When a leftwing rag like The Guardian (UK) has reservations about visitor safety during WC2010 perhaps it is time people started to pay closer attention. My pointing out that this article is from a leftwing source is intended for those who dismiss reports from other outlets as having a rightwing or conservative bias. By all means come and visit the country and enjoy the football but do it armed with the facts about the severity of crime in South Africa. Not one single life is worth holding this tournament and blame should fall on the heads of Fifa and the organising committee should people be killed because they believed the false assurances that their safety was guaranteed.
Stop questioning security in South Africa, trust Africans: Blatter (Sept 21, 2009)
Why going to South Africa for the World Cup terrifies me - The Guardian (UK)
South Africa is super safe! (…whenever there isn’t a crime occuring)
Questions About Security in South Africa - New York Times
Anxious Japan demand private World Cup camp
WC2010: '100% guarantee' safety of England fans
• Fans' safety doubted as theft and sex offences rise
• 41,000 security staff promised for tournament
Crime is rising in South Africa less than nine months before the country hosts the football World Cup, casting doubt on official promises that the tens of thousands of fans heading there next summer will be welcome and safe.
Despite a 3% drop in the murder rate, police statistics revealed an increase in sex offences, including rape, as well as a dramatic rise in burglaries.
In Rustenburg, tipped to be the England squad's base, cases of sex crimes, assault, robbery with aggravating circumstances and kidnapping all increased on the previous year.
Reported sex crimes also increased in the police precincts of Cape Town central, Durban central, Johannesburg central, Nelspruit, Polokwane, and Pretoria central, which are all certain to receive football supporters from around the world.
South Africa's crime rate is among the highest in the world and remains one of the chief anxieties overshadowing the biggest sporting event to be held on the African continent.
Dianne Kohler Barnard, shadow police minister and an opposition Democratic Alliance MP, said: "With the 2010 World Cup fast approaching, the usual rhetoric and empty promises must once and for all be brought to an end. We need more police, and better training; we need to deal with the backlog of 20,000 forensic laboratory samples; we need the reconstitution of specialised units, and an end to cadre deployment within our police service."
Britain's Foreign Office says there were cases in 2007 and 2008 of foreigners being followed from Johannesburg airport then robbed, often at gunpoint.
Tonight local officials brushed off the figures and insisted visitors would be secure. Rich Mkhondo, a spokesman for the 2010 local organising committee, said the belief was that the government and security forces would reduce the level of crime. "We concentrate on event security … we are going to deploy 41,000 new security officers, who are being trained as we speak. This is in addition to 700 police officers in the vicinity of the stadiums. We maintain and remain confident that the World Cup will be safe."
Last week Nathi Mthethwa, the police minister, signalled that the government was ready to enforce zero tolerance policing. The new national police commissioner, Bheki Cele, has called for officers to have the right to "shoot to kill".
The crime statistics for the 2008-09 financial year, the last to be published before the World Cup, showed that 2.1mil serious crimes were recorded. Violent crime in general was down 2.8%, but the overall crime level rose by 0.2%.
While the murder rate fell by 3%, this still represented 18,148 killings a year, one of the worst rates in the world. Street robbery was also down, by 7%, and common assault by 4%. Sexual offences rose by 10%, which the government partly attributes to the inclusion of attacks on men for the first time.
Many football fans are likely to hire vehicles when they get to South Africa. Carjackings, according to the data, show an 8% increase compared with the previous year, with nearly 15,000 incidents recorded nationally.
Mthethwa told parliament in Cape Town that small businesses and informal traders had seen a rise in violent robbery. Overall, business thefts have soared by 41% over the past year. Bank robberies dropped by 29%, and cashpoint attacks by 10%, but residential burglaries climbed by 27%. "It is one of the crimes that are most intrusive," Mthethwa said. "We simply cannot tolerate a situation where people do not feel safe in their homes."
Mthethwa said the police had begun an audit of how they deployed their resources. Critics say a lack of personnel and resources has compromised the police service and justice system, allowing many criminals to evade prosecution, with courts often dismissing cases because of poor police investigations.