Cape Town - South Africa's National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NatJOINTS) said on Wednesday it had developed a comprehensive security plan to ensure the safety of delegates attending the World Economic Forum on Africa.
South Africa will host the September 4-6 forum in Cape Town against the backdrop of rising outrage over violence against women and children, and the ongoing looting and burning of small businesses owned largely by foreigners from other African countries as well as Asian states such as Pakistan.
In a statement, NatJOINTS said the activities and deployments outlined in its plan would ensure uncompromising security measures were implemented for the duration of the event.
"The NatJOINTS will deploy its tried and tested method of integrating operational processes, resources, competencies, capabilities and intelligence from all operational environments within government with a dedicated and centralized command structure in order to address the identified challenges in an holistic manner," it said.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa will attend the event, but some of the 20 heads of state that had also been expected have indicated they will boycott the conference in response to the xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals.
The forum brings together senior leaders of government, business, academia and civil society for high-level discussions on how to accelerate economic growth and development and South Africa aims use the event to promote itself as an attractive investment destination.
NatJOINTS said its activities at the conference would include VIP safety, route, venue, city and accommodation security; a combined intelligence and investigative capacity; crowd management and port of entry deployments as well as traffic control "which can be deployed to deal with any eventualities".
"The NatJOINTS has ensured that general safety and day-to-day policing operations are not compromised for all law-abiding South Africans for the duration of the event," it added.
Amid media reports that the presidents of Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Malawi were boycotting the forum, the chairman of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat condemned the attacks which have seen scores of people arrested in Johannesburg and the capital Pretoria.
Reports said Zambia had also cancelled a friendly football match with South Africa's national men's team Bafana Bafana scheduled for Saturday.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari instructed his foreign affairs minister to summon South Africa's high commissioner to Nigeria over the violence.
Some South Africans say the looting is in retaliation against crimes committed by foreigners and the sale of illicit goods by foreign shop owners. Political analysts however say African immigrants have become scapegoats for rising anger over joblessness and general economic woes.
In a statement on Tuesday, the African Union Commission called for "immediate steps to protect the lives of people and their property, ensure that all perpetrators are brought to account for their acts, and that justice be done to those who suffered economic and other losses."
"The chairperson reiterates the African Union’s Commission continued commitment to support the South African government in addressing the root causes that led to these despicable acts, in order to promote peace and stability, within the framework of the African Union’s longstanding principles of continental solidarity," Faki's spokeswoman Ebba Kalondo said.