South African cities Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban are the three biggest sites for the FIFA World Cup starting June 12th. Similar to the policy seen in Beijing ahead of the 2008 Olympics, South African officials have begun relocating homeless and poor citizens away from the stadiums in these cities. The people have been taken to shelters where they will be housed for the foreseeable future to prevent begging for money from tourists during the tournament weeks. This is a controversial issue as it can be seen as inhumane and unethical to try to hide the members of society that are in need of the most help, however a Johannesburg government worker has a different take on the issue.
“Homelessness and begging are big problems in the city. You have to clean your house before you have guests. There is nothing wrong with that.”
Guests of course being the hundreds of thousands of fans that will be staying in the country during the month long tournament. This prevents these ‘guests’ from being harassed for money by the homeless and poor, however it is disturbing that it takes a major sporting event for the government to build more housing shelters to accommodate this portion of the population.
Speaking of stadiums, it was announced this past week that 27 000 construction workers have been given two complimentary tickets to a World Cup match at the stadiums that they helped build. World Cup Organizing Committee Chief-Executive Danny Jordaan said, “We want to say a big thank you to the men and women whose hard work, skill and creativity brought us to the point we’re at today. It is amazing what you have achieved and we hope that you will enjoy your World Cup experience.”
This is a nice gesture by the Organizing Committee who have now provided these hard working construction men and women with a chance to see their work filled to capacity with the World’s most passionate soccer fans.