them in terms of safety.”

He said the country had recruited more than 140 000 extra police with 100 000 more in reserve for the June 11 to July 11 World Cup.

”We saw things happen in other countries and we don’t want to see it happen here,” Jordaan said.

But Jordaan also said he could not be held responsible for social crime.

”Societal crime isn’t my responsibility and no event in the world can accept such responsibility,” Jordaan said. ”It happens in socially deprived areas. Security for the event is my responsibility and we have not failed anyone since the start in 1994 — 15 years without a major incident.

”I think South Africa’s safety record is second to none.”

Fifa president Sepp Blatter told the conference that South Africa still had logistical problems to iron out, such as in transportation and accommodation, with about 450 000 fans due to arrive from overseas.

”But if there are problems only in logistics, they can be solved,” Blatter said. ”This is transport and accommodation. [The organisers] know about that and we trust them to do it. It is a huge country but when you can identify problems you can solve them.” — Sapa-AP