South Africa pledges funds to secure safe World Cup
JOHANNESBURG: South Africa has pledged to spend more than 1.2 billion rand (77.6 million pounds) on security for the 2010 World Cup, while admitting that the country is battling a perception that it is unsafe."We have a challenge of making sure we are able to better communicate our successes," Deputy Safety and Security Minister Susan Shabangu told a media briefing in Johannesburg on Saturday."There has been a decline in general crime in the last year but the biggest challenge in South Africa is in the area of contact crime."The number of brutal crimes and house robberies are some of the areas that are of concern to us."South Africa also has one of the highest murder rates in the world and was last week described as a "killing field" by its own Safety and Security Minister Nathi Mthethwa.Saturday, Shabangu said the country had to ensure laws were made stiffer and police officers were better trained to ensure a significant deduction in crime."We are confident we will be better than where we are today when it comes to crime prevention," she added.The South African police were planning to spend 640 million rand on the development of 41,000 officers for the World Cup, the briefing was told.The force had also embarked on a massive recruitment drive to increase its numbers to almost 200,000 by the time of the tournament, Deputy Police Commissioner Andre Pruis told the briefing.A further 625 million rand is being spent on procuring special security equipment for the month-long tournament, while 10 mobile command centres costing around 6 million rand each were also in the pipeline.FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke said he wanted the 2010 World Cup to be the safest event ever organised."We must have a secure environment for all visitors to the World Cup," he said."That''s the commitment of the South African government to FIFA and from FIFA to all the people attending the World Cup."