SA Olympic bosses must wake up to security threats
WHEN the head of MI5 starts to worry about security at the Olympic Games, it's time for the rest of us to worry too. Or is it?
Jonathan Evans, director-general of Britain's internal security service, felt the need on Monday to make a rare public statement on the potential dangers of the Arab Spring.
The spy chief said the popular uprisings, especially in Libya, had spawned a new generation of British-born terrorists. Al-Qaeda has lured dozens of would-be bombers from the UK to train abroad for attacks on Britain.
With the Olympic Games due to start in London on July 27, Evans's tenebrous outlook will be viewed with some concern by the rest of the world. The terrorist attack on the Munich Olympics of 1972 was, after all, not that long ago and, for those with short memories, there was a recent movie about the murder of Israeli athletes at those Games.
Britain is likely to be on high alert. Missiles are already primed to bring down attackers and RAF fighters are ready to scramble for the first time since the Battle of Britain.
But is this just "normal paranoia" ahead of a major event, or should the we take it seriously?
The SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee is clearly not paying much attention to the MI5 warning. Its president, Gideon Sam, and its CEO, Tubby Reddy, were too busy being spectators at the ANC's policy conference yesterday to concern themselves with such matters. Attempts to reach the two were rebuffed by underlings at the committee's headquarters.
Cricket SA, which is due to send its first XI to London next week, was not alarmist but was ready to take advice from its security consultants about MI5's misgivings.
The best approach to the warning is vigilance without capitulation to threats. There should be no talk of calling off our participation in the Games. Cricket SA has given a sensible lead in the matter and our Olympic Committee, once it becomes aware of it, should follow suit.