Volunteers’ food gripes

2010-06-19 00:00

WORLD Cup volunteers based in Durban have accused the Local Organising Committee (LOC) of giving them rotten food.

The volunteers are demanding that the LOC should give them cash daily so they can buy their own food. In their contracts it was stated that they would receive R120 cash daily for food, but because of problems in paying the money into their bank accounts, a catering company was later appointed to feed them.

They handed a letter of demands to Durban volunteer co-ordinator Alpha Mchunu on Wednesday.

“The quality of the food in the pack is appalling, to say the least, and value of the contents indubitably does not amount to R120. The food is not fresh and on [June 11] the food was rotten,” said the memorandum.

They alleged that during the first week of June they all received calls confirming that the deposit for meals was to be made in advance into temporary “cardless” services through FNB, but none of them received the money.

The volunteers also alleged that the food packs are given to them after 2 pm when those who are working morning shift have already knocked off.

They said they only started to get breakfast on June 12: scrambled eggs, a breadroll, a packet of chips and an apple.

“For lunch we have been given pizza or burgers, which are not in good condition. I just threw my pizza away,” said a volunteer.

Another said the quality of food they are given discourages them from doing their jobs. “We work hard to make sure that the World Cup in South Africa becomes a success, but the food they are giving us puts us off.”

Another volunteer alleged that they have had upset stomachs as a result of the food.

It is believed not all 1 348 volunteers are unhappy about food.

Volunteers’ contracts specify that they may not talk to outsiders about internal matters of the LOC, including their dissatisfaction.

Volunteers living outside Durban have to find and pay for their own accommodation closer to the city.

Mchunu said the LOC wanted to pay people for food, as there is often a problem with food packs, but then payments into the special accounts began to bounce, so they had to call in caterers.

Of the quality of the food, he said: “As [black] people we are used to pap and meat, and when we are given pizza and burgers every day our stomachs are bound to be upset.”

• Sapa reports that in Nelspruit yesterday, 90 volunteers were treated for food poisoning after eating breakfast at the Mbombela Stadium. LOC spokesperson Rich Mkhondo said all 90 volunteers were taken to hospital and a doctor confirmed they were suffering from food poisoning. An investigation has been launched to determine if the food was contaminated and if so, how this happened.

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