International Labour Day -StreetNet calls on host cities to work with vendors’ organizations so that FIFA games benefit the urban poor – not just McDonalds

By StreetNet International
September 2, 2011
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1 May 2010

"Football fans are not travelling to South Africa just to eat McDonalds and Starbucks which they can get back home. But the FIFA Local Organising Committee has set up exclusion zones where South African vendors, and our migrant communities, providing authentic African food have no place. Instead it’s the big food chains, the official sponsoring organizations, which will be there and the profits from their trade won’t benefit poor Africans but global capital. Why can’t the host cities work with the local vendors’ organizations, representing some of the poorest and most marginalized communities of the urban poor, to give them the trading opportunities and support they deserve?" said Ms Pat Horn, StreetNet International Coordinator today.

"By organising into democratic structures street vendors, unprotected workers in the informal economy, are building a stronger voice", said Ms Horn.
"May Day is celebrated internationally by workers, recalling the historic battles won against capitalist exploitation. On International Labour Day 2010, StreetNet International also calls for government action to set up municipal bargaining forums comprising local authorities and vendors associations to resolve the many issues facing informal vendors. StreetNet International, an international alliance of 35 street trader organisations in 30 countries, is the lead organisation of the international World Class Cities For All Campaign launched at COSATU House in Johannesburg in 2006.

Ms Horn said the WCCA Campaign has called for host cities in the lead up to FIFA World Cup in South Africa to consult with street vendors, establish bargaining forums in good faith and to halt the relocation and eviction of informal traders without proper alternatives being provided.

FIFA World Cup South Africa – Host Cities Watch

The WCCA Campaign welcomed the decisions by host cities Johannesburg, Cape Town, Mbombela and Port Elizabeth to respond to the call to extend opportunities to informal traders, particularly for those who will be moved from stadiums and FIFA exclusion zones during the Games.

"We urge all host cities to follow their lead. The failure to consult with informal economy organisations and the removal of informal traders from their trading places without providing alternatives during the Games, will push the poor further into poverty," she said.

FIFA Games must be Xenophobia-free

Horn said that the WCCA Campaign is also requesting firm commitments and action from municipal authorities to address the needs of the urban poor so as to halt more attacks against foreigners. Host cities should establish consultation mechanisms with representative associations of the informal economy so as to ensure that the first games held in Africa are ‘Xenophobia-Free Games’.

The WCCA Campaign has organised a programme of anti-Xenophobia forums in host cities between February and April 2010. The objective of the workshops in Nelson Mandela Bay, Johannesburg, Cape Town and Tshwane is to create awareness among informal economy workers of the risks of xenophobia during the world cup in the context of the recent attacks against foreigners.

StreetNet’s affiliates in neighbouring African countries have taken part in the debates as guest speakers to express solidarity among street vendors in South Africa and Africa as a whole and to call for municipal governments throughout the continent to adopt inclusive urban planning policies.

The last two workshops in the series to be hosted in the host cities of Tshwane (30 April – 1st May) and in Cape Town (29th and 30th April) to mark May Day in 2010. The affiliates invited to attend the Anti-Xenophobia workshops are Clarisse Gnahoui from the organisation USYNVEPID, Benin who will be the guest speaker at the Tshwane Anti-Xenophobia forum and Anne Matondo from the organisation LDFC, of the DRC who will be guest speaker at the forum in Cape Town.

WCCA Campaign in India

Looking at the problems faced by informal traders in India where the Commonwealth Games are to be held in September 2010, Horn said the affiliate NASVI, as part of the World Class City for All Campaign, has organised market and street vendors in the cities of Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai. The campaign is moving onto other cities in a nationwide campaign trail. NASVI is lobbying State governments to implement the Indian governments 2009 National Policy on Urban Street Vendors, which among other issues call for the setting up of town vending committees, comprising local authorities, street vendors associations and community based organizations.

The WCCA Campaign will move next to Brazil where the FIFA Games will be hosted in 2014. Horn said the urban poor are already being relocated without suitable alternatives because of the FIFA games.

For more information contact WCCA Campaign Coordinator – Nora Wintour

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