Jun 28, 2010
The following article comes from the Workers’ Fight newspaper of June 14, 2010 put out by the revolutionary workers’ group of that name in Britain.
Everybody – poor or not-so-poor – loves soccer! On the other hand, the three-mile exclusion zone around all soccer stadiums and the “clearances” of small traders from their traditional spots outside railway, bus and tax stations, deprived thousands of their livelihoods, at the very time when they might have been able to get a welcome boost!
Anyway, the bright colors and happy sounds cannot conceal the poverty and deprivation behind it all: on one side an estimated six billion dollar cost for the World Cup “circus,” and on the other side, a population where almost one half lives below the poverty line. A third of South Africans have no electricity and a sixth of them have no clean running water!
The six brand new state-of-the-art stadiums are fantastic. But the money spent on Cape Town’s stadium would have paid for 9,000 school libraries in a country where one in seven can’t read or write. Why did the city of Durban need bungee jumping and a sightseeing train built into the top tier of its stadium? And who can afford the new underground railway from Johannesburg to the airport, costing $15 one way?
South Africa’s “economic miracle” was always a jobless growth. And that’s what will be left over when the soccer is finished: more joblessness. The unofficial figure is more than 40%, without counting those whose jobs end on July 11. The poor majority will still have a fight on their hands, not just for jobs, but for the basic necessities of life.
But one thing’s for sure: they certainly have the energy for it!