Anti-Poverty Group Laments World Cup Injustices

The splendor of Spain's win at the World Cup tournament this weekend is more than a bit tarnished, according to one anti-poverty group, and they're not talking about the refereeing.

The London-based War on Want has written a letter to Zola Skweyiya, the UK's High Commissioner for South Africa, expressing "deep concern" over the evictions that took place during the games' preparations

According to human rights groups, thousands of South Africa's poorest were rounded up and sent to settlements in a government effort to present a good image of the country during the tournament.

"They told us it is temporary. But it is not temporary. This is a dumping place for people," shack dweller Jane Roberts told War on Want.

Additionally, spending on the tournament, which reached a record $4.1 billion by the South African government, stands in stark juxtaposition to the number of impoverished in South Africa, which stands at over 40 percent of the population. FIFA, soccer's international governing body, raked in an unprecedented $3 billion in profits even before the first game was played.

"The government has got lots of money to build stadiums. But they haven't got money to build us houses," said Cynthia Twigg, who was also evicted. "I think only the rich of the government will benefit - not us."

John Hilary, War on Want's executive director, told Skweyiya that he wants a "thorough investigation" of the evictions, adding that he has "broader concern" that South Africa's poverty and the provision of basic public services to the country's residents must be "urgently addressed."

"War on Want is calling for a thorough investigation into the evictions which took place in the months leading up to the World Cup, and an end to any further displacement," Hilary said. "For those who have been evicted, War on Want calls for the provision of decent, accessible housing and compensation for all those affected."

"Finally, War on Want calls for the constitutional rights to housing and the provision of services to be prioritised and upheld for all South Africans."

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