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World Cup in South Africa: Six red cards for FIFA


Democracy Now! June 11, 2010 -- Raj Patel on how South Africa has cracked down on the poor and the shack dwellers’ movement ahead of the World Cup. Read the full transcript HERE.

[See also ``2010 World Cup: Africa's turn or turning on Africa? A political economy of FIFA's African adventure''.]

By Patrick Bond, Durban

June 11, 2010 -- The soccer World Cup began this weekend here in South Africa, with the home team playing a 1-1 draw with Mexico before 95,000 fans at Johannesburg’s Soccer City stadium.
Regardless of whether South Africa’s Bafana Bafana (our boys), ranked #90 in the world, can survive its next matches against France and Uruguay to advance a round, we know this society is already a big loser. The reason: egregious mistakes made by national and municipal governments, apparently under the thumb of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA).

A barrage of flag-waving, vuvuzela-blowing hypernationalist publicity cannot drown out at least six critiques of the World Cup:

1) dubious priorities and overspending;

2) FIFA super profits and political corruption;

3) heightened foreign debt and imports amidst generalised economic hardships;

4) the breaking of numerous trickle-down promises;

5) the suspension of democratic freedoms; and

6) repression of rising protest.

Consider each of the six red cards in turn. Could U-turns mitigate the damage?

Spending

First, overspending has been most obvious at the stadiums, including new grounds (in Durban, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Nelspruit and Polokwane) plus extravagant refurbishment expenses for Soccer City.

Which events can fill these stands after the last World Cup soccer match in July? How many officials had Durban-type delusions -- i.e., that we will successfully bid for a future Olympic Games? These white elephants cost the state US$3.1 billion in subsidies.

The most expensive, at $580 million, is Cape Town’s Green Point, with 65,000 seats. It was foolish and racist, for the existing soccer stadium in Athlone township could have hosted the semi-finals with an additional layer of seats. But no, according to a FIFA report, “A billion television viewers don’t want to see shacks and poverty on this scale.”

Durban’s 70,000-seat Moses Mabhida, the $380 million “Alien’s Handbag” (according to comedian Pieter Dirk-Uys) is delightful to view, so long as we keep out of sight and mind the city’s vast backlogs of housing, water/sanitation, electricity, clinics, schools and roads, and the absurd cost escalation (from $225 million).

Harder to keep from view is next-door neighbour Absa Stadium, home of the Sharks rugby union team, which seats 52,000 and which easily could have been extended, considering that the municipality will knock out 15,000 seats from Mabhida after July anyhow.

The Sharks team has said it cannot afford to make the move to Mabhida because of high rental costs, and a titanic battle lies ahead over destruction of the older stadium to force the issue, threaten Durban officials.

Amnesty for this red card would be imposition of a windfall tax on profiteering construction companies, directing revenues straight to neglected township facilities, including dusty, rocky soccer pitches.

Corruption

The second red card is FIFA’s culture of corruption and excess luxury in South Africa, the world’s most unequal major country. It’s not just FIFA boss Sepp Blatter’s own insensitive demands, such as the installation of fine new luxury toilets at one of South Afrcia’s leading hotels.

Reports of bribes for players, referees and officials are emerging. Lord Triesman, who chaired England’s Football Association and headed its 2018 World Cup bid team, last month claimed in a taped phone conversation that Spain and Russia are intent on paying referees to fix matches. Journalist Declan Hill remarks, “Nothing at FIFA has been effective in stopping this kind of stuff.”

Other corruption includes the “death penalty” imposed on whistle blowing in the eastern-most city of Nelspruit: at least eight suspicious kills associated with the new 40,000-seat Mbombela stadium, and a hit list indicating profound splits in the ruling party.

The biggest corruption problem, as British journalist – and author of the gripping book Foul! – Andrew Jennings puts it, is that the “unaccountable structure they’ve installed is honed to deliver the game to the needs of global capitalism – with no checks or restraints. Just cheques”.

Debt

Those outflows are reason enough for a third red card: the huge import bill and rise in South Africa’s foreign debt to more than $80 billion. In agreements Pretoria tried to hide from the Mail & Guardian newspaper, it is now evident that FIFA not only will pay no taxes, the Zurich soccer gnomes can also ignore South Afrcia’s exchange control regulations.

Since the FIFA profit estimate is more than $3 billion (the TV rights alone sold for $2.8 billion), the export of funds will hit South Africa’s current account balance hard. Already South Africa is at the very bottom of the emerging markets rankings for this reason, making likely a currency crash sooner than later.

As senior financier Trevor Kerst observed of stadium subsidies last month, “The return on that investment is by no means assured. Within these exclusion zones, only FIFA and its partners may sell any goods; nothing from these sales accrues to the government.”

Who are these partners? The Khulumani Support Group joined Jubilee South Africa to demand reparations payments from firms which supported apartheid, a matter currently in the US courts through the Alien Tort Claims Act. Khulumani has begun its own red card campaign against corporate sponsors of the German and US teams who show up on the defendant docket: Daimler, Rheinmettal, Ford, IBM and General Motors.

FIFA “partners” who bought exclusive rights to monopolise commerce in South Africa’s cities these next four weeks are Adidas, Coca-Cola, Air Emirates, Hyundai, Sony and Visa, while “official sponsors” include Budweiser, McDonald’s and Castrol.

Worse, the construction bubble has been driving South Africa’s economy, just as happened in the US prior to its crash. New luxury transport infrastructure, for example, gambles on shifting rich people’s behaviour away from private cars. But the $3 billion Gautrain rapid rail costs riders five times more than previously advertised and probably won’t dislodge Johannesburg-Pretoria commuters, thanks to traffic jams and parking shortages at the new stations.

As Congress of South African Trade Unions leader Zwelinzima Vavi, put it, Gautrain “does nothing for those who really suffer from transport problems – above all, commuters from places like Soweto and Diepsloot. Instead, it takes away resources that could improve the lives of millions of commuters.”

And was a new $1.1 billion King Shaka International Airport wise for Durban given that the old one had excess capacity until 2017, and given the doubling of distance and taxi fares from central Durban?

Mitigating these red cards requires a full rethink of government’s relaxation of exchange controls and its high-end infrastructure spending. Re-imposition of the capital controls so as to halt capital flight, and new housing/services subsidies for townships and rural areas are both overdue.

Trickle-down failure

A fourth red card is the lack of trickle-down to the masses, witnessed in wasted opportunities – such as the trashy Zakumi doll mascot made in Chinese sweatshops, not here – and municipalities’ brutal displacement tactics. Informal street traders are furious at being barred from selling in the vicinity of games, as are Durban fisherfolk evicted from the main piers in early June.

Crafts, tourism and township soccer facilities were all meant to benefit. But as SA Football Association Western Cape provincial president, Norman Arendse, confessed, FIFA’s “fatal” top-down approach left grassroots soccer with merely “crumbs”.

Most sickening is the betrayal of helpless street kids. On April 1, 2009, at the Fourth South Africa Aids Conference, Durban city manager Mike Sutcliffe promised that “street children would not be whisked off the streets in the backs of police vans before the 2010 World Cup kicked off in the city, only to miraculously reappear on the streets when visitors had returned home”.

Turns out he was April-fooling with us. Whisking is underway, and as Durban NGO Umthombo director Tom Hewitt remarked in February, “Removing children for the World Cup is not about child protection but about cleaning up the streets.”

Others pissed off by FIFA and local World Cup elites are AIDS agencies trying to distribute condoms, an idea which repelled the Zurich gnomes. Environmentalists are disgusted with the tree-planting “offset” gimmicks that some municipalities boast to make the World Cup less of a contribution to global warming.

A red card need not be slapped on municipalities if they reverse such policies and urgently inform FIFA that local business exclusion zones are now inside not outside the stadiums, so that local informal traders, fisherfolk and street kids can get on with their lives.

Sovereignty

The fifth red card is for FIFA’s takeover of South Africa’s sovereignty.

Consider what civil society groups trying to arrange a pro-education march to Union Buildings in Pretoria learned: “We have just been informed by Johannesburg Metro Police, without any substantive reasons or legal basis, that all marches and gatherings, including ours, have been banned in South Africa for the whole of June until 15th July. Our hard won constitutional rights, for which we continue to struggle, cannot be taken away by the whim of police-officers or politicians.”

Most chilling is that not only does FIFA get full indemnity “against all proceedings, claims and related costs (including professional adviser fees) which may be incurred or suffered by or threatened by others”.

Journalists getting FIFA accreditation must also pledge not to throw the World Cup “into disrepute” while reporting, at the risk of being banned. With such pressure, no wonder that the superb documentary film Fahrenheit 2010 was censored by the three major South African networks in recent weeks.

In addition, confirms one official agreement, South Africa will provide police specifically “to enforce the protection of the marketing rights, broadcast rights, marks and other intellectual property rights of FIFA and its commercial partners”.

There appears, however, to be a bit of wiggle room here, and the red card could certainly be appealed if state militarists U-turn. Indeed, in Johannesburg, a June 11 march to Soccer City against FIFA was provisionally allowed, so long as the Anti-Privatisation Forum agreed to stay more than 1.5 kilometres away from FIFA HQ.

Another test is an anti-FIFA march on June 16 commemorating the Soweto uprising, which activists in the newly reconstituted Durban Social Forum have been planning for several weeks. They argued the case for marching to City Hall – a couple of kilometres south of Mabhida Stadium – whereas the cops were insistent they should be shunted further southwards to Albert Park.

In Cape Town, local Abahlali baseMjondolo activists promised to erect shacks next to Green Point Stadium this weekend; city officials vow to bring out the demolition squads.

Repression

How mean might the cops get? The sixth red card goes to the South African police for their repression, starting with security minister in KwaZulu-Natal Bheki Cele’s 2008 “shoot to kill” order, quickened with clampdowns on striking workers and then last week’s murder of service delivery protesters in a township (Etwatwa) east of Johannesburg and in Soweto, and also of two young men in Phoenix, Durban, which catalysed a demonstration against police brutality.

The necessary U-turn would include a ceasefire by a police force now aiming its guns at the people. To avoid a red card (and red blood in the streets), South Africa’s securocrats should now point fingers and detective investigations at the real criminals, from Zurich, a wicked mafiosi group whose nickname now is “Thiefa”, for obvious reasons.

Or put more positively, as did the National Union of Metalworkers’ spokesperson Castro Ngobesi in an official Bafana-boosting statement on June 10, “The opening match should serve as defiance to the barbaric, immoral and exploitive Capitalist system, for football by its nature promotes communalism and sharing – key elements of Socialism.

[Patrick Bond directs the Durban-based Centre for Civil Society, which issues the daily World Cup Watch at http://www.ukzn.ac.za/ccs, dedicated to the memory of South Africa’s greatest political economist of sport, Dennis Brutus (1924-2009). Brutus was a Robben Island prison veteran; a critic of corporate athletics, including FIFA; the primary organiser of 1960s Olympic boycott of white South Africa, of expulsion of white South Afrcia from FIFA in 1976, and of 1970s-1980s cricket, rugby and tennis anti-apartheid campaigns; a leading poet and literary scholar; a global justice movement strategist; and at time of death, a Centre for Civil Society honorary professor. Until his last breath, he opposed the World Cup being held in a country characterised by what he termed “class apartheid”.] 

 

Comments

Alternative (poor people's) World Cup

The Alternative (poor people's) World Cup started today (13.6.2010) at Avonwood field (behind Athlone stadium in Cape Town); along with other teams, team Palestine lined up for the competition. Whereas all the world's capitalist press recognizes the fascist 'Israeli' team in the millionaires world cup, we recognize team Palestine as the only legitimate representative of the people in the land of historic Palestine. With red headbands and Palestinian flags the team Palestine lined up with other teams. Competition is from today and the next 3 sundays from 10am to 17h00. [13, 20, 27 June and 4 July]. We look forward to the day when all the millions of Palestinian refugees return to their homes in Palestine. We call for Palestine supporters to turn out in numbers in support of the alternative world cup.

for further comment from the alternative world cup, call co-organiser Ashraf Cassiem ph 0761861408
The Workers International Vanguard League is organizing a showing of the movie 'Offside' which shows Palestinian youth attempting to organise a simple soccer game but being prevented by the fascist Israeli checkpoints. Offside will be shown on June 16th at Community House Salt River at 17h00; immediately afterwards there will be the next planning meeting for the call for sending internationalist brigades to Egypt to mobilise to tear down the 'berlin wall' starting with the Rafah border. While the thousands of bombed-out buildings in Gaze are tottering and falling to pieces, the Egyptian regimes, collaborating with fascist Israel, at the instruction of US imperialism, are still denying concrete into Gaza for rebuilding; such is the barbaric nature of US imperialism today; this is the meaning of Obama extending his bloody hand to the people in the Middle East. The active collaboration of the EU and Russia in the siege of Gaza, the wall around and in the West Bank and the hundreds of checkpoints therein, shows that all the world's capitalist regimes are behind the ongoing genocide of the Palestinian people.

We repeat our call for an international general strike against fascist Israel and for a Free Palestine, from the river to the sea. We call for volunteers and for the raising of funds for the tearing down of the 'Berlin walls' in Palestine.

--
Shaheed Mahomed
WorkersInternational Vanguard League
SA section of
International Leninist Trotskyist Fraction.
1st Floor, Community House
41 Salt River rd
Salt River
South Africa
7925
ph 0822020617
ph [27] 21 4476777
fax 0865486048
workersinternational@gmail.com
web www.workersinternational.org.za

World Cup for All - Phansi Thiefa

World Cup for All - Phansi Thiefa

Durban Social Forum demands real development, not more elite profits

Durban Social Forum which consists of a number of civil society organisations will march peacefully on 16 June 2010 to highlight our many long outstanding grievances, especially those of the youth. Even though there is danger of human trafficking and child prostitution during the World Cup, schools are closed and alcohol consumption encouraged. South Africa’s youth need the best education and real prospects, not prostitution, not army call-ups. Our youth also demand delivery to the people, not to elites and multinational corporations like Feefa.

We are always willing to discuss our issues with government but we are inevitably ignored. It is important to expose these matters to the entire world. South Africa can build some of the best stadiums in the world; proving that all other delivery can and must also be accomplished within a minimum timeframe. The R40 billion Government has spent on the World Cup could have comfortably housed over 3 million homeless South Africans. Street traders, subsistence fisherfolk, artists and local businesses must not be denied their rights.

Vulnerable children, traders, the poor, the homeless, shackdwellers, refugees and others are removed so tourists won’t see them. Police are redeployed from normal duties to devote service almost exclusively to THIEFA. The needs of ALL South Africans have been negatively impacted in the long term by this mega-event – the debts and opportunity cost overwhelm any tourist revenue. Our government has sold its citizens out for a gigantic, short-term publicity stunt and we must not let them forget their responsibilities.

Soccer will not make a better life for all – it will only make the rich richer and the poor poorer! The ANC have not given a World Cup for All but again chose to deliver to the rich instead of the poor. South Africa is the most unequal country in the world but the World Cup is not going to solve this problem. While elites hide the realities and falsely claim that spending public funds on the World Cup will lead to development – they are the only ones allowed to profit. We must confront the real problems that the majority experience every day of their lives.

THE POOR ARE ‘FEELING’ THE HARDSHIP

DSF urges all communities to join us and voice their concerns. We ask all communities to send a message of support for this campaign together with their concerns and demands. We want written assurances from government of when they will live up to their commitments and duties to all the peoples of South Africa. Please join our endeavour to rather serve the least well off in our society. Please pass on this message to as many interested people as possible.

Justice, Fifa style

World Cup 2010: Fans, robbers and a marketing stunt face justice, Fifa style

Marina Hyde finds South Africa has handed over a chunk of its legal process to football's governing body.


Logo on dresses marketing beer
The size of the logo on dresses worn as part of a beer marketing campaign at the World Cup. Photograph: Guillermo Arias/AP

The Johannesburg magistrates' court is the sort of unloved municipal building whose corridors smell of damp and bureaucracy, and whose chilly courtrooms recall Bismarck's observation that those who love sausages and believe in justice should never see either being made.

Enter this structure at present, however, and you are greeted by large signs proclaiming the "Fifa World Cup Courts", directing you to the courtrooms which have been specially established to deal swiftly with anyone besmirching the good name of this football tournament. Unsure of when the next case is up? Then do take your seat in the "Fifa World Cup Court Waiting Room".

If it feels inevitable that football's world governing body should finally have slapped its branding on justice itself, you are strongly urged just to submit. Consider this a little pocket of Zurich in an area of Johannesburg in which Fifa president Sepp Blatter is unlikely ever to dine.

Keen to dispel its crime-ridden image before the tournament, South Africa agreed to the establishment of 56 World Cup Courts across the country, staffed by more than 1,500 dedicated personnel, including magistrates, prosecutors, public defenders and interpreters.

Intended to dispense speedy justice, they sit late into the night – or rather they twiddle their thumbs late into the night, because a mere 25 cases have been heard at the time of writing. According to the Mail and Guardian newspaper, that clocks in at a competitively priced £160,000 a conviction.

The most high-profile cases have been the two Zimbabweans who robbed some foreign journalists on a Wednesday, were arrested on the Thursday, and began 15-year jail sentences on the Friday; and the Dutch women who wore orange dresses to Soccer City stadium and were charged with "ambush marketing" for Bavaria beer. The ladies appeared before Johannesburg magistrates last week – despite their arrest being denounced as "disproportionate" by the Netherlands foreign minister and an embassy official – and were bailed to return on Tuesday on criminal charges which carry a maximum penalty of six months.

And the others? "I don't work for Fifa," sighs the clerk at Johannesburg magistrates' court, but he is sufficiently amused by the resources lavished upon the handful of petty cases dealt with so far to produce the relevant charge sheets.

LA Law it is not. With the exception of the Dutch causes célèbres, a typical case features a Soweto man who stole two cans of Coke, two mini cans of soda water, and one mini can of lemonade from a Soccer City corporate hospitality lounge. He admitted guilt and paid a fine. Elsewhere, a pair of tourists who assaulted a local were fined £1,350 between them, while another Joburg resident who stole a few bottles of alcohol from Soccer City had his bail opposed and remains in custody, presumably lacking an irate foreign minister to intervene on his behalf.

In a country in which many residents feel the wheels of justice turn at a glacial pace, if at all, the speed of the World Cup courts was initially welcomed. But as more details emerge of their cost, and the nature of crimes being tried, some have predictably begun to ask whether time might not be better spent bringing more serious matters to court. For largely petty offences, the harsh sentences being handed down have a distinctly showy quality to them. At the weekend, the National Prosecuting Authority was forced to insist it was possible to mount a fair trial in 24 hours.

For all its superficial silliness, though, it is the Dutch case that touches on the most troubling issues. Placed on South Africa's statute book in 2006 was something called the 2010 Fifa World Cup South Africa Special Measures Act. The women in orange are accused of contravening two sections of this law, namely the parts that prohibit "unauthorised commercial activities inside an exclusion zone" and "enter[ing] into a designated area while in unauthorised possession of a commercial object".

What is so radical about the legislation, though, is the fact that it makes such activity a criminal rather than civil offence. Not only does this arguably debase what it is to be a crime, but it contravenes rights enshrined in South Africa's constitution. In March, Fifa successfully pursued a low- cost airline for using pictures of footballs, vuvuzelas, and stadiums in its advertising, causing a South African legal expert to voice amazement at the "excesses" of the World Cup legislation, and to lament the choice the government made "to placate Fifa" at the expense of freedom of expression.

Fifa praises South Africa for adopting this draconian stance – as well it might. It's all very pour encourager les autres. Yet, when it is pointed out that even the Chinese government stopped short of actually criminalising this kind of marketing intrusion at the Beijing games, a Fifa spokesman declares that similar legislation is in place in New Zealand ready for next year's Rugby World Cup.

Does that constitute what questionable newspaper convention demands we style as a "growing trend"? It's certainly not the most enormous stretch to imagine the International Olympic Committee demanding similar laws for London 2012, though one can only hope the coalition would roll over less easily on legislation affecting liberties than New Labour were given to doing.

In South Africa, alas, that horse has bolted, and it is difficult not to conclude the government was either browbeaten by Fifa or displayed an effectively unprincipled willingness to please. After all, under pre-existing laws, it would have been possible for Fifa to sue the Dutch beer company for what would amount to a compensatory royalty.

With the two offenders threatened with six months jail, however, all Fifa will tell the Guardian is that it is "considering" suing Bavaria. Yet if it truly believes it has suffered economic detriment, then why wouldn't it? It appears that instead of the hassle of launching its own litigation, Fifa would far rather see local law agencies enforce its rapacious will through the criminal courts, at whatever preposterous cost to the host nation.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010

The Poor People's World Cup

http://www.abahlali.org/node/7067

June 13, 2010 -- After months of organizing a World Cup that is accessible for all the poor communities who won’t be able to see their favourite soccer teams playing in Cape Town’s expensive Greenpoint Stadium – there are only a few hours left until the kick-off of the PPWC starts!

This Poor People's World Cup is organized, because we feel that we are excluded from the FIFA World Cup 2010. We see that the government has put enormous amounts of money in Greenpoint Stadium and in upgrading Althone stadium, but we as poor communities don’t benefit from all of these investments. The soccer matches will be played in town, but we don’t have tickets or transport to go there. Besides this, the FIFA World Cup has negatively impacted our communities as we are not allowed to trade near stadiums, fan parks and other tourist areas any more. The poor are not only evicted from their trading spaces for the World Cup, we are also evicted from our homes and relocated to the TRA’s, such as Blikkiesdorp, far away from the centre and from job opportunities and from the eyes of the tourists..

We as the Anti-Eviction Campaign and affected communities therefore decided to create our own World Cup: A World Cup that is accessible for everyone!! We therefore invited all the evicted traders to sell their products at the tournament and we invited the people who were evicted from their homes to make space for the FIFA World Cup. Not only the affected communities are invited, our PPWC is open to everyone, as we don’t exclude people from participation!

During this tournament that will be held on the next 4 Sundays, 36 teams from 40 different poor communities (from Guguletu, Michells Plain, Athlone, Delft, etc.), will be representing one of the official World Cup countries. Tomorrow we will start from 10 AM at Avondale (soccer fields next to Athlone stadium) with speeches from Martin Legassick (UWC Emeritus Professor/ housing activist), Michael Premo (Housing is a Human Right) and from communities. After this we will have a soccer game for minus 9 year old’s to kick-off the start of our tournament. Then we will have another speech and we will start with the official tournament at 12:00 (until 17:00).

Besides this PPWC, we are going to have a march on the 21st of June to invite the mayor, Dan Plato as well as people from FIFA to come to our final games on the 4th of July. With this march we want to tell our government and the World that this FIFA World Cup hasn’t bring us any good and that we are even being further marginalized!

We as the Anti-Eviction Campaign and all the affected communities, invite all media, tourists and people who are interested to come to our tournament tomorrow.

We hope to welcome you all to our Poor People's World Cup!!

For more information, please contact one of the AEC coordinators: Pamela Beukes: 078 5563003, Ashraf Cassiem: 076 1861408,

Mncedisi Twalo 078 5808646, Gary Hartzenberg 072 3925859, Jane Roberts 074 2384236 or Willie Heyn 073 1443619

Tear gas, rubber bullets against demo at Durban stadium

Durban - DPA - June 13, 2010 - Riot police used rubber bullets, tear gas and smoke grenades to disperse protestors at Durban's Moses Mabhida stadium early Monday, just two hours after the Germany-Australia match ended.

 

Several hundred private security officers who work at the stadium during the World Cup were demanding more pay at a stadium parking lot.

One woman suffered minor injuries after being hit by a rubber bullet, police said, adding that no one was seriously hurt when police charged against the group.

However, two percussion grenades that police used to disperse demonstrators caused panic in the nearby media centre and other areas of the World Cup facility, with reporters and volunteers running away from the noise. There was a lot of confusion as people sought to establish the cause of the disturbance.

Security has been a major concern at the first World Cup ever held on African soil.

Earlier, Germany beat Australia 4-0 in the first World Cup match played in Durban. Both teams had already left the site at the time of the incident.

The stadium is to host the Spain-Switzerland match Wednesday.

Strikes rock Cup

Jun 14, 2010 10:09 PM| By

The organisers of the World Cup have been shaken by a series of embarrassing protests in and around stadiums hosting tournament matches.


Late yesterday in Cape Town, security officials who were to monitor the game between Italy and Paraguay walked off the job.

A furious local organising committee CEO Danny Jordaan said: "This is an employer-employee wage dispute. Although we have respect for workers' rights, we find it unacceptable for them to disrupt match-day proceedings and will not hesitate to take action."

Organising committee spokesman Rich Mkhondo said police officers had taken over security at the Cape Town stadium.

In Johannesburg, about 90 Bus Rapid Transit System drivers hung up their keys yesterday morning, leaving hundreds of Dutch and Danish fans headed for Soccer City in the lurch.

And in Durban early yesterday, 500 security stewards at Moses Mabhida stadium embarked on a violent demonstration against low wages. The organising committee has asked police to assume control of that stadium too until further notice.

Mkhondo said last night: "Indeed they have walked out of the Cape Town and Durban stadiums . following a wage dispute not with us but with their private contractor. There's nothing I can tell you about the dispute . Gates opened on time."

However, by 7.30pm in Cape Town, a half hour before kickoff, the stadium was only half full because police officers were taking time to admit fans. Supporters waited in the rain and wind as hundreds of policemen scanned them with metal detectors.

As the match started at 8.30pm, some security guards were on duty checking in supporters.

Reya Vaya CEO Jackie Huntley said last night the drivers in Johannesburg had "embarked on an illegal work stoppage".

After the match in Soweto ended at 3.30pm, city officials swung into high gear and police diverted many of the more than 83000 fans to the Nasrec train station across the road.

American tourist Alison Zes said "the situation is chaotic but fine" after her family were told to get on and off several trains before finding one destined for Park Station.

Others said they were "stunned" to discover that the buses that took them to Soccer City would not return them to the city.

Angry Dutch fan Stefan Jansen van Vuuren said: "I don't know how the hell we are going to get back, and my friend has a limp. This is a f***k-up."

From Park Station there was no further transport to take tourists back to their hotels.

Several bus drivers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they had gone on strike after being told on Friday that their regular routes would change during the World Cup and that they would have to work overtime taking fans to Soccer City and Ellis Park. The Times saw 100 buses parked at the depot in the south of the city.

The drivers said they wanted to work overtime, but an initial sum of R250 a shift agreed to by the city was cut last week to R100.

The drivers were also furious at having missed Friday's opening match, having been informed only that day that they would be expected to work extended hours.

In Durban, police spokesman Phindile Radebe said security guards hurled bottles and other objects at the office of the security manager, injuring staff.

"Members of the Public Order Policing Unit were immediately deployed to the stadium and managed to contain the situation."

One security steward said she had worked from 6.30am on Sunday until 1.30am yesterday.

"We are not slaves. We were promised R1500 and now to see this R190 [we were paid] is an insult,'' she said.

Cosatu spokesman Patrick Craven said that although it was better not to have strikes during the World Cup, "they are unfortunately unavoidable".

"People strike when they feel they have no alternative. You can't suspend your constitutional, democratic rights just because it is the World Cup," he said.

Political analyst Steven Friedman agreed: "The fact that something is illegal doesn't necessarily mean that the strike is unjust.

"It is assumed that anybody who has to work long hours during the World Cup won't say anything about it because they'll be considered unpatriotic. The drivers may well be expected to work long hours for inappropriate pay."

http://www.timeslive.co.za/local/article503921.ece/Strikes-rock-Cup?service=print

Security guards' World Cup strike spreads, workers sacked

World Cup strike spreads to half of venues

2010-06-16 01:30:00

Security stewards angered over low pay expanded their strike Tuesday to five of the World Cup's 10 stadiums, forcing police to assume their duties in a bitter counterpoint to the generally festive tournament.

South African Police Services said it deployed about 1,000 extra officers in and around Johannesburg's Ellis Park to guarantee security for the night match between Brazil, one of tournament favorites, and North Korea.

On a day that carried winter's bite in this Southern Hemisphere nation, hundreds of stewards and security guards dressed in their black uniforms sang, whistled and chanted for more pay outside the stadium.

"Everywhere we go, we have rights," they sang as armed police kept watch but did not interfere. Later, bundled in knit caps and gloves, many of the strikers huddled in the raw wind and temperatures just above freezing, waiting for news about negotiations.

Police said they also have taken over security at stadiums in Durban, Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, where Portugal and Ivory Coast played to a 0-0 draw Tuesday.

Several hundred guards also walked off the job at Soccer City, the main World Cup stadium on Johannesburg's outskirts. There was no match there; its next game will be Thursday.

At issue is a wage dispute between the mostly black stewards and Stallion Security Consortium, a private, black-run company hired by World Cup organizers to provide stewards for five of the 10 venues. No wage problems have surfaced among stewards hired for the other five stadiums by South Africa's largest security company, Fidelity.

A woman who answered the phone at Stallion's Johannesburg office said company officials had gone to Ellis Park for a meeting about the dispute. No details of any negotiations were made public.

The dispute comes against a backdrop of jitters about security for the monthlong tournament and numerous examples of screening for journalists and VIPs that has been more lax than at other major sporting events.

The strikers said they were being offered from 126 rand ($16.50) to 190 rand ($25), for 12- to 15-hour shifts. They were demanding at least 450 rand per day ($59).

Strikers accused the security company of mistreating them, feeding them only one meal during their shifts. They said many were unable to get home after getting off work late in the evening and were spending the night at bus and police stations in the frigid cold.

"We are freezing," said Denis Manganye. "They said this World Cup we would be getting money. Where is the money?"

In Durban, some 2,000 stewards protested over wages, calling on FIFA to confirm what they should earn for working at the tournament.

Most of the demonstrators left after a couple of hours when they were paid 205 rand ($26.50) in exchange for turning in their orange stewards' bibs.

"I am not happy about it, but I'm all right," a man who gave only his first name, James, said as he left the protest.

The demonstration started with about 150 stewards dancing, chanting and singing as they walked from near the Moses Mabhida Stadium to a rally near Durban's busy downtown railroad. As their numbers swelled, they walked in an orderly column back to the stadium, where dozens of police shepherded them into a fenced-off field.

The stewards and a union official both called on FIFA to mediate in the dispute with Stallion.

"We are trying to gather more information, so we can attempt to engage FIFA and the local organizing committee and find a solution," South African Transport and Allied Workers Union coordinator Mzwandile Jackson Simon said.

"There are indications they are willing to work something out," he added. "I don't think police will manage on their own."

Simon said the union is convinced that Stallion has made wage commitments to the stewards that were not fulfilled, and that the company needs to be an active part of efforts to resolve the dispute.

According to South Africa's Business Day and other local financial media, Stallion is a privately held black economic empowerment company. Simon said one of its principals is a former national prosecutor, Bulelani Ngcuka.

On Monday, police took over security at stadiums in Durban and Cape Town after the stewards protested. Both cities are scheduled to host semifinals next month. Police were posted around the Durban stadium Tuesday and carried out checks that previously were done by the stewards.

Durban police used tear gas and rubber bullets after Sunday's match between Germany and Australia to disperse a crowd of stewards at the stadium. However, there have been no reports of serious security problems inside the stadiums arising from the stewards' absence.

"We are confident that we will not compromise the safety of the tournament or our day to day normal policing", said the national police commissioner, Gen. Bheki Cele.

South Africa's World Cup organizing committee declined to comment on the extension of the strike to Johannesburg. Spokesman Rich Mkhondo said questions should be directed to the police and the security contractor.

Earlier Tuesday, Mkhondo said at a daily news briefing that organizers "will not tolerate any defiance or putting the tournament into risk."

FIFA also declined comment on the protest.

Elsewhere on the labor front, trade unions which represents employees of South Africa's electricity monopoly are threatening a strike over wages. Mediation talks are planned later this week with Eskom, which is offering a 7 percent wage hike while workers are demanding a 15 percent increase.

___

Associated Press writers Mike Corder in Durban, and Jean H. Lee and Graham Dunbar in Johannesburg contributed to this report.

***

Security guards march to Durban stadium

June 15, 2010

Scores of security guards marched to the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban after talks with their employer at Durban station on Tuesday.

Their pay queries would be addressed at the stadium, said Tebogo Lehlokoe, of Stallion Security.

Monitored by the police, the uniformed guards sang and chanted slogans on the kilometre march. - Sapa

***

We expected R1,500 a day - Stallion Security guards

SAPA

15 June 2010

Company removes jackets and accreditation tags from protesting employees

DURBAN (Sapa) - Jackets and accreditation tags were on Tuesday taken from scores of security guards who went on the rampage in Durban on Monday over wages.

Attempts by Stallion Security to cajole security guards to return to work failed on Tuesday morning.

The guards ignored forms they were asked to sign to give an undertaking that they would not withdraw their labour again during the World Cup.

As a result, the company paid them and took their jackets and accreditation tags.

By 2pm, guards were queuing to get R205 for working during the game between Germany and Australia.

Police were at the Moses Mabhida stadium.

It was not clear whether the guards would be allowed to return to work.

While most of the guards were adamant that the strike should continue, some felt it should be abandoned pending negotiations about the dispute.

"I believe that we should wait for negotiations to be concluded. I think that we should work during the game tomorrow (Wednesday)," said Bongani Mqadi, one of the security guards.

The guards met at the Durban railway station on Tuesday morning, later marching the one kilometre to the stadium while police watched them on the ground and from a helicopter overhead.

The guards overturned refuse bins and hurled objects at the police, who opened fire on them with rubber bullets, early on Monday after the game between Germany and Australia.

The guards told journalists they were promised R1500 a day, but only received R190.

"Our company has taken a decision not to comment on this matter. Please respect our decision," said a Stallion Security official Robin Claassen.

KwaZulu-Natal police spokeswoman Brigadier Phindile Radebe said contingency plans were in place for Wednesday's game at the stadium.

"There is no need for people to panic. Everything is under control. We understand that there are negotiations currently taking place to resolve the problem."

Radebe said police had been sent to the stadium, but she could not say how many.

***

Guards paid off, police handle security

By Reuters

A policeman observes the scene as South African stadium security workers shout for higher wages as they protest outside the Ellis Park soccer stadium ahead of the 2010 World Cup match between Brazil and North Korea in Johannesburg, June 15, 2010. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

DURBAN (Reuters) - About two thousand disgruntled security guards, watched closely by riot police, handed in their uniforms and received their pay outside the Durban stadium on Tuesday, two days after violent scenes at the World Cup venue.

Police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse hundreds of protesting guards, unhappy at their pay, after Germany's victory over Australia at the Moses Mabhida stadium on Sunday.

On Tuesday police said they were taking over security at Durban, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg because of the dispute between the guards and their employers, a local security firm. The arrangement would include Tuesday night's match between Brazil and North Korea at Ellis Park.

Security was also handed to police at press facilities in Johannesburg housing the thousands of journalists covering the World Cup, which have been lax up to now.

Police chief Bheki Cele said the arrangements would not interfere with the force's overall task of protecting teams and fans during the tournament although it is bound to divert a few thousand officers.

Under World Cup arrangements, security inside stadium perimeters was originally contracted to local firms by the organizing committee, which has expressed anger at the industrial action by the guards.

In Durban on Tuesday, security staff were marshaled by riot police as they queued up to hand in their World Cup accreditations and orange jackets, receiving small brown envelopes containing a day's pay in return.

One man waved the envelope of 205 rand ($28) he had received from the Stallion Security Consortium and shouted "peanuts, peanuts, peanuts."

"They just told us that our jobs have been taken by the police," said a female security guard, Zanele Mcineka.

"We signed a contract for three months. I want to get a straight answer about whether our jobs are still here."

(Writing by Nick Mulvenney and Barry Moody, editing by Ken Ferris)

***

Daily News

3 600 security stewards lose their jobs

June 15, 2010 Edition 2

BARBARA COLE, MPUME MADLALA and ARTHI SANPATH

ABOUT 3 600 security stewards - half in Durban and the rest in Cape Town - have lost their jobs at the World Cup stadiums after a wage dispute escalated.

Now police have taken over the stewards' duties at the Moses Mabhida and Cape Town stadiums at the request of the Local Organising Committee, spokesman Rich Mkhondo said last night.

This is after protests over wages by the stewards employed by Stallion Security Consortium, holder of the private security World Cup contract at the stadiums.

The employees met with Stallion's director Trevor Zulberg today and were told they no longer had jobs.

After Sunday night's match between Germany and Australia in Durban, stewards protested while gathering to collect their pay. Riot police were called and used tear gas to disperse them.

In Cape Town yesterday, hundreds of stewards protested and left their posts before last night's match between Italy and Paraguay. Police said 500 were "peacefully moved" out of the stadium.

One thousand police trainees, boosted by personnel from the city's law enforcement, metro police and traffic services, were then deployed to handle the World Cup crowd.

The Durban incident made headlines around the world, marring a near-perfect first World Cup game in the city.

Teboho Lehlokoe of Stallion Security, who addressed the stewards outside the Durban stadium yesterday, said last night that their decision to strike had backfired.

"They thought they would strike and we would give them whatever they wanted. They were under the wrong impression that if they went on strike, the World Cup would not happen," he said.

"But that was their biggest mistake. They don't understand that if they strike or not, the World Cup will go ahead. This is not about them or Stallion. It is about South Africa and the country will do whatever it has to do to make sure that the World Cup is successful."

The police had contingency plans and the strikers had forced them into the position where they had to take over the security at the stadiums, Lehlokoe said.

He said stewards had deserted their posts, leaving the stadium at risk, and that was a disciplinary offence. "How could the police rely on them again?" he asked.

The police would be in charge of security throughout the World Cup.

Lehlokoe said the stewards were pleading with him yesterday for their jobs back.

But he told them that even if the parties were able to find a solution, the decision about whether they could return to work now rested with the police.

"You have complicated the matter," Lehlokoe told them.

He said that he knew who the people were who were "causing this trouble".

He said later that it was people from other security companies which had not got the World Cup contract. They had told the stewards that people all over the country were getting far more money than they were, he claimed.

"This was hugely miscalculated by people who are doing well, but it is the stewards who are now the losers," he said.

Dumisani Madlala, who had been "overwhelmed" at the chance of working at the stadium, said he was to have received R190 for working on Sunday, while Johannesburg workers got R1 500. Even though Stallion had decided to increase this to R500, he and his co-workers were still unhappy, he said.

"I really thought life would be better, even if just for a while. We are struggling," he said.

Nomasister Tshula, who takes care of her two children and seven siblings, said that R190 was "not fair".

But Lehlokoe said the wage was not a "thumb suck", but had been set by government. They would be paid for 18 hours, even though match day shifts were 12 hours: "Clearly someone had advised them to wait until match day to protest. People are unrealistic about the World Cup and think they can make a killing," Lehlokoe said.

One steward, who declined to give his name, said they had protested only after all the soccer supporters had left the stadium.

It had been started by stewards called in to boost numbers for matches, not the regular stadium staff, he claimed.

According to the website of the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority, Grade C security officers (looking after people) earn R10.34 an hour, while Grade D (looking after assets on the perimeter of a building) earn R9.51 an hour.

Zulberg addressed hundreds of security guards who had gathered outside Durban Station.

He, however, said if they still wanted their jobs he would go back and beg Fifa, but did not give any guarantees.

Some of the workers claimed they were not allowed to review their contract when they had signed the document and were not sure whether they were going to be paid per day, week or month.

Respect

Danny Jordaan, the Local Organising Committee chief executive, said: "This is an employer-employee wage dispute.

"Although we have respect for workers' rights, we find it unacceptable for them to disrupt match day proceedings and will not hesitate to take action in such instances," Jordaan said.

COSATU condemns harsh treatment of security guards

June 16, 2010 -- COSATU calls on the Security Guard Companies to treat the Workers fairly and avoid embarrassing our World Cup. The greed of Security Companies in the Western Cape linked to the World Cup Stadium is causing tension at the Stadium. Some companies are underpaying Workers in relation to what the Stadium pays the Security Companies for them. This leads to a situation where Workers doing the same job are paid different rates of pay on the same site. This short-sightedness on the part of Security Company bosses is leading to the Industrial Action.

COSATU offers to intervene to assist in addressing the problems and restore the sound industrial relations at the stadium. However it must be noted that these workers are not COSATU members. The practice at stadia highlights again the problem with Labour Broker type employment.

This World Cup belongs to all the people of South Africa and the Security Companies cannot sabotage the event with their greed. We call on the workers to engage the company towards a solution.

For questions please call Tony AT 082 77 33 194 or Evan at 071 85 59 560

 

COSATU day of action against Mexican government at World Cup

NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION AGAINST THE FASCIST MEXICAN GOVERNMENT

15 June 2010

We the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) affiliated unions, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU), Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing, Wood and Allied Workers Union (CEPPAWU), joined by our international federation allies, the International Metalworkers Federation and International Chemical, Energy and Mining Federation have taken a political and conscious decision to embark on a NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION in solidarity with workers and trade unions of Mexico against the continued onslaught and terror unleashed by the fascist and counter-revolutionary Mexican regime.

We have decided to use this occasion of the 2010 FIFA World Cup as a platform to raise the plight of the workers and the poor in Mexico. This is informed by our political convictions that the soccer is a working class sport and it should be used to mobilize society around a particular political programme geared towards fostering solidarity, peace and friendship amongst the people of the world.

We demand the following immediate action:

1.      The recognition of Cde Napoleon Gomez Urritia as the democratically elected General Secretary of the National Mexican Miners and Metalworkers Union;
2.      Lift all trumped up charges against Cde Napoleon Gomez Urritia and other trade union leaders;
3.      The return all frozen funds immediately to the union, including assets seized in 2006 and 2008 respectively;
4.      The restoration of the rights of workers to organize and embark on strike actions;
5.      The unconditional release of all trade union leaders and activists languishing in jails;
6.      An end to the continued to the harassment and torture of trade union activist by the fascist regime police

Informed by the above peculiar conditions and onslaught meted against our allies in Mexico we will be embarking on a variety of activities to exert pressure to the fascist Mexican government to adhere to our demands. These activities are a build-up to our NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION to the Mexican Embassy on the 28 June 2010. On the June 17 and June 22 during the World Cup games which feature Mexico we will be having pickets. We call on all workers and the general public to join these actions in solidarity with the workers and the poor of Mexico.

Issued:

Lesiba Seshoka

NUM National Spokesperson - 082 803 6719

Castro Ngobese

NUMSA National Spokesperson - 073 299 1595

Zico Tamela

SATAWU International Affairs Secretary - 083 437 8654

Cedric Maluleka

CEPPAWU National Spokesperson - 082 738 2855

Stephen Nhlapo

IMF Africa Representative - 083 632 6986

Satawu statement on the security industry and the World Cup

An international disgrace  

16th June 2010

FIFA and the Local Organising Committee are fully responsible for the fiasco that is unfolding with regard to the employment of security workers for the World Cup. These bodies have created a situation which is undermining our national pride, and they should be made liable. FIFA and the LOC ignored organised labour during the tender process, and have appointed service providers who are non compliant with the law. FIFA and the LOC are dodging their responsibility by referring to the dispute in Stallion Security as an “internal labour relations matter”. They signed the contract. They must now ensure legal compliance.

This is an attack on the working class and the poor by capitalist forces who do not respect the national pride of the country, and who have put their narrow profit interests first. The poor working class has been put at the mercy of these capitalist forces. Some reports have indicated that in the case of Stallion Security, these forces may include political figures such the former National Prosecution Authority Director, Bulelani Ngcuka. If this is true, then we have yet another case of tenderpreneurship spearheaded by political figures.

Satawu as the biggest trade union representing security workers, has received reports that most of the security workers employed for World Cup related activities do not have written contracts, and that the sums they are substantially lower than the amounts they were verbally promised. Most have been employed on a temporary basis under conditions which do not comply with the minimum conditions stipulated by the Sectoral Determination for the Security Industry. This legislation makes provision for working hours, lunch breaks, rest periods, compensation for injury on duty, bonuses, leave etc. All the evidence points to total non compliance on the part of the security company which seems to have the largest contract.

In addition, the evidence points to non compliance with the legal obligation that all security officers in the industry be screened and registered with the regulatory authority to ensure that no criminals are employed.

Furthermore, we are informed that some of the workers are not trained in terms of the standards stipulated by the SETA of the sector and are not competent to crowd control and provide access control etc.

Regarding the compliance issues, Satawu has requested the Department of Labour and regulatory authority to send inspectors to all stadium to investigate the abuse of workers providing services to the world cup stadiums. The DOL has confirmed that it will do so.

We are will also continue to try to engage FIFA and the LOC, as well as the security service providers to find a solution on the current dispute so that the national interest of the country remains central to the enjoyment of the World Cup.

But more has to be done. We call on our government to urgently establish an Enquiry into the terms of employment of ALL workers employed by service providers. Action must be taken to enforce legal compliance before the country is embarrassed further by unscrupulous companies, with the complicity of FIFA and the LOC.

We further strongly condemn the continuous trigger happy behaviour of the South African Police Services in their attempt to silence workers from demonstrating their constitutional right to protest and to take strike action.

For more information, please do not hesitate to contact Jackson Simon, Satawu national coordinator for the Security sector on 011 333 6127 or 072 356 6358

 

Press Release: Final Day of the Poor People's World Cup Today

August 8, 2010

The remaining sixteen soccer teams will compete in final rounds of the Poor People's World Cup at the Avondale soccer fields, next to the Athlone Stadium in Cape Town at 10am on Sunday, August 8th, 2010. It will feature teams from Tagelsig, Gugulethu, Delft, Athlone, Khayelitsha, Westlake, Crossroads, Hanover Park, and other communities each representing a different country. The all-day tournament will feature a knock-out series of games during which the sixteen teams will go head to head.

Organized by the Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign, the Poor People's World Cup has brought together not just teams, but also the people who struggle everyday against evictions from their homes and working places and water and electricity cut-offs. This has been a World Cup accessible to everyone. It has attracted supporters from all across Cape Town as well as local and international journalists, researchers and international radio and television broadcasters.

The Poor People's World Cup began on the 13th of June, the same week as the FIFA tournament, but without any of the displacement, marginalization, or corporate sponsorship. As a result, it has taken not one, but two months, to complete, as the tournament has depended on local donations and the support of well-wishers at home and abroad to cover transportation and other costs. In particular, the London-based union UNITE has sponsored soccer teams kits and the UK group Solidarity Sports has sponsored a set of five trophies.

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