Cape Town security tight for Justin Bieber concert

Yazeed Kamaldien

A senior police officer appointed by the country’s national police commissioner is heading up the security task team for Justin Bieber’s concert in Cape Town on Wednesday night (May 8).

Justin Bieber

Justin Bieber

Justin van Wyk, managing director of Bieber’s local tour promoters Big Concerts, said yesterday that security plans have been underway “for the last few months.”

Van Wyk said beefed-up security measures were in no way in reaction to Bieber’s concert on Sunday night in Dubai where a fan mauled him on stage.

“We are assuming a younger audience would attend. We are taking measures to ensure a fun night for them,” said Van Wyk.

“We are also going to be very strict with controlling access to alcohol (at the concert). Everyone will be required to present an ID even if they look older than 18. We will have undercover police officers who will arrest anyone for providing alcohol to children.”

Van Wyk said at least 50,000 tickets have been sold for Bieber’s concert, scheduled for the Cape Town Stadium. It is set to start at 8pm.

Bieber has built a reputation on his current world tour though for starting hours later than scheduled.

“Unfortunately this is a very difficult point. We are aware of some of the incidents where he has been late. We don’t know what the reasons are for that. There could be technical reasons,” said Van Wyk.

“It is a high tech show with special effects. As event organisers we have scheduled the show for 8pm. If there are any delays the show will finish at a reasonable time. We don’t foresee technical difficulties but we are not in control of the artist.”

He added: “Bieber’s concert is meant to be at least 90 minutes long. It is a normal working day the next day and we have told his (Bieber’s) team.”

Van Wyk said additional security measures for children include a call centre for anyone who needs to contact parents, friends of family as well as a lost and found room.

“Children under 14 should be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Children older than 14 should put an emergency contact number under the name ICE which stands for ‘in case of an emergency’ on their cell phone,” said Van Wyk.

“That is the number that the organisers, medical staff or security could contact if anything happens to a child.”

Bronagh Casey, spokesperson for the provincial education ministry, meanwhile said Bieber’s concert was no reason for learners not to be at school on Thursday morning.

“The Western Cape education department is committed to ensuring the maximum use of teaching and learning time. In terms of the National Policy on Learner Attendance, it is the responsibility of parents to ensure that their children attend school daily,” she said.

“Therefore, learners are expected to be at school the following day. Based on their respective codes of conduct, schools will deal internally with learners who are absent because of the concert.”

Wilfred Solomons-Johannes, spokesperson for the City of Cape Town’s disaster management unit, said all security and emergency units would be available for the concert tomorrow. But he said it was “nothing exceptional.”

“We have to abide by the law and provide services. There are plans in place. Disaster management staff will be deployed at strategic locations inside and outside the stadium. They will conduct pre-inspections to ensure public safety and ensure that everything is in place,” he said.

“We will also deploy law enforcement authorities. We will have a large contingent of volunteers to deal with traffic. There will law enforcement, police, health assistance and the fire brigade to ensure the safety for concert-goers.”

City officials said various roads would also be closed due to the World Economic Forum being held in Cape Town this week. Main roadways to be closed include Table Bay Boulevard, Walter Sisulu Boulevard, Lower Long Street and Lower Adderley Street.

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About Yazeed Kamaldien

Self-employed journalist and photographer from South Africa.

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