All is set for South Africa to host a successful 2016 International AIDS Conference to be held at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre (ICC) in Durban beginning Mnday, says Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Jeff Radebe.

This is the second time South Africa is hosting the conference, after the conference in 2000. More than 18,000 people are expected to attend the conference, which will run from Monday to Friday with the opening day of the conference coinciding with Nelson Mandela International Day, a fitting tribute to the late South African statesman, who dedicated a great deal of his time dealing with issues surrounding HIV and AIDS.

Radebe, who is the chair of the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) set up to organize the conference, said here Sunday that he was confident the host city would deliver a safe and productive conference.

The National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NatJOINTS), which comprises various government departments, has put in place plans which include high visibility of security forces, as well as air support for rapid response in the unlikely event that such a need may arise.

The plan, says South African Police Service (SAPS) Spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo, is designed to be executed in three phases — pre-conference phase, conference phase and post-conference phase — to cater for the arrival of delegates as well as their departure after the conference.

The plan will primarily focus on border, route, city and venue security as well as crowd management.

The conference will have more than 500 sessions, workshops and programme activities. More than 1,000 journalists, from 180 countries, are expected to cover the conference.

Among the many planned parallel events to support the AIDS 2016 Conference are the Pre-TB Conference Fun Walk, South African Grandmothers’ Gathering and Keep the Promise Awareness March.

Only accredited people and vehicles will be allowed within restricted areas, while traffic disruptions can be expected around the conference venues.

“Motorists are advised that all four streets enclosing the conference venue will either be closed or the flow of traffic restricted for the duration of the conference,” said Naidoo.

South Africa is well known for its ability to successfully host major international events such as the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Commonwealth Heads of Government Summit, COP17 Conference and the BRICS Summit.

Naidoo said security forces have drawn invaluable experience from hosting these events and that experience will be used to sharpen their ability to secure the AIDS Conference.

“Despite this experience and proven track record, we will not relax our guard. We continuously strive to improve and raise the bar further on our record of hosting such events,” Naidoo said.