'Govt spends on SWC, not us'

2010-04-28 14:50

Johannesburg - A flare-up of violent protests could escalate ahead of the Soccer World Cup as the country's angry poor press their demands for better housing and jobs.

For the past two months, protests in townships have become an almost daily occurrence with police using water canons and rubber bullets to disperse protesters armed with rocks and stones.

And these protests could spread and intensify before the world's premier sporting event held in Africa for the first time from June 11-July 11, political analysts believe.

A threat by Cosatu to strike nationwide over power price increases during the sports event could add pressure on President Jacob Zuma's government.

Still living in a shack

Poor and unemployed black South Africans, many still living in shacks almost 16 years after the ANC came to power, are angry at what they say is the government's failure to provide decent housing, clean water, electricity and jobs.

"The government can afford to spend billions of rands on (World Cup) stadiums but has no money to improve our lives," said Morongoa Molokmone, who lives in Orange Farm, south of Johannesburg.

Molkomone, who is unemployed and lives in a tin shack without water and electricity, said the poor have waited for years for a better life. In the rainy season, his shack leaks and sewage from overflowing toilet pits spills into the muddy streets.

"Why should we have third rate development when we have been waiting for decades?"

The government hopes that the World Cup will inject billions of rands into the economy after vast amounts have been spent on upgrading infrastructure and building new stadiums.

Banc of America/Merrill Lynch analysts estimate that the World Cup could lead to around $1.1bn flowing into the economy.

Groundswell of anger

Zuma, who promised to improve the lives of the poor while campaigning for election last April, is facing an uphill battle to deliver on those promises soon after South Africa emerged from its first recession in 17 years.

"People realise that now is the time to take advantage of this groundswell of anger. With the World Cup around the corner the government cannot afford not to listen," said Prince Mashele, executive director of the Centre for Politics and Research.

Protests have mainly erupted around Gauteng province but analysts say the disturbances could spill over into other provinces.

"It's only a matter of time before people realise they are complaining about the same issues and that they would be more powerful if they unite," said Frans Cronje, deputy Chief Executive Officer of the SA Institute for Race Relations.

Although any protests during the World Cup could embarrass the government, they are unlikely to disrupt the event.

"The riot police will be quick to turn their guns on demonstrators to restore order," Cronje said.

Zuma's biggest worry

But Zuma's biggest worry does not come from the poor. The threat from Cosatu's secretary general Zwelinzima Vavi that the scores of unions under the federation's umbrella could strike is potentially more damaging.

Cosatu opposes a 25% price increase granted to parastatal Eskom.

The union federation says the hike, and two other similar increase in the next two years, will have a crippling effect on the poor and lead to a further 250 000 job losses.

"Cosatu has the ability and the logistical capacity to bring the country to its knees," the Centre for Politics and Research's Mashele said.

Backroom deals

"Vavi is a calculating man and he knows that he can use the World Cup to get what he wants.

"Challenging the government on this issue will also further his political aspirations."

Zuma indicated in a recent interview that he was prepared to compromise and analysts believe he may reach a behind the scenes deal with Cosatu to ensure a strike-free World Cup.

"The South African government is on pins and needles hosting the World Cup with the rest of the world watching. They would do everything they could to prevent (a strike) from happening," said Mark Schroeder, southern Africa analyst at global intelligence company Stratfor.

"They would bring these guys into the backrooms and say your career and your future is over if you disrupt the World Cup."

Read more on:    2010 swc  |  service delivery

Read News24’s Comments Policy


Inside News24

  • Wednesday Epping - 15:22 PM
    Road name: N7
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bofus Circle
  • Wednesday Wellington - 14:45 PM
    Road name: R44 Northbound
    ACCIDENT between Wellington and Hermon
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Nokia C3

The Nokia C3 Features a 2+ Megapixel Camera, A2DP, Bluetooth,...

From R1175.00

I'm shopping for:


You may find yourself fascinated by something which could draw you in to obsessively exploring this subject in depth....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.