SAPS, SANDF 'ready for Afcon'

The joint team assured fans that the Afcon tournament will be safe.

"General Elias Mawela briefing media about all security-related operations for the Orange Africa Cup of Nation 2013. Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Police Service (SAPS) and the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) on Thursday unveiled their joint operation to ensure that the upcoming African Cup of Nations (Afcon) tournament is safe.

The tournament will kick off on Saturday at Johannesburg's National Stadium.

Libya was meant to host the tournament but it was moved to South Africa because of political instability in the north African country.

Thousands of soldiers and police officers will be deployed to secure the soccer spectacle.

Officials said the tournament will not disrupt security in the country.

Commissioner for Operations Lieutenant General Elias Mawela, who heads the joint operation, told reporters and officials that security forces did their homework in ensuring the safety of soccer fans.

He said they launched their project earlier this month.

Although the special courts that were introduced during the 2010 Soccer World Cup will not be operating, the police said special detectives will fast-track cases of crimes committed during the tournament.

The SANDF will provide support to the police and will be in charge of airspace around stadiums during games.

The joint team assured fans that the Afcon tournament will be safe.