Women are being forced to sleep rough on the street after evictions aimed to clean up South Africa’s image ahead of the World Cup. Poverty stricken locals are being turned out of their Cape Town homes, not even 100m away from the BBC’s glass-sided television studio with panoramic views of Table Mountain new 68,000-seater football stadium. Last week the broadcaster trumpeted its plans to spend several hundred thousand pounds building the glass-sided studio on top of the capital’s six-storey Somerset Hospital, to use as its HQ. Days before the announcement, 150 locals, mostly women, were forced out of a hostel close to the stadium, 100m from the BBC's new spot.
Campaigners say the women were thrown out of the hostel in a drive to clean up the image of nine host cities South Africa will put centre stage during the football tournament. "The World Cup is going on at the expense of South Africans who urgently need housing, public services and jobs," Ruth Tanner, from the charity, War on Want told The Independent newspaper. This week the hostel’s windows were boarded up to stop those who lived there going back.
HIV outreach worker, Priscilla, 30, from South Africa's Eastern Cape are said he was thrown out of the Waterfront Hostel by police armed with pepper spray. She said: "I lived in this place only for a few months but some have been there for many years. The hostel is shabby but it was our home. They told us last year that we would have to leave but then they came and evicted us without warning. They should be caring about the people in this country but they don't want us being here when the reporters and the soccer players come here."
Nikki, 30, who is eight months pregnant, said she had lived at the hostel for three years. "I have no family in the area," she told War on Want. "I don't know about my future and I'm expecting a baby. The World Cup has done nothing for me and I cannot see how it could." Their evictions are the latest in a wave of South Africans being uprooted in the run-up to the games. Police in Durban, the nation’s third largest city allegedly rounded up street children and took them to suburbs on the outskirts of the city.
By Hayley Jarvis for SOS Children