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 Security forces to hone their skills for 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup

Operation Green Point, a joint exercise between the South African Police Service, the SANDF and other agencies and Government departments - such as the Civil Aviation Authority and the Air Traffic and Navigation Services of the Department of Transport - will take place around Green Point Stadium in Cape Town between 13 and 19 March 2008.

During this exercise aimed at honing our skills in securing the aviation sector during major events some of the most elite and well-trained members within the security forces will simulate various scenarios and enact certain aspects of our emergency contingency plans in order to neutralize any form of aerial threat.

This operation is considered to be an excellent training opportunity for the security personnel to be deployed during the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup, which is just 15 months away.

The security of the aviation sector during a major event for example the airspace above and around a stadium during the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup is of paramount importance.

During the simulations and exercises between 13 and 19 March in Cape Town, any threat in the air whether simulated or real - within 50 nautical miles of Cape Town International Airport - will be identified, intercepted and - if necessary - interrogated. The air interceptions will be controlled from the ground by mission controllers from the South African Air Force and executed in the air by pilots and aircraft from the Air Force and the SAPS Air Wing. Once intercepted, aircraft will be forced down on identified airfields where South African Police Service members will be deployed.

The SANDF will deploy various categories of personnel from the Air Force, Army and Navy and the Provincial and Local Disaster Management coordination structures will also participate.

It must be stressed that the exercise is designed to have minimum impact on most normal flying activities within the mandate of a safe and secure airspace around the Green Point Stadium. Every effort will be made to accommodate the flying community of the Western Cape within these restrictions. Flying safety and professional operations are of the highest priority to the security forces.

Operation Green Point is an essential exercise to allow our security forces to merge their expertise to ensure that each and every South African can be proud of their country and their security forces during any major event, but particularly during the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup. We all united as a nation to hope and pray that South Africa would win this bid and now as the event rapidly approaches - we must stand firmly behind those responsible for organizing, hosting and securing the event.

The exercise in the Western Cape will be at its most intense between 16 and 18 March 2008. Although this might cause slight inconvenience to some individuals, it will provide an aerial spectacle for many Capetonians at the same time! Similar exercises will be staged in other host cities over the next several months.

The SAAF are proudly South African, ready for 2010 and looking forward to it!

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