Tags: South | Africa | cup | safety

Uproar Over SAfrica World Cup Fan Safety

Monday, 25 January 2010 11:15 AM

An uproar over stab-proof vests for fans at the soccer World Cup in South Africa has intensified after gangland bosses vowed to rob and kill tourists "as revenge for colonial wrongs".

The British security company taking orders online for the $122 vests has said it will deliver them directly to the hotel rooms of the 450,000 foreign fans expected to flock to South Africa for the tournament in June.

It is offering fans the option of ordering the vests emblazoned with their national flag - including Australia's - or slogans such as "Free hugs".

Official South African fury over the marketing of the vests has been overtaken by deeper anger over a program shown on the e.tv channel yesterday. Men described as gangland bosses claimed they were planning to commit robberies, murder and create mayhem during the month-long event.

Both the sale of the stab-proof vests specially designed for the World Cup and the claims aired on television by the crime bosses are embarrassing to the South African authorities, who have spent millions on publicity to convince international fans that security will be fine during the competition.

Crime is rampant in the country of 49 million people. More than 50 people are murdered every day, making it one of the most dangerous nations.

The crime bosses' threats to rob and murder "as revenge for colonial wrongs" are particularly provocative in a country that, since the advent of black rule in 1994, has gone to great lengths to overcome the divisions created by its apartheid past.

Yesterday, the ruling African National Congress joined government ministers in denouncing the e.tv channel for airing the interviews, warning that the program was "encouraging crime and a climate of fear and hysteria".

To read full Australian story — Go Here Now.

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Monday, 25 January 2010 11:15 AM
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