Easy access for soccer teams through OR Tambo

By Nthambeleni Gabara

Johannesburg - Soccer teams and FIFA delegations arriving at OR Tambo International Airport for the FIFA Confederations Cup are being facilitated through a special terminal.

"Preparations have been completed to ensure that all FIFA delegations, including team guests, will be facilitated through a fast-track process in a terminal different from the general public," said Airport Company South Africa (ACSA) General Manager, Chris Hlekane, on Wednesday.

He said it was important that the players were facilitated through a terminal separate from the general public and a special team had also been established to ensure their bags were kept separate.

Mr Hlekane, who was outlining the preparedness of the airport at a press briefing in Johannesburg, said the processing and holding capacity in the general terminals had been beefed up to manage the expected high volumes of visitors during the tournament.

Employees at the airport are currently receiving training on behavioral standards. "We are doing this because we want visitors to be welcomed by friendly and caring staff members who know how to work with different people," he said.

According to Mr Hlekane, they had also planned for announcements to be made in Spanish and Portuguese through a radio at the airport. This follows complaints by some travelers who do not speak English.

Acsa's head of security, Jason Tshabalala told BuaNews a strict security plan was in place to ensure that criminals did not follow soccer fans to their hotel from the airport.

"Through our intelligence and the police, we have made a remarkable progress in terms of busting criminals who follow passengers from the airport into their respective hotels. We are quite comfortable that with the plan that we put in place, we will act swiftly on all illegal activities of this nature," he said.

South Africa's security team, which includes members of the South African Police Services (SAPS), Ekurhuleni Metro Police and Acsa's security guards, will also rely on support from police from other countries which have expert knowledge of how to deal with hooliganism and criminal activities at the airport, such as Germany.

He said the team comprising 1000 police officers from different units complemented by over 400 Acsa security guards became operational on the first of June. - BuaNews