No evictions during 2010 - Sexwale

By Proffesor Ndawonde

Johannesburg - Minister of Human Settlements Tokyo Sexwale has clarified media speculations that government will evict people living in informal settlements to hide them from tourists during the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Speaking at a post Local Organising Committee press conference on Thursday, Minister Sexwale said those were dense assumptions and government had never planned to evict people living in shacks.

"There is a no policy that says government must evict people who are living in poverty or in shacks nearby venues. We cannot do that.

"We cannot hide people from the view of tourists. Actually government wants to empower these people and we will be more excited if tourists can visit these areas and buy in spaza shops in townships," he said.

LOC Chief Executive Officer, Danny Jordaan said government and the LOC cannot be hypocritical by hiding people who are stricken by poverty, adding that media must stop spreading unnecessary and fallacious statements.

"That is not a position and tourists have been in these areas and are part of South Africa. Why would the government hide them?

"When you land in Cape Town you fly over shacks. Government did not evict these people during the Rugby World Cup and Cricket World Cup and other major international events, why now?" he said.

The Organising Committee Board met on Thursday to discuss the way forward to find solutions on how the challenges raised by FIFA President Sepp Blatter during the FIFA Confederations Cup could be improved.

Among the board members who attended the meeting were Minister of Home Affairs, Nkosazana Zuma-Dlamini, Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, Jeff Radebe, FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke and LOC Chairman Irvin Khoza.

Dr Khoza said the intention for the meeting was to identify the reactionary programmes that will ensure that the challenges of South Africa to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup, as raised by Mr Blatter, were dealt with accordingly and successfully.

"This meeting was very successful and we are ready to pursue our work with government, FIFA and host cities. We will have regular meetings to look at the issues relating to world cup such as budgets, among other things.

"As the board we are happy with the 7.5 points and we are looking forward to reach 10 points come 2010.

"We have taken all complaints, advices and complements from the public into account and we will utilize them as part of our strategic planning," Dr Khoza said. - BuaNews