LOC digs in heels over R90m World Cup bill

The local organising committee (LOC) of the Soccer World Cup is digging in its heels over a R90-million bill from the ministry of police stepping into the breach left by striking stadium security guards during the tournament.

LOC boss Danny Jordaan, responding to a question from the Mail & Guardian at a World Cup wrap-up press conference in Johannesburg on Thursday afternoon, said the LOC board — which had met earlier that day — had decided that “further engagement [with police and government] on the matter” was necessary.

“Yes, we have received the letter from the police, yes, it was discussed by the board— and we will reach a resolution by the 29th of September. That is the deadline set to resolve the matter,” said Jordaan.

Concerns have been raised over whether taxpayers would have to foot the bill for the overtime paid to police officers deployed as — according to the Fifa safety guidelines — the provision of security at stadiums during the World Cup was the responsibility of the LOC and Fifa.

Police averted a possible crisis during the tournament when guards from Stallion Security went on a strike for better wages. The police took over the entire security operation at Soccer City and Ellis Park in Johannesburg, Green Point stadium in Cape Town and Moses Mabhida stadium in Durban.

Minister of Police Nathi Mthetwa had, while responding to questions earlier this month in Parliament, said that the bill of R90-million had been sent to the LOC, but government had not received a response at that time.

Mthethewa told Parliament that 1 284 additional police officers had been deployed to stadiums on match and non-match days because of the strike.

The minister also told Parliament the crisis could have been avoided if the LOC had learned lessons from the 2009 Confederations Cup held and signed contracts with security companies earlier.

Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke also revealed at the press conference that the proceeds from World Cup ticket sales, which would be tabulated by the end of October, would be placed in a trust.

Said Valcke: “The 2010 Fifa World Cup Legacy Trust will be set up and managed by Fifa and Safa [South African Football Association] and will be used to develop football in the country.”

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Niren Tolsi
Niren Tolsi is a freelance journalist whose interests include social justice, citizen mobilisation and state violence, protest, the Constitution and Constitutional Court, football and Test cricket.

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