How safe will it be for Football enthusiasts and tourists to visit South Africa during the World Cup? Much has been written on this topic – and even on the Arrive Alive website and road safety blogs we have commented on this topic. We have confirmed our expectations that there need not be any additional concerns and that South Africa has proven time and time again the ability to host major sports tournaments!
Recent unnecessary murders and unwanted political commentary have however dampened the spirit of many South Africans and provided much negative publicity. This unfortunately increases the levels of uncertainty and the safety – and perhaps it is time for all to reflect on what the experts have said on this topic.
So what do the experts say about safety during the 2010 World Cup?
The security precautions taken by South Africa in the run-up to the football World Cup meet the highest standards, a security expert from Germany’s parliament said.
Frank Hofmann, acting chairman of parliamentary committee on home affairs in Berlin, was speaking to the German Press Agency dpa after an information-gathering visit to South Africa.
“We are very impressed by the professionalism of the security forces, especially at the leadership level, as well as by the preparations for the World Cup in general, Hofmann, an MP for the official opposition SPD, said.
German football fans, who wanted to visit South Africa, should not be put off by “sensational headlines” about the purportedly high security threat to visitors, which, in his view, had no factual basis.
Hofmann said British tabloids were particularly to blame.
The politician was impressed by South Africa’s close cooperation with security forces from participating countries, including Germany, and international agencies such as Interpol, on its security arrangements.
“The South Africans have every reason to be confident, given their World Cup preparations,” he said, while admitting the success of a World Cup also depended to a large extent on “luck.”
South Africa’s violent crime problem, which has also received extensive coverage in German media, has been listed among the reasons for disappointing ticket sales in Europe. Many European fans have also cited cost as a deterrent.
Out of the 2.2 million tickets sold so far, Germans, who are normally among the most enthusiastic supporters, have bought only 32,269 to date. By comparison, fans in the United States, where football is a marginal sport, have bought 118,945.
British fans have bought 67,654 tickets, while South Africans have bought nearly one million.
[Story includes info from Sapa –dpa]
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