One of the main responsibilities of government is to protect its citizens. However, the ruling ANC government in South Africa has a dismal record of neglecting its responsibilities in this regard, particularly as far as crime is concerned, - so much so that several concerned individuals and groups in South Africa circulated news to the outside world that it was not safe to attend the 2010 World Cup event, which took place from 11 June to 11 July 2010.
Several warnings circulated mainly by blogs, emails, and online community groups, were accompanied by factual proof that the country was indeed unsafe. The government wasn’t too happy with this state of affairs, and utilized every means possible to publicize news-and-views opposing those prophets of doom and gloom.
The organizers of the tournament (FIFA) took no chances, and pressurized the government into spending R33-billion ($4,3-billion) into World Cup preparations. Thousands of South Africans protested against this wasteful World Cup spending.
Despite security issues at five World Cup stadiums caused by security guards striking over low pay, a few minor ordinary incidents of theft and robbery, and Uganda that was hit by al-Qaeda bombs, planted by Somali Islamists, which killed 74 soccer fans who were watching the World Cup final on television, - FIFA and the South African government managed to create the overall impression that the 2010 World Cup tournament was a major success.
During the event security task teams were established in all ten host cities and 60,000 additional police officers were placed on 24-hour standby. Not one single police officer was allowed to take leave during that time. It’s no wonder that the incidence of violent crimes dropped drastically! After the event, National Police Commissioner Bheki Cele announced, “The police will keep up security in the country…, bla, bla, and so forth!” – Source.
And now for the latest news…
Increase in crime after World Cup
By Gloria Edwards (Beeld)
Johannesburg – In the week following the 2010 Soccer World Cup, violent crime increased sharply, with a farm attack, home robbery and two murders on July 11, a murder on the 13th and two murders and three home robberies on July 15.
This came to light following a Beeld investigation into serious violent crimes (home robberies, murders, farm attacks and armed robberies in which someone is seriously injured, raped or shot), about which the paper reported during and after the World Cup.
The investigation showed an increase in such incidents in especially South Gauteng (Johannesburg, the East Rand, West Rand and Vaal Triangle), Limpopo, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal and the North West.
During the World Cup, which ran from June 11 to July 11, there were reports about 12 such incidents and afterwards, from July 12 to the end of August, there were reports about 42 incidents.
There was a marked increase in murders – from four in June to 14 in July and 18 in August.
The investigation was done after General Bheki Cele, the national police commissioner, promised that police had the ability to continue with efficient crime prevention during the event – and also after it was over.
The investigation could not be compared with the police's recently released crime statistics, as official statistics for this time would only be announced by September next year.
It did, however, correspond with preliminary statistics from the security company ADT in Johannesburg and Pretoria.
During the World Cup, crime dropped in the west of Johannesburg by 70% and by 60% in the east of Johannesburg, said ADT.
Roy Rawlins, managing director of ADT Johannesburg, said armed robberies and home robberies dropped by 37% and 31% respectively in these parts during the World Cup.
"Since the final whistle was blown, crime did, however, increase in most of our areas."
"In the east of Johannesburg, crime levels returned to where they were before the World Cup, but not in the west."
According to Clive Humphrey, managing director of ADT Pretoria, crime decreased during the tournament.
In contrast with Johannesburg, crime in Pretoria continued to drop after the event, especially regarding armed robberies, house robberies and burglaries with and without theft and hijackings.
"Armed robberies dropped by 37%."
The amount of farm and smallholding attacks increased sharply in the areas which Beeld reports on - from one in June, to three in July and eight in August.
André Botha, chairperson of Agri SA's national security committee, confirmed that farm attacks increased after the World Cup.
"I think the fact that there were more police officials during the event, did make an impact on crime in that time.
"But it was only temporary relief. I doubt whether the police have the capacity to continue it."
In the next issue of the magazine The African.org of the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), senior researcher Dr Johan Burger writes that initial indications are that crime dropped during the 2010 World Cup, with "low levels of largely small transgressions like theft and no serious security incidents".
"It would, however, be difficult to determine whether crime (in this time) decreased in general countrywide…South Africans will have to wait until September 2011 to confirm such assertions.
"Only time will show whether police will be able to continue the improved crime situation which was experienced during the event."
National police spokesperson Superintendent Lindela Mashigo said on Sunday that police would keep up the improved crime levels.
"Realistically, it must be taken into account that all leave (of police members) was cancelled during the event.
"But even with fewer officials, measures like visible policing, analysis of priority areas, tactical reaction teams, equipment and vehicles are from this time on being enforced.
"We perhaps have fewer officials, but we work much smarter now."
World Cup successes
Dr Johan Burger from the ISS attributed the apparent low incidence of crime during the SWC 2010 to:
- The National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (Natjoints)
- The R1.3bn budget
- The availability of 60 000 more police officers
- No leave for police officers
- Task teams in the ten host cities, and
- 56 special courts: 222 of the 704 reported crimes outside stadiums and 209 within led to trials. There were 138 convictions, 12 people were acquitted and 52 cases were withdrawn. By August only 20 cases were still pending.