Cele warns police to behave
Johannesburg – National police commissioner General Bheki Cele told officers gathered at Soccer City in Johannesburg for the World Cup opening on Friday to behave themselves and make South Africa proud.
Greeting over 600 police officers outside the stadium, Cele said it was their job to serve and protect all South Africans and their visitors over the month-long soccer tournament.
"Today is finally the realisation of the South African dream. I just have to say until this point you have been wonderful," he said.
"Our safety is in your hands. Please serve and protect."
Cele congratulated police on their "good work" for the arrest of six people who allegedly robbed a Chilean tourist in Mpumalanga on Thursday. He also praised them for the arrest of four men allegedly involved in the robbery of three journalists in Magaliesburg earlier this week.
He reminded them that the world was watching and sent a stern warning to criminals attempting to sabotage South Africa's "good name" during the World Cup.
"People think they can mess up our good name as South Africans. We say to them, don't say you were not warned."
He said it was up to the police to prevent "thugs, criminals and people with ill minds" from spoiling the World Cup festivities.
"There are a few hot-headed people who think they can spoil the party. We will find them," he said.
He also sent a warning to drivers to stay safe on the roads and to be responsible.
Safety rests with the driver
"Traffic safety rests with the driver. We can't put a police officer in every car, so we call on the drivers to curb their excitement once they get in the car."
His comments came after the death of former president Nelson Mandela's 13-year-old great granddaughter in a car accident after the World Cup concert in Soweto on Thursday night.
He said the incident was a "sad moment".
Uniformed and plain-clothed police, along with metro police, World Cup volunteers and a tactical response team wearing navy berets, congregated near the stadium to hear the commissioner's speech.
They all bowed their heads in a prayer, led by a fellow police officer who asked God to "look after you while we go out to look after others".