Since it won the bid to host this summer's World Cup in 2004, concerns over the state of South African security have been prevalent, and for good reason. The country's notably high crime rate, combined with protests by underpaid stadium construction workers and riots in relocated shanty town communities have fueled the fire of questions over whether or not South Africa is ready to host the Cup. The flames were stoked again on Wednesday with the news that three journalists were robbed of their equipment (laptops, cameras, press credentials). This story is hardly the first to provoke journalists to doubt:
- Egypt During last summer's Confederations Cup, also hosted by South Africa, the Egyptian soccer team were robbed in their hotel rooms by women they had escorted home, says Dashiell Bennett at Deadspin. He says, "The robbery report was initially a black eye to South Africa, which desperately needs to convince the rest of the planet that they can come to the World Cup next year and not get ravaged by thugs, charlatans, and grifters on their way in from the airport."
- Colombia While not actually participating in the World Cup this year, the Colombian national team did travel to South Africa for a friendly game a few weeks back and were promptly robbed. Michael Tunison at the Sporting Blog says, "That they ended up losing the exhibition 2-1 isn't any great shakes, but the fact that the team was robbed one day after being in the country, while staying at a five-star hotel, likely won't do much to allay the ample security concerns visitors will have as the Cup approaches."
- South Korea Commenting on today's story, Angel at Breaking Football News says, "it appears that South Korean journalists have been the most targeted so far, when an SBS film crew was strangled in a Johannesburg grocery store restroom and robbed. The man managed to stay unhurt despite passing out, while another South Korean journalist was robbed last Sunday in Durban."