Security protocols for Justin Bieber’s concerts in South Africa will be an almost military affair, although organizers say the tight measures are not a reaction to a stage attack on the singer in Dubai but to ensure the safety of young fans.
The pop star, who is now in South Africa, will play two stadium shows — Cape Town on May 8 and Johannesburg on May 12.
Channel 24 reports Justin van Wyk, managing director of Big Concerts, who are organizing the shows, said security arrangements for Bieber’s arrival have been underway “for the last few months.”
A senior police officer appointed by the SA’s national police commissioner will head the security team for the 19-year-old’s Cape Town show, Yazkam reports.
“We are assuming a younger audience would attend. We are taking measures to ensure a fun night for them,” Van Wyk told Yazkam.
“We are also going to be very strict with controlling access to alcohol,” he added.
“Everyone will be required to present an ID even if they look older than 18. We will have undercover police officers who will arrest anyone for providing alcohol to children.”
Wyk also advises that any children under 14 attending the concert should be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian, and children older than 14 should put an emergency contact number on their cellphone under the name ICE for ‘in case of an emergency.’
Typical emergency units will be on standby at tomorrow’s concert and a large volunteer contingent will be helping to deal with traffic. Various roads will also be closed to the World Economic Forum taking place in Cape Town this week, said Channel 24.
Wyk confirmed that at least 50,000 advance tickets have been sold for Bieber’s concert which is scheduled to start at 8 pm. Of Bieber’s reputation for late show starts, he said:
“Unfortunately this is a very difficult point. We are aware … of the incidents where he has been late. We don’t know what the reasons are for that. There could be technical reasons.”
“It is a high tech show with special effects,” he added. “As event organizers we have scheduled the show for 8pm. If there are any delays the show will finish at a reasonable time. We don’t foresee technical difficulties but we are not in control of the artist.”
Wyk also said the singer’s team have been told that the day after the show is a normal working and school day.
Both Bieber’s Dubai concerts were substantially delayed. The Canadian was also famously late for his opening night at London’s 02 Arena. He later disputed the widely reported “two hours” 02 delay as being closer to 49 minutes.
Meanwhile, Dubai Police have reportedly confirmed that Bieber stacked up six speeding fines during his stay in the city after setting off speed radars on Shaikh Zayed Road while driving a Lamborghini Avendator on Sunday, May 5.
Despite a previous E! Online report that rumors of the singer being wanted for questioning over speeding violations were a hoax that originated on the social media site Reddit, multiple UAE media outlets are reporting the fines as a fact.
Reportedly, police patrols issued fines against the Lamborghini for exceeding road speed limits. A police source also reportedly said Bieber drove recklessly.
Reportedly, the incident took place on Sunday, May 5 as the teen made his way to Dubai’s Seven Stadium for his second and final show. The concert eventually kicked off two hours past the 8 pm call time.
During the show, a male fan jumped on stage and grabbed Bieber while he was singing his set closer “Believe” at a piano. Within seconds, security rushed onto the stage and tackled the fan to the ground.
Amid the tussle a piano was knocked over, while Bieber, who quickly stepped out of the scrum, sauntered to the side of the stage and continued singing.
“A young fan desperate to meet his idol did make his way on stage,” Thomas Ovesen, chief operating officer of the show’s promoter, Done Events, told The National.
“He was ejected from the venue by security staff after they determined he was harmless.”
The ‘attacking’ fan has allegedly since spoken to Virgin Radio Dubai’s 104.4 FM and apologized for the incident saying he “didn’t mean to scare” his idol.
Dubai police have confirmed that no arrests will be made regarding the stage invasion.