Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa on Tuesday sought to allay fears that the 2010 World Cup would be marred by crime.

“South Africa has hosted over a hundred international events since democracy… each time there has been anxiety,” he told the National Press Club in Pretoria.

“The message is we would welcome visitors again. The Confederations Cup was a success, even then there were sceptics, but we were ready to welcome visitors,” he said in response to a question posed by a representative of the British Embassy.

England recently qualified to participate in the soccer spectacular next year. The British press has raised concerns over safety and security during the World Cup, which should see around 30 000 Britons visiting South Africa.

Since the day South Africa won the bid to host the event, the country had been preparing for the event, he said.

“The department has worked in partnership with other government departments for the hosting of the successful Fifa Confederations Cup. All required security measures were put in place to ensure effective safety during the hosting of this event.

“The tournament further assisted in highlighting areas of our security plans that need further refinement ahead of the Fifa 2010 Soccer World Cup,” Mthethwa said.

National police commissioner Bheki Cele told the briefing he was fitting well into his new position as the country’s top cop. He expressed confidence South Africa’s men and women in blue would win the war against crime.

“One thing I know for sure is that we are winning the war… we are and we will win the war against criminality.”

Cele had recently met all the police station commissioners as well the managers at police headquarters.

“We must make sure that the vehicle is fixed… so that this long trip, the fight against crime can be taken with a healthy vehicle.”

The fight against crime included corruption within the police force. – Sapa

DATED: 15th September 2009