South African safety and security authorities and metropolitan councils need to pick up the pace of their rollout of closed circuit television (CCTV) infrastructure if they are to provide adequate coverage of CBDs and stadia to ensure the safety of spectators at 2010 World Cup football matches.
That's according to Alan Russell, MD of CCTV manufacturer and distributor Illuder, who says the country still has a long way to go before it meets its goal of installing 60 000 CCTV cameras at host cities and stadiums countrywide in line with commitments made by the Fifa World Cup organising committee.
South Africa's metropolitan councils all plan to spend tens of millions on CCTV infrastructure in preparation for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The City of Cape Town, for example, plans to spend R10-million on installing 24-hour CCTV cameras along the Grand Parade and the fan mile for the World Cup next year, and another R2-million addressing gaps in the current CCTV of the CBD.
The City of Johannesburg recently launched a CCTV control centre, which is part of a state-of-the-art inner-city surveillance system worth R42-million.
The Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality has also invested in CCTV surveillance as part of its integrated security system.
"Wherever metros have deployed CCTV cameras, they have found them to be extremely effective as part of a crime-fighting strategy. Cape Town and Johannesburg have both had some CCTV coverage of their CBDs for a number of years, and report that these cameras have helped to bring crime down wherever they are present," says Russell.
"Quite apart from the ever-present threat of crime in South Africa, the recent terrorist attacks in Lahore and Mumbai have highlighted the important of surveillance and security for major international events such as the FIFA World Cup in the face of a global terrorist threat."
Russell says that the international community expects South Africa to have CCTV surveillance in place both as part of a crime prevention strategy for 2010 and as a means of helping police to capture and successfully prosecute criminals involved in any crime attempt.
"CCTV technology can be rolled out at a faster rate than police officers can be trained, which means it will have a vital roll to play in security for the World Cup, against the backdrop of a massive shortfall of police," Russel adds.
With all major cities covered by WiMAX and cellular networks CCTV cameras can be installed in literally a few hours and wirelessly connected to a central monitoring centre so that police officers can be managed and deployed in the optimal manner.
"Cities such as London already depend heavily on CCTV to ensure public safety. CCTV was also an integral part of Germany's safety and security strategy for the 2006 FIFA World Cup," says Russel.
"South Africa simply cannot afford to waste any time any improving its coverage of the areas and venues that foreigners will be visiting during the World Cup with CCTV cameras. CCTV is as vital to the success of the World Cup as the country's plans for transportation, stadiums and telecoms."