Johannesburg: World Class Cities FOR ALL Campaign partners meeting- Civil Society Organizations Gather in Johannesburg to Strategize for 2010

17-19 March 2009

By Laura Roberts, StreetNet International intern

From March 17 to 19th, 2009 over 30 different civil society organizations gathered in Johannesburg for the National Campaign meeting of World Class Cities for All (WCCA), organised by StreetNet International. StreetNet`s WCCA Campaign exists to ensure that the FIFA World Cup 2010 is successful and that ALL enjoy equal opportunities to benefit from South Africa hosting the popular international sporting event. The campaign aims to ensure that the poor are not evicted, or left out of the projects and plans of the host city municipalities while they prepare for the FIFA World Cup 2010. This objective can be easily summed up by one of the campaign slogan: Nothing for us without us!

The delegates of the meeting came from across the country, representing trade union organizations such as COSATU, SAMWU and NACTU, as well as a number of different civil society organizations, and social movements varying from women`s organizations, to migrant rights` organizations to even children`s rights ogranizations. To name only a few of the organizations present: the Landless People`s Movement of Kwazulu Natal, the New Women`s Movement, Western Cape Anti-Evictions Campaign, as well as various street traders` organizations from all across the country.

What brought these organisations and individuals together was their interest to discuss ways they can all work together to fight and alleviate the negative repercusssions of the FIFA 2010 developments so that the poor are not left out, or worse off due to South Africa hosting the World Cup. The delegates agreed that the campaign should continue to engage with the host city municipalities and direct them to conduct proper public consultation as outlined in their contracts and agreements. These engagements include immediate action on behalf of the municipalities to end the forced evictions and relocation of the poor. Delegates from both Durban and Cape Town raised serious issues and concerns regarding evictions and forced relocations of street vendors due to recent FIFA 2010 development taking place in both cities. Street vendors in both cities requested immediate action against these unjust measures.

The delegates agreed that municipalities that have not been taking the Campaign`s demands seriously and that this should be addressed. There was a call for more direct action so as to ensure the campaign demands are heard. Some municipalities however, have been receptive to the WCCA Campaign and have already begun negotiations with StreetNet and its campaign partners.