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 The World Cup is bad for South Africa

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PosOnderwerp: The World Cup is bad for South Africa   Mon May 10, 2010 9:31 pm

Examine the latest available Human Development Index (HDI) figures — a measure of education, life expectancy and standard of living — and you will find that the 2010 World Cup hosts are ranked 129 out of 182 UN member states. Or a whole 19 places below both Gaza and the West Bank. The effect of the blockade of the former is not yet included in the retrospective reports but the discrepancy between South Africa’s GDP and HDI makes it, as its Gini coefficient score also reveals, the most unequal country on the planet.

Much is, rightly, made of corruption. But little is said of how market state policies fashion business opportunities out of public sector needs. Neoliberalism has turned 16 years of “freedom” into a Trojan horse of disconnections, evictions and more shacks fashioned from corrugated iron and plastic. Over a period of 14 years, the 2006 Human Development Report calculated that 34.1% of South Africans lived on less than $2 a day. The 2009 version now estimates 42.9% do.

But as atrocious as these figures are, one statistic takes the breath away. Life expectancy has, according to the South African Medical Research Council, fallen by 13 years in a similar period. Read that again. It’s an apocalypse attributable not only to Thabo Mbeki’s HIV/Aids denialism, but to the way income inequality and poverty continue to impact the disease.

It’s instructive, then, that in its 2010 Index Of Economic Freedom review, the conservative Heritage Foundation gave South African government expenditure a rare approving score noting that, as a percentage of GDP, it was “relatively low”. The corollary is that South Africans are so often protesting the absence of any public service that the country has been labelled the “capital of protest”. Against these realities, the spending of close to R33 billion on a football tournament is testament to there being no concern for the national welfare among its decision makers.

For if there was, it would have been clear that mega-events laid on for the benefit of tourists, while reaping financial rewards for an investor class, have few payoffs for the populace. Temporary, low-skilled and poorly paid jobs do not constitute a solution to South Africa’s attritional 40%-plus expanded unemployment rate, which post-2010 will witness a zero-sum increase. Nor do feel-good factors translate into effective investment in the longer term. On the contrary, as Orli Bass and Udesh Pillay of the Human Sciences Research Council insist, there is “scholarly consensus” that the multiplier for a mega-event will be lower than that for spending on local goods and services.

More pressingly, poor South Africans cannot eat a legacy discourse. With an education, health, housing and jobs crisis so severe it can only, indeed, be compared to the aftermath of a scriptural catastrophe, the government’s spending on the World Cup exacerbates an already extreme state of affairs. We should be outraged that a country with such a brutal history of forced removals has, in order to create the right brand attributes, evicted the urban poor and rounded up the homeless. Dumped into so-called “temporary relocation areas” and “transit camps” (during the preliminary draw, street children were even held in Westville Prison) these disowned South Africans make a mockery of the struggle against apartheid.

How apt, therefore, that among the brands that will benefit from this beautification strategy, will be a company that refused to disinvest during the darkest days of the old regime and which now, as an official partner of Fifa, gives its name to the Coca-Cola Park stadium? But not just anyone will be allowed to participate in what President Jacob Zuma calls “the greatest marketing opportunity of our time”. Informal traders — a significant part of the working poor — are subject to a verbatim “exclusion zone” from the bonanza in the fan parks, fan walks and stadiums. For them, the World Cup may as well be happening on another continent.

While 2010 Organising Committee CEO Danny Jordaan compares the staging of such an event to a “second liberation“, we shouldn’t be surprised if those who are struggling for a meaningful notion of citizenship continue their public protests during the tournament. Undoubtedly, they will be deemed unpatriotic for disrupting the whole PC-PR-Potemkin village atmosphere. They will horrify the press whose accreditation with Fifa hangs on not engaging in conduct that detracts from the sporting focus. The police will, as is routine, shoot at them with buckshot, rubber bullets and teargas.

Nonetheless, they would be right to try using the leverage afforded by this vanity project to remind the world that they — and not its elites — are South Africa’s best hope for a much-needed sense of reality.


nee wat as die liberale begin fingers wys na die wc2010 sleg is ... dan moet dit mos wees
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PosOnderwerp: Fifa approved extra World Cup cash for South Africa   Tue May 11, 2010 2:11 pm

The man running the 2010 World Cup for Fifa has admitted an extra £67m ($100m) had to be injected into the project to ensure hosts South Africa were ready.

Fifa general secretary Jerome Valcke told BBC Sport the game's governing body signed off the 25% increase at an executive committee meeting in March.

He said the extra money was required to help the South Africans ensure team training camps were ready.

South Africa's organisational budget has now swelled from £282m to £349m.

But Valcke insisted Fifa's £2.1bn income from the tournament would more than cover the overall increase in its budget, which includes the South African allocation, from £733m to £800m.

England officials expressed deep concern about the team's World Cup base, particularly the state of the training pitches, when they visited the Royal Bafokeng Sports Campus in December.

But England coach Fabio Capello is now understood to be happy that it is ready for his team's arrival next month.

"We know we had to add some money for the team base camps where some teams were unhappy about the level of the services or the level of the pitches," said Valcke.

"That's a cost Fifa took over to ensure that things were delivered on time."

With exactly one month to go to the start of the World Cup on 11 June, the Frenchman said he was confident the South African organising committee would not require any further funding from Fifa.

He also said he was sure South Africa was ready to stage the tournament and added he was confident the event would leave a lasting legacy on the country and the African continent.

"A lot of people are trying to say the World Cup will be like the Rugby World Cup in '95 and the first election in '94," he said.

"I hope the final result of this World Cup will be that the two communities in South Africa will be a different country by the end."

Valcke defended the vast sums of money made from the sale of television and sponsorship rights relating to the World Cup, insisting that the governing body made no profit.

Any surplus, he explained, was re-invested in development football programmes or national associations around the world.

"The World Cup is the most beautiful football event, played every four years with the best teams of the World," said Valcke.

"It's a unique event, and that's why there is such interest. Yes, it's a lot of money but we are not sitting on profit."

In addition to the £800m spent by Fifa, South Africa has paid out a staggering £3.5bn on building and redeveloping 10 stadiums, creating a new transport infrastructure and ensuring security is up to scratch.

Gillian Saunders, who has conducted extensive research on the finances of the 2010 World Cup for accountants Grant Thornton, said expenditure on the event represented just 1.72% of South Africa's gross domestic product (GDP).

She said the country could afford the costs and that the tournament had helped to protect its economy from the fall-out from the global economic downturn.

"There is a negative perception in other countries about South Africa," she said. "Bringing the World Cup here will help turn that perception around."
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PosOnderwerp: South Africa World Cup 'just for the rich'   Tue May 11, 2010 2:14 pm

With a futuristic design, sky car and marble finish, the Moses Mabhida stadium has become one of Durban's leading tourist attractions ahead of the World Cup in South Africa.

The new $450m (£300m) arena was named after an anti-apartheid activist and hero of the black working class but some South Africans say his memory is being trampled on by people who are using the stadium to harass the poor.

"They should have called this stadium PW Botha - an oppressor - not Moses Mabhida, our father. It just makes a mockery of what he represented," says Johannes Mzimela, who sells ice-cream for a living

Mr Mzimela is upset at what he calls "hostile raids" by Durban's municipal police, against traders found operating near the stadium or any of the sites earmarked for the World Cup.

Regulations imposed by football's world governing body Fifa on host countries stipulate that no-one but its commercial partners be allowed trade or promote their products in the immediate vicinity of all World Cup sites.

Clement Zulu, who has been selling ice-cream for the past 25 years, accuses the Durban municipal police and the Moses Mabhida management of promoting inequalities between the "haves and the have-nots".

"Big businesses who don't even need the money like we do are the ones who will be able to sell here - they can afford to pay whatever is necessary for a permit," he says.

'Poor get poorer'

Anyone who is not a commercial partner has to apply to the host city's municipal office for an "events permit".

The penalties for transgressors will be a spell in jail or a fine based on the company's profit.

Host cities, Fifa and the local organisers are obliged to create commercial restriction zones around stadiums and areas of importance during the tournament.

The stadium managers declined to comment on the street vendors' comments but Fifa argues that they must protect the official sponsors from "ambush marketing" by those who would want to profit from the event without having contributed financially.

But many traders say they do not even know how to go about applying for the permits.

"We are being made to jump through hundreds of hoops so we can do for a month what we have been doing here for years - and that's selling at the stadium," says Nhanhla Mkhize, an ice-cream seller.

He says all hopes that the World Cup would improve his life have been dashed.

"Now I know it is just a reminder that the rich will get richer and the poor will get poorer," says the man from Ulamzi township in Durban.


Billions of dollars have been spent on revamping South Africa's airports, hotels and building brand new football stadia in some of the nine host cities - all to accommodate about 450,000 international fans expected to touch down in less than one month.

South Africa is hoping to make most of the money back during the World Cup but the street vendors say they now know they won't see a cent of those profits.

Jabulane Ngubane
I want nothing to do with the World Cup; it has caused me too much pain already
Jabulane Ngubane, street vendor

Jabulane Ngubane, also a street vendor, says the World Cup is threatening his family's livelihood.

"The police chase us away from the stadium like we are criminals," says Mr Ngubane, who sells cold drinks and crisps.

"If this is the wrong way of living, then they must show us the right way because when I look for a job I can't get one and when I sell in the streets my trolley gets confiscated."

He is from Pietermaritzburg and works in Durban, about 43 miles away, travelling home once a week to visit his family.

Mr Ngubane supports 13 children from his street vending.

Before the police crackdown, Mr Ngubane said he easily made around 400 rand ($54; £35) a day, and was able to send at least 1,200 rand ($161; £105) to his family at the end of the week.

When the goods are confiscated, the vendors are fined anything from 100 rand ($13, £9) to 300 rand ($40, £26), which in many cases is an entire day's wage.

Perishable goods such as ice-cream are often damaged either during the raid or in storage.

As a result, Mr Ngubane says he was begun to resent the tournament.

"I want nothing to do with the World Cup; it has caused me too much pain already," he says.

"I'll be happy when this whole thing is over, maybe the police will leave us alone so we can earn a living for our children".
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