11 May 2007
2010 World Cup displaces breadwinners By Cheche Selepe, The Developer
Thabo Mbeki and overseas people will come to watch the soccer world cup and they will never buy food from you, and therefore you must go.` This is the message that the stadium hawkers were told by Grinaker LTA, a construction company charged with the redevelopment of FNB`s soccer city stadium situated between Soweto and Johannesburg.
The livelihood of the hawkers and their families is under a serious threat from the construction company. Accordingly, most of the hawkers have been selling at the stadium during soccer matches for many years. The situation changed in January this year when the soccer matches came to end as the stadium came under reconstruction.
Since the hawkers had no where to go, they decided to sell food to the very workers doing the construction at the stadium. Surely this became a boom for the hawkers. Instead of trading only on weekends during the soccer matches, they traded every working day, selling food to the construction workers. As business was going on, the management of the construction company decided to frustrate the hawkers. They started telling hawkers that the food they sell might be unhygienic and therefore they must go. The management decided to restrict the flow of workers in and out of the work-place. All other gates of the stadium were closed, opening only one gate – the main gate. Having only 30 minutes lunch time between 12H00 and 12H30, it became increasingly difficult for the workers to enter and exit the workplace for lunch without compromising the bosses` time.
Coupled with time restrictions, the construction company tells the hawkers that four BEE companies have been enlisted and shall sell food at the stadium within months. On hearing this sad state of affair, the leaders of the SA Rail Hawkers Association (Sarha) took the matter up with the union organising construction workers, the National Union of Mineworkers (Num). At a meeting with a NUM shopsteward (below left) the hawkers (below right) were are assured that solidarity with NUM is guaranteed. He indicated that just as the construction companies are having subcontractors assisting them, it could be advisable that even the enlisted BEE caterers subcontract the work to hawkers as well. Amandla!!!