Police disperse protesting Durban workers
Posted: 14 June 2010 Time: 9:43 am
Armed South African police fired stun grenades to disperse protesting workers in the early hours of Monday at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.
The workers, staff of a private security firm hired for match day work, were demanding both parity, and increased pay.
Hundreds of protesting workers converged at the stadioum parking lot, and threatened to turn violent before police fired stun grenades.
At least one person was said to have suffered minor injuries after stumbling in the mad scramble to get away.
Tens of journalists at the media centre were also caught in the cross fire, but none were injured. Mthlokozisi Hlongwa, one of the protesting security workers told KickOffNigeria.com that the workers wanted both parity and increased wages.
"Right now, some people are paid R195 and others are paid R205. The money is too small. The workers want to be paid at least R1500 but FIFA say no."
Hlongwa also spoke about being caught in the middle. "I heard the explosion. I don’t know whether it was shooting or bomb, but I saw somebody fall down and then he was carried and everybody was running."
Officials declined statement, with one police captain, who refused to give his name, only saying that negotiations were going on and an official statement would be made when agreement was reached.
Rich Mkhondo, Chief Communications Officer of the 2010 Fifa World Cup Organising Committee South Africa issued a brief statement later on Monday morning via email
"Two hours after the end of the first match at the Durban Stadium last night, there was an internal pay dispute between the principal security company employed by the Organising Committee and some of the static security stewards employed by the company at the match.
"Police were called on to disperse the protesting stewards. This happened, however, long after all spectators had left the stadium after the match and the incident had no impact whatsoever on the match day security operations.
"The OC will engage with its stadium security provider to avoid a repeat of the situation during the course of the tournament."
Officials at the stadium told KickOffNigeria.com that negotiations were ongoing.