Stampede not a World Cup concern

2010-06-07 14:08
Tammy Sutherns
The stampede that left 16 people injured at a Tembisa stadium in Johannesburg “is not a concern for the World Cup”, said Brigadier Sally de Beer, spokesperson for the South African Police Service (SAPS).

She said the stadium, which is not a World Cup stadium, was smaller, there were no turn styles to control the influx of people and there were not enough police officers deployed.

While De Beer said the incident was regrettable, she said: “It was different circumstances to the World Cup.”

She said the security plans for the World Cup meant that each South African police division, including the SAPS, metro and city police, had a task and would be deployed at matches to ensure an incident like this did not occur.

She also said that they would be notified timeously and deploy relevant police officers to future friendly matches to make sure a stampede would not occur again.

In response to the stampede, Fifa and the Local Organising Committee (LOC) released a statement today that said: “Fifa and the LOC would like to first wish a prompt recovery to those who have been affected by these incidents. In addition, Fifa and the LOC would like to reiterate that this friendly match has no relation whatsoever to the operational organisation of the 2010 Fifa World Cup, for which we remain fully confident.”

In preparation for the World Cup, the SAPS recruited 55 000 new police offices over the past five years.

The force will make sure there is border control, route security, city security and crowd management at the World Cup games.

Senior superintendent Vish Naidoo, spokesperson for the SAPS, said: “We have managed to allocate more than the required capacity for the tournament. There is going to be high visibility of police officers during 2010. Visibility of police officers has proven to be the most effective strategy to combat crime.”

The Makhulong Stadium in Tembisa saw 14 soccer fans and two policemen injured in the stampede at a warm-up match between Nigeria and North Korea.

De Beer said the soccer fans had minor injuries. However, the most seriously injured was one of the policemen. She said he had a broken arm and broken ribs, but “he is stable and doing well”.