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Beefed up security at Vodacom Challenge leads to arrests

by Bathandwa Mbola
on 21 Jul 2008
BuaNews Online
BuaNews Online

Two people were arrested for selling counterfeit tickets outside Newlands Stadium before the opening of the Vodacom Challenge soccer match in Cape Town with a further seven arrested for being in possession of such tickets inside the stadium.

The arrests were carried out just before the match between Manchester United and Kaizer Chiefs on Saturday. The teams drew 1-1.

Police had earlier warned that they would be cracking down on criminals during the event.

"The arrests of these suspects only emphasises the capacity and mechanisms we have place to detect this type criminal behaviour," said national police spokesperson Senior Superintendent Vish Naidoo in a statement on Sunday.

"We also recovered two unlicensed firearms and arrested two men for drunkenness. They were arrested because of their state of intoxication but were released after four hours when they sobered up."

Naidoo said spectators had been warned that there would not be any sale of tickets outside the stadium. They were also warned about drunkenness and against bringing weapons to the ground.

"While no serious incidents were recorded, we are still concerned that some spectators have ignored our warnings, particularly on the purchasing of tickets around the stadium on match day," he said.

There are still another three matches to be played and police have further warned that they will ensure no one sells counterfeit tickets.

"We will stop at nothing to continue policing future events effectively and to ensure that these events are safe and secure for every law-abiding spectator," said Senior Supt Naidoo, adding that the police were confident that these arrests and prosecutions will serve as a deterrent for all our future events.

Matches will be played in Durban, Port Elizabeth and Pretoria this weekend.

With only 689 days to the biggest soccer event in the African continent, the Vodacom Challenge matches are set to test the country's readiness for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

During the planning phase, the organisers identified certain key issues - which may impact on security on the day of the match.

For the purpose of effective traffic and crowd management, certain roads around the stadium will be closed, however, the names of the roads to be closed will still be communicated.

"We want to urge spectators to make use of the park and ride options which will be available to all spectators at certain venues - this too will be communicated shortly before match day."

Getting to the stadium on match day has been made easier through the involvement Vodacom Challenge partner Metrorail, who will be operating a number of services to and from the stadium on match day.

There will also be parking facilities at railway stations for spectators opting to travel by train to the stadium.

The police will be high visible on foot and vehicle patrols.

Items that will not be allowed into any of the stadiums include firearms, ammunition, dangerous or sharp/pointed metal objects as well as alcohol and any bottled beverages.

The illegal sale of alcohol and unauthorised sale of food is strictly prohibited.

Accredited ticket sales outlets across the country include Computicket, Checkers, Shoprite and Checkers Hyper.

In the Eastern Cape additional outlets have been made available for the Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs match - they are Musica in the CBD of PE and Caltex Garage in Humewood, Mondes tavern in Motherwell, KFC in Njoli and PEP Stores in Uitenhage. - BuaNews

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