Thousands of people have marched through Durban today in protest of the South African government’s lavish spending on securing, preparing for and then hosting the 2010 World Cup.
The protesters were joined by hundreds of the match-day stewards and security staff that have been caught up in a dispute with the World Cup organisers over their low and, in some instances, unpaid wages – disputes that have seen the security workers withdrawn from five of the ten World Cup venues.
“Get out Fifa mafia!” chanted the crowds in a Durban park, their ranks swelled by stewards who were involved in clashes with riot police on Monday after protests over their wages.
Monday’s protests triggered walkouts by other stewards, which have led South Africa’s police to take control at the World Cup stadiums in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Johannesburg and Durban.
Ever since it was awarded the staging rights, South Africa’s government has faced accusations it should not be spending hundreds of millions of dollars on stadiums when about 40% of the population lives on less than $2 a day.”
(Taken from the South African newspaper – Times & Guardian)
Organiser of the march, Allan Murphy was quick to condemn the government’s excessive spending, arguing that the $4.3 billion it is thought that the tournament has already cost South Africa could (and should) have been put to much more practical use;
“If we have money for stadiums, we should not have any homeless people or people having to live in shacks.”
The majority of the marchers’ anger was directed towards FIFA, who reportedly stand to make record amounts of money from the first World Cup ever to be held on the African continent – including a $3 billion windfall from the television rights alone!
However, Sepp Blatter and his merry band of cronies have already passed the buck regarding the steward’s pay dispute – claiming that the unpaid wages are not it’s responsibility as they employed sub-contracters to carry out the stadium security.
This scapegoat-ery has done little to quell the protesters animosity toward FIFA, whose demand for a showpiece tournament has seen the government pour billions of the tax-paying South African’s Rands into their footballing project.