Congratulations are in order - congratulations to the combined efforts of the South African Security Forces under the leadership of the South African Police Force (SAPF).
Their work in ensuring a safe and terrorist-free start to the 2010 Soccer World Cup has been commendable and should be applauded. Be under no illusions that a terrorist attack during the early stages of the games was not a serious risk - notably to the opening ceremony and match as well as the England vs USA clash.
The SAPF and FIFA played down any terrorist threat and basically denied that any threat existed at all. I don't quite understand why they chose to take this approach as opposed to stating that there was a threat but it was being adequately and significantly dealt with.
The seriousness of the danger has been widely accepted and documented by respected security experts and institutions globally.
And anyone living in South Africa would be able to testify to the fact that all the preconditions needed to be able to carry out an attack on South African soil are in place. Access to weapons. Access to fraudulent identification. Access to sensitive information. Corruption and porous borders.
Interestingly, an argument put forward by some security experts on why a terrorist attack in South Africa is unlikely is that terrorist groups would not want to upset the current status quo of South Africa as a logistics hub for them. Al-Qaeda suspects in many parts of the world have been found to have South African passports...
Additionally, considering that cash in transit heists carried out by between 12 and 24 criminals armed with AK47 assault rifles are almost a common occurrence in the country as well as ATM bombings involving explosives obtained illegally through South Africa's large mining sector, it is easy to see how by simply changing the motive from cash to wholesale terror the objective could be easily achieved.
The tournament is of course far from over with just over three weeks of footballing drama still to unfold on the field. The World Cup still presents a very appealing target to those cowards we call terrorists.
Therefore these congratulations are not premature praise but rather a thoughtful appraisal of a job well done thus far.
Good luck South Africa and remember to keep your eye on the ball!
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