The head of South Africa's 2010 World Cup organizing committee defended the country's safety record when it comes to sporting events and said his committee can't be held responsible for the country's high crime rate.
"Any team you mention who has been to South Africa, they will tell you they were safe," Danny Jordaan said Monday. "We have had 141 major sports events, and we have not failed any of them in terms of safety."
He said the country has recruited more than 140,000 extra police, with 100,000 more in reserve, for next year's World Cup, backed up by more vehicles and water canons.
According to official government figures, South Africa has up to 50 murders a day.
"Societal crime isn't my responsibility, and no event in the world can accept such responsibility," Jordaan said. "It happens in socially deprived areas. Security for the event is my responsibility, and we have not failed anyone since the start in 1994 — 15 years without a major incident. I think South Africa's safety record is second to none."
FIFA president Sepp Blatter told the Soccerex business conference currently underway in South Africa that the country still has logistical problems to resolve in areas such as transportation and accommodation. About 450,000 fans are expected to travel to South Africa from overseas for the World Cup, which runs from June 11 to July 11, 2010.
"But if there are problems only in logistics, they can be solved," Blatter said. "We trust them to do it. It is a huge country, but when you can identify problems, you can solve them."