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South African street vendors protest as official sponsors move in

South African street vendors protest as official sponsors move in
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It is hoped that the World Cup will bring economic benefits to host nation South Africa, but local street vendors in Johannesburg won’t be seeing the profits.

They’ve been cleared off the pavements to make way for official FIFA partners – Pinky Pinkoli, for example, has had to give up the central spot she’s held for 26 years.

“It’s unfair, the only people who are going to benefit are those who have got big businesses,” she says, “hawkers wont benefit because they are chasing them”.

Sponsors have paid high prices to set up stands around the Soccer City stadium and don’t want to have local rivals undercutting their merchandise. Street sellers held a protest march last week – there are some 20 000 in the Johannesburg area alone – but it’s unlikely to have much impact.

Snack bars too have had to shut down to make way for official tournament caterers.

Cecilia Dube’s stall right next to the stadium used to earn her more than 300 euros a week – it’s been shut down since early May.

“For me it’s three weeks only I’m not trading but already I’ve seen a big difference, it’s like my life is in a halt or something. It’s not moving just for three weeks. So think for the whole month. After that whole month we don’t know what’s going to happen. It might happen that after the World Cup, they say no traders anymore.”

FIFA defends its position saying sponsorship was essential to financing the cost of organising the competition.

Euronews correspondent Sébastien Vaugnat says: “In the context of the world economic crisis, the World Cup has given a boost to South Africa with the injection of 1.2 billion euros. A secondary benefit will be the money brought in by some half a million visiting spectators.”

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