Confed Cup security breach denied

JOHANNESBURG - South African organisers on Friday denied security was breached for this month's Confederations Cup after local media said a firm hired to protect players, officials and stadiums had walked out. The Mail and Guardian weekly newspaper said a Swedish-South African security consortium had rejected the contract a week ago because of a dispute over guards' salaries. It said organisers had then scrambled to appoint a small, lesser-known local firm to take over at the last minute. The eight-nation tournament, seen as a dress rehearsal for next year's World Cup, runs from June 14-28. But Rich Mkhondo, spokesman of the local organising committee for both the Confederations and World Cups said the tournament was secure. "There is nothing wrong with what happened. We followed all the procedures. The Confederations Cup is not threatened nor compromised by security," he told Reuters. The contract covered only static security for about 10 percent of the 8,000 security personnel, Mkhondo said. "The impression given by the Mail and Guardian is that the entire security company was only appointed last week, which is not true," he said. "What we are supposed to be talking about is one element of the security, which is the static security which is the lower end of security. Those guys will be just standing there and watching." Crime and security are the most sensitive issues around the World Cup because South Africa has one of the world's highest rates of violence outside a war zone.