‘Halt World Cup evictions' call

15 July 2010 - 5:45pm
Press release

WHAT? Charity stages football protest at South African high commission over World Cup evictions
WHEN? 10.00 am BST, Friday, 16 July 2010
WHERE? South African High Commission, South Africa House, Trafalgar Square (east side), London WC2N 5DP

Activists seek homes, services for poor

Campaigners today will step up pressure on the South African government to stop the evictions of poor people which increased in the build up to the World Cup.

War on Want, with a giant montage of World Cup footballs, will hand in a letter signed by over a thousand people at the South African high commission in London.

Caroline Elliot, programmes officer at the anti-poverty charity, said: "While the South African government hails the World Cup a success, the tournament proved a disaster for people who have lost their homes and jobs. It must halt these removals and provide decent homes and public services for the poor."

The letter - from the anti-poverty charity to high commissioner Dr Zola Skweyiya - expresses special concern over the increased evictions around sites used for the World Cup.

According to War on Want, many thousands of people were kicked out of their homes and thousands of traders evicted from their workplaces.

Large numbers of them were sent to temporary relocation areas or transit camps, such as Blikkiesdorp in Cape Town.

Conditions in these camps are deplorable, with paper-thin walls providing no protection from the elements.

There is inadequate sanitation, lack of proper access to health and educational facilities and limited job opportunities.

The charity's South African partner, the Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign, works in camps to prevent evictions and lobby for better conditions.

War on Want is calling for a full probe into the evictions leading up to the World Cup, no further displacement and decent, accessible homes and compensation for those who have been evicted.

And constitutional rights to housing and the provision of services must be prioritised and upheld for all South Africans.

The charity has other South African partners - Abahlali baseMjondolo Western Cape, Abahlali baseMjondolo KwaZulu-Natal, the Anti-Privatisation Forum, the Landless People's Movement and Sikhula Sonke.

These are social movements struggling for basic services, including housing, water and electricity, and for land and workers' rights.

CONTACT: Paul Collins/ Rebecca Cassar, War on Want media office (+44) (0)20 7549 0584 or (+44) (0)7983 550728]]>

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