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Military base to cater for world cup security

Date: 24 April 2008

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Graeme Hosken.

The area around Pretoria will play a pivotal role in the security of the Fifa 2010 World Cup tournament. This was announced by the SANDF during a high-level military media briefing in the capital yesterday.

The air force's Mobile Deployment Wing, which is commonly known as Snake Valley, is to be used as the joint operations centre for the tournament because of its excellent military facilities. Rear Adm. Philip Schoultz made the announcement while briefing the media about the SANDF's joint operations division's work and capabilities.

Explaining why the facility had been chosen, Schoultz said Snake Valley, which is situated next to Air Force Base Zwartkops, was central and thus allowed for a rapid response to any location in the country.

"As well as this, the facillitly also has good runways, which allow for quick aircraft take-offs for any reaction forces or security personnel responding to any threat," he said.

Vowing to be alert for any security threat to the competition, Schoultz said they were "more than prepared."

While precise security details are being kept under tight wraps, the defence force said it was leaving nothing to chance when it came to ensuring security.

"While the organising committee will be responsible for security inside the stadiums, it will be the SANDF and the SAPS which will be taking care of things around the event venues.

"Security preparations, which are unique in that they are for the first time being given jointlyto a defence force and police service, started more than a year ago," he said. He also said that the security arrangements entailed land,
air and sea operations.

"When it comes to land we will be involved in establishing reaction forces which will assist at each venue with potential disasters, ranging from biochemical attacks to stampedes caused by possible stadium collapses. Mindful that criminals like to attack soft targets, we will also be providing protection along the country's highways and will be involved in the establishment of advice centres for tourists and spectators. When it comes to maritime security we will be there to deal with any cruise ships and other vessels that arrive with tourists and spectators."

It is believed that maritime measures include stopping and searching ships out at sea before allowing them to dock.

With regards to air protection, Schoultz said there would be constant patrols by the air force to keep the skies above stadiums and other venues clear.

"We will also be dealing with the command and control centres in support of the police, who will be using specialised security monitoring equipment during the tournament."

Warning that thely could not divulge too much about security preparations for fear of tipping off criminal organisations, the SANDF's Chief of Joint Operations, Lt.Genrl Temba Matanzima, said the plans were still being finalised.

"These plans are not yet cast in stone and will grow as the event approaches." he said.

Source: The Star

 


 
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