Jordaan: Strike won’t affect World Cup draw

The strike at the 2010 stadium in Durban will not affect the preliminary draw of the Soccer World Cup, local organising committee CEO Danny Jordaan said on Wednesday.

The ongoing strike could spread to other 2010 Soccer World Cup stadiums that are under construction, as well as the high-speed Gautrain, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said earlier in the day.

At a march through the Durban city centre on Wednesday, the NUM’s KwaZulu-Natal organiser Bonginkosi Mncwabe said there may be disruptions to the preliminary draw for the World Cup set to be held at Durban’s International Convention Centre.

Jordaan said efforts are under way to resolve the dispute at the Moses Mabhida Stadium as soon as possible. “We are meeting with the city manager tomorrow [Thursday], when he will brief us regarding the development. Any dispute must be resolved in the quickest possible time.”

Workers at the stadium went on strike last week demanding better wages and monthly project bonuses of R1 500.

“The preliminary draw is of paramount importance to us as the organising committee. We have a unique opportunity to demonstrate our ability to organise a world-class event to an expectant local, continental and international community,” Jordaan said.

“This is our first opportunity to host a preliminary draw that will really capture the attention of the world … as South Africans we need to hold together and be one team.”

The draw will determine the playing groups for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Some of the country’s best musicians have been lined up to perform. They include Lebo M of Lion King fame, Judith Sephuma, the Soweto String Quartet, Afrotenors and Freshlyground.

President Thabo Mbeki, Fifa president Joseph Blatter and some of the world best footballers will attend the event.

The draw will be conducted by Fifa general secretary Jeromy Valcke assisted by Kaizer Motaung, Jomo Sono and Lucas Radebe of South Africa, Ali Daei (Iran), George Weah (Liberia), Abeli Pele Ayew (Ghana), Kasey Keller (United States) and Marcel Desailly (France).

The NUM said in a statement on Wednesday that it had issued notices for secondary strikes to major construction employers involved in the building of 2010 projects. Its actions comply with labour law, it said.

“While Group Five and WBHO repeatedly made statements suggesting an interest in talks in the media, they literally removed the initial offers on the table and refuse to bargain further. We are convinced, they are just not interested in talks,” said the union’s construction-sector coordinator, Bhekani Ngcobo.

He said that in terms of the impending sympathy strikes, the construction industry could come to a standstill with all 2010 projects grinding to a halt — including the Gautrain. — Sapa

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