More than 300 security workers left their posts before the match between Italy and Paraguay in protest, claiming they were not paid the wages promised. South African Police have taken over security measures in the meantime, but security fears run rampant as 15,000 fans are expected to attend Friday’s match between England and Algeria.
The strike followed a demonstration on the streets of Durban outside of the Moses Mabhida Stadium after Germany’s game against Australia. The protest soon turned into a riot as police attempted to disperse the crowd, firing tear gas and rubber bullets, which left one woman injured.
Workers hired by Stallion Security Consortium claim they were promised £130 ($191.67 USD) for each shift but ended up earning a meager £17 ($25.06 USD).
The organising committee CEO Danny Jordaan said: “This is an employer, employee wage dispute. Although we have respect for worker’s rights, we find it unacceptable for them to disrupt match day proceedings and will not hesitate to take action in such instances.”
The South African Police took charge of securing the match between Italy and Paraguay, and have now taken over security at both the stadiums in Cape Town and Durban. But the wave of fans coming in for the future matches, as well as the threat of criminals targeting the World Cup crowd and possible skirmishes breaking out between over-zealous fans have officials worried that security is not as strong as it should be.