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Don’t rush to Obama convoy, public warned

U.S. President Barack Obama and Senegalese President Macky Sall (R) watch a military band play at the airport in Dakar, Senegal. Obama and his wife Michelle left Senegal for South Africa. REUTERS/Joe Penney

U.S. President Barack Obama and Senegalese President Macky Sall (R) watch a military band play at the airport in Dakar, Senegal. Obama and his wife Michelle left Senegal for South Africa. REUTERS/Joe Penney

Published Jun 28, 2013

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Johannesburg - The government's joint security operations team appealed to the public in Gauteng and the Western Cape on Friday not to gather on roadsides to sneak a glimpse of visiting US President Barack Obama and his convoy.

This request was made in the interest of public safety, said Brigadier Sally de Beer, spokeswoman for the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure.

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“It is requested that members of the public refrain from converging on those areas in the hope of catching a glimpse of the aircraft or vehicles in the security or transportation details, or even of the VIPs,” she said in a statement.

“We have noticed during dry-runs that as soon as a helicopter hovered to prepare for landing, people were running across busy roads towards the aircraft.

“This not only places the pedestrians and road users at risk, it is very dangerous to approach a helicopter while its rotors are turning.”

De Beer said all efforts were being made to ensure Obama's visit took place in a safe environment, and caused as little inconvenience as possible to the public.

“Those that do encounter minor inconveniences are requested to remain patient and to be co-operative with security forces and public safety officers.

“We remain committed to upholding South Africa's good reputation as host of secure international events and visits.”

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Obama is due to land in South Africa on Friday evening. He will hold talks with President Jacob Zuma on Saturday and visit Cape Town on Sunday.

His visit formed part of a three-nation African tour which began in Senegal and would also take him to Tanzania. - Sapa

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