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Monday, June 28, 2010

South Africa and the World Cup

History is in the making this summer as South Africa becomes the first African country to host the FIFA World Cup. Preparations began in 2004 with security being a major concern. Upgrades were made on five existing stadiums with an additional five venues built to host the myriad of matches. These ten venues are spread throughout the country, increasing the transportation and security challenges. Over 40,000 police officers have been deployed for the World Cup, which will cost the SA government over $70 million. An additional $74 million was spent on equipment and services, including helicopters, unmanned aircraft, mobile command vehicles, and body armor. Transportation infrastructure, to include public transportation, metro systems, and major roadways. Special security measures were implemented to insure the safety of all athletes and visitors.

Security plans for the country and its borders have been increased greatly, to include escorting cruise ships into port from international waters. Fighter jets are being used to clear air space during the matches and to monitor previously declined “no fly zones.” Bomb squads are standing by for each match. Each country’s team has been assigned a security liason officer who organizes travel routes, security at the hotel, and chasing down any potential threats.

Bottom Line: South Africa is prepared. Albeit, not for everything, but for somethings. And that, is the first step.