London, Mar. 26 (ANI): Even as South Africa gears up to host World Cup this summer, its government has acknowledged the possibility of violent protests breaking out during this year's football carnival.
With poor sections of the country demanding access to basic services, South Africa has been rattled by escalating township protests over the last month.
"Obviously we are concerned. The violent and destructive nature of some of the protests is unacceptable," The Telegraph quoted Themba Masek, a government spokesman, as saying.
"We do not want to see these demonstrations, especially during the World Cup, when the country's attention and focus should be to be the best host ever," he added.
Shootings, arson and stone pelting during the recent demonstrations have prompted the government to raise the security levels ahead of the June 11 World Cup.
But on Thursday, the head of the South African Army Chief to announce a security shake-up in the face of escalating violence.
Lieutenant General Solly Shoke told a press conference in Pretoria that the military would take over responsibility for border patrols on April 1 in order to free police officers for fighting crime.
"We are ready to help where needed with the World Cup. All army leave has been cancelled over this period. We will be on high alert," Lt Gen Shoke told reporters
"This World Cup is not about security. It's about enjoyment. People must be allowed to come here and enjoy the soccer," he assured. (ANI)