You’re going to get murdered or contract HIV and then die later. Either way, you’re dead.
For the first time in the competition’s history, the World Cup will be played in Africa. And apparently, we’d be better served having the tournament hosted by war zones Iraq or Afghanistan, according to Nick Buckles, the chief executive of the world’s largest security firm, G4S. Buckles said exactly that in his explanation of why his security firm won’t be working the 2010 World Cup.
“We are not going to be involved because we don’t think the security is going to be that good – they are not that well organized yet.
“South Africa…is a tough, tough place to do business. The whole society is different from anywhere else in the world. We do what we can in terms of protecting the crew, but they get attacked by 16, 17 people at a time sometimes.”
Buckles told Reuters an average of two staff members from his company were killed a month during their operations in the country.
The crime numbers aren’t pretty.
According to a United Nations survey, South Africa ranked second for murder and first for assaults and rapes per capita.
Problem is, the U.S. has 260 million more people than South Africa. Only the drugged out Colombians kill at a higher rate.
And when South Africans aren’t killing you, they’re robbing you. Between 2001-08, there were 588,982 cases of common robbery.
At the Confederations Cup, both Egypt and Brazil had their rooms burglarized after victories over criminally-generalized Italy. Whether the Corleones or South African thieves are responsible remains to be seen. I’m leaning toward the locals.
In July 2008, the Restaurant Association of South Africa (RASA) was forced to raise the security classification of the capital’s restaurants to “caution areas” after thieves began robbing patrons while they dined. The RASA said since January, 15 people have been killed in 687 attacks carried out in RASA members’ businesses.
Insurance companies won’t even insure Volkswagen Citi Golfs because they are car-jacked too frequently. There are actual road signs warning of a high car-jack zone.
Murder. Robbery. What have I left out? Oh yeah, rape.
A woman in South Africa is raped every 40 seconds for a total of 55,000 rapes a year. It’s said a woman born in South Africa has a greater chance of being raped than learning how to read.
With numbers like that Louise Taylor of British daily, The Guardian, is understandably downright frightened to travel to South Africa. Last week, she wrote a column about her fears, which included her sympathy toward Johns contracting sexually-transmitted diseases because soccer and hookers go together like fish and chips.
“Latest stats indicate that just over 18 percent of South Africa’s adult population is infected. Considering that prostitutes always prosper during World Cups, you do not need to be a rocket scientist to detect the looming dangers.”
“Personally I’d have preferred the 2010 World Cup to have gone to Egypt. Yes, it would have been very hot (although it’s a dry heat) and it would, in places, have been dirty and ultra-chaotic, but it would also have been friendly and welcoming. And, in terms of crime, Egypt is extremely safe. Eyebrows would doubtless have been raised at the potential for organizational mayhem, the nightmarish Cairo traffic and the downtown air pollution, but surely if the Egyptians could build the pyramids they could host a World Cup.”
Um, Ms. Taylor, that was more than 4,000 years ago. But you can’t blame a Ms. Taylor for showing bias toward Egypt and slave-built monuments.
Taylor, Louise – not Elizabeth – points to an advisory on travel to South Africa from the UK’s Foreign Office as more reason to stay home. It reads:
“South Africa has a very high level of crime including rape and murder.”
“In all areas of South Africa you should be cautious when out after dark.”
“There have been a number of incidents involving foreigners being followed from Johannesburg airport to their destinations by car and then robbed, often at gunpoint.”
“The standard of driving is variable and there are many fatal accidents.”
OK, she’s going a bit overboard. Now, I’ve never been to South Africa, so I don’t know. It might be like when I was warned, warned and warned again about pickpockets before entering the markets of Istanbul. I made it out unscathed and unbothered. Sure you need to be wary, just don’t be stupid.
In her column, Ms. Taylor conveniently leaves out the full text from the advisory:
“South Africa has a very high level of crime, including rape and murder. However, most cases occur in the townships and in areas away from the main tourist destinations. The South African authorities give high priority to protecting tourists. Tourism police are deployed in several of the large towns.”
“The risk to visitors traveling to the main tourist destinations is low.”
Some argue all the negative news coming out of South Africa is courtesy of biased attempts by international media to try and have the 2010 World Cup relocated, possibly to Australia.
But the Cup isn’t going anywhere, even with this recent construction worker strike, which is affecting 35 big construction projects, including at least six World Cup stadiums and a high-speed train link from Johannesburg International Airport to both that city and Pretoria.
The nation was said to be ahead of where Germany was for the 2006 World Cup and where Athens was for the 2004 Summer Olympics. But the recent strike isn’t doing them any favors. Especially since FIFA president Sepp Blatter said South Africa still has some work to do following the recent Confederations Cup. Blatter rated the hosts a 7.5 out of 10, citing transportation and accommodation as potential problems.
While covering the Confederations Cup, Gabriele Marcotti wrote, “Public transportation is generally poor, and besides, most foreign tourists are told not to take buses and trains.”
So you’re either walking, riding a cheetah or renting a car – just stay away from the VW Golfs.
As with any huge event, there are going to be instances of crime and perhaps a little mayhem. Danny Jordaan, the chief executive of the 2010 World Cup, says there will be 41,000 extra police and 86,000 added security personnel. If you’re a soccer fan and you want to see a World Cup in the next eight years, you might as well go next summer.
World Cup 2014 is in Brazil. And I’ve seen “City of God.”