Police take over security at Cape Town stadium

  • Mon Jun 14th, 2010 12:04pm
  • Sports

Associated Press

CAPE TOWN, South Africa — Police took over responsibility for security at World Cup stadiums in Cape Town and Durban today after a wage dispute escalated between stewards and a security contractor.

World Cup organizers said they called in police after stadium staff left their posts in a disagreement over pay with Stallion Security Consortium.

The local organizing committee said the match between Italy and Paraguay at Green Point Stadium in Cape Town would kick off on time at 11:30 p.m. PDT.

“Gates have opened, the police are in control and the match will kick off as scheduled,” organizers said in a statement.

Committee chief executive Danny Jordaan said the problem was an “employer-employee wage dispute.”

“Although we have respect for workers’ rights, we find it unacceptable for them to disrupt match day proceedings and will not hesitate to take action in such instances,” Jordaan said.

The staff walked out after talks today with the organizing committee and Stallion failed to reach a resolution.

In Durban, police used force late Sunday to break up a protest by stadium workers who said they had been underpaid. At least two protesters were hurt after police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse about 400 demonstrators.

The confrontation occurred after Durban hosted its first World Cup match, with Germany beating Australia 4-0.

Today, protesting workers in Durban said they had been turned away from the stadium after demanding payment under the terms of a wage agreement they said had been breached. The workers said their basic daily pay had been slashed by about a third without notice.

Stadium officials could not be reached for comment.

Separately, a strike by drivers for Johannesburg’s new rapid bus service affected hundreds of fans who attended the Netherlands 2-0 victory over Denmark today at Soccer City.

Jackie Huntley, chief executive of the bus management company, said up to 1,000 fans who should have been bused from the stadium after the game were instead put on trains.

Huntley said the drivers were protesting because they believe their shifts were changed without proper notice — a charge she rejects.