A national operations room, or nerve centre, to monitor and report all incidents during the 2010 FIFA World Cup event, was being set up, government spokesperson Themba Maseko said on Friday. Reporting on the last meeting held by 2010 FIFA World Cup Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC), which is led by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, Maseko noted that the IMC was confident about the country’s readiness for the event, as commitment levels were high and many of the guarantees were being delivered on time.

Security arrangements, national disaster management, protocol services, protocol for public viewing areas (PVAs) and the opening and closing ceremonies of the event had been discussed during the IMC meeting. “The report on security arrangements indicated that plans are being operationalised in all provinces and host cities. These include training of officers responsible for command and control centres, general policing, crowd control and specialised units responsible for airspace control, organised crime, counterterrorism and human trafficking,” stated Maseko.

He added that the vetting of service providers and the training of private security offices employed by the local organising committee (LOC) was also under way. Maseko emphasised that while government was not aware of any specific terrorist threats, it had to be prepared for every eventuality. Meanwhile, a national guidelines document in terms of national disaster management for the 2010 FIFA World Cup has been developed and distributed to all relevant stakeholders. The operations room would link up to smaller operations centres in the nine provinces, the host cities and at the stadiums themselves.

Maseko further pointed out that the IMC had encouraged the Department of Arts and Culture to work closely with the LOC to organise the opening and closing ceremonies of the event “in a manner that will truly reflect commitment to an African World Cup by ensuring that the warmth and spirit of Africa is reflected”. Zukile Nomvete, DG for 2010 at the Department of Sports, said that the budget for these ceremonies had not yet been determined, as it was working closely with five other African countries participating in the 2010 FIFA World Cup, as well as with some commercial partners. Meanwhile, Maseko noted that guidelines for setting up PVAs for fans who were unable to attend the football matches, have been developed and would be distributed to provinces and municipalities in due course.