South Africa: Mthethwa Confident Over COP17 Security


With just days to go before the start of COP17, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa says the country is ready to deliver a safe climate change conference.

“We have reviewed our plan and we are ready. Police will be everywhere, ready for any eventuality. We will have over 2 500 designated officers around the event precinct, and many others at the points of entries into the country, that is, airports, harbours and border gates. This is the epitome of our security plan; we will cover every corner because we do not have any no-go-areas,” he said.

On Friday, the final plans were finalised and training programmes, including simulation operations, completed.

The simulations affirmed the security forces’ capacity to react to any contingency on land, sea, air, chemical, biological or radiological threats, he said.

National Joint Intelligence Structure (NATJOINTS) was working closely with their United Nations counterparts as well as with police services in the region.

SAPS is the lead department in NATJOINTS, which includes the SANDF, State Security, Justice, Correctional Services, NPA, Home Affairs, SARS, Agriculture, Health, Eskom and all Emergency Services.

“To this end, border controls will be continually tightened. It will therefore not be a free-for-all. We shall spare neither strength nor effort in ensuring the safety of all citizens and visitors,” the minister warned.

While police will do their bit, everyone needed to play a role in ensuring a safe conference.

Mthethwa urged delegates to exercise caution, as they would in any other country, when they required general information and to consult one-stop information resources within the Durban precinct.

Noting demonstrations that took place at previous conferences, he also called for those who wanted to express their grievances to so in an orderly way and within the confines of the law.

“Police will not tolerate criminal acts that are disguised as demonstrations, which in some cases include destruction of property and intimidations. We will unapologetically deal with such criminal acts decisively and we require no permission from anyone.

“Should such incidents occur, we will as demonstrated before, ensure that those who commit such acts face the wrath of the law to its fullest,” Mthethwa warned.

He also called on all police members, to once again rise to the occasion and be good ambassadors.

“We are under no illusion of the magnitude of COP17, particularly having successfully hosted the 2010 FIFA World Cup but neither are we under any pressure to prove anything to the world. We have successfully hosted in excess of 400 international events since the dawn of democracy. We shall therefore not be complacent with this event but remain as sharp and alert as we had done before,” he added.

SA News

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